By Brian Ives
Last night at the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards, Taylor Swift found herself in the position of having to defend herself from Kanye West… again. And once she won Album of the Year, she had a good platform to do it from.
But the way that in which she responded is a good demonstration of why she has been so successful for so long (along with her skills as a singer, songwriter and performer).
She could have done the thing that Kanye does: sense a perceived insult, fly off the handle, and attack. Perhaps you remember his twitter beef last month with Wiz Khalifa?
Instead, she took the high road while offering a pretty hard jab, as a press-savvy CEO — or politician — may have done. She was responding to the lyrics of his now-infamous song “Famous,” in which he called out Swift: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex: Why? I made that bitch famous, goddamn, I made that bitch famous.”
As she accepted her third GRAMMY of the night for Album of the Year (the second time she’s won that honor), she said, “I want to say to all the young women out there: there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success, or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame.”
Kanye often tries to extrapolate arguments, but with far less success than Swift. If a company doesn’t want to invest millions of dollars in his ideas, they’re “marginalizing” him. As he’ll tell you, he’s Warhol, he’s Walt Disney, he’s Google, Nike, the most impactful artist of his generation. He just needs a Medici family to fund him, “and let me create.” It’s hard to imagine Swift working up such a sweat about a company not funding her, because there’s tons of corporations who would want to, as evidenced by her endorsement deals with Diet Coke, Keds and Cover Girl. They’re listening to the kids, bruh, and the kids love Taylor. Also, she’s probably not too difficult to work with. Can Kanye say the same?
But back to Taylor’s speech: “But if you just focus on the work, and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you’ll look around and you’ll know that it was you and the people who love you that put you there,” recognizing that although her records are credited to “Taylor Swift,” her team, her family and yes, her #squad are a big part of her success.
“And that will be the greatest feeling in the world.” She could have name-checked West and the crowd — and the internet — would have loved it. She didn’t need to, and winning her second Album of the Year must have, in fact, been a great feeling.
Had she lost to one of the other nominees – the Weeknd (who joined her on stage on her recent tour), Chris Stapleton, Kendrick Lamar (with whom she shared a Best Music Video GRAMMY for “Bad Blood”) or the Alabama Shakes, you get the impression she would have been happy for them, as she was for Ed Sheeran when his “Thinking Out Loud” won Song of the Year over her “Blank Space.”
As for Kanye? He recently tweeted that “I’m practicing my Grammy Speech. I’m not going to the Grammys unless they promise me the Album of the Year!!!”
I'm practicing my Grammy Speech. I'm not going to the Grammys unless they promise me the Album of the Year!!!—
KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 15, 2016
To quote the man himself, “No one man should have all that power.” And to tell any award show that he won’t come unless he’s promised a win? “That’s a pretty bad way to start a conversation!” Another bad way to start a conversation is speculating (very) publically about sex with someone who may not be interested in it. But don’t worry, Taylor can handle it. She certainly did last night.