How do you know when you need to make some serious changes in your life? When you write something you want to be a blockbuster column but it starts like this:
When Taylor Swift posted a teaser clip from her new music video for the single “Look What You Made Me Do,” she got instantly and extensively dragged for a particular image’s close similarity to Beyoncé’s “Formation” and Lemonade aesthetic.
Yet those were the words of professionally disgraced HuffPo writer, and infamous collegiate “Beyonce” professor Kevin Allred (yes, the dude who longed for a public assassination of the president) in a piece he actually wrote called, “The Unbearable White Womanhood of Taylor Swift.” Contrary to his lede, the only people instantly and extensively “dragging” a Taylor Swift video teaser are people with a startling and unhealthy lack of anything meaningful in their lives to occupy their time.
Allred’s column was an 1100 word complaint that Swift has ripped off other artists’ ideas for her videos. Given that I lack even the remotest interest in researching the claim, I suppose there could be truth to this. But then again, isn’t the general theme for all music videos these days the same: sing, dance provocatively, and display body parts in lurid fashion? While it’s true that Beyonce has done this more provocatively than most, singing empowerment songs about overcoming toxic masculinity while simultaneously empowering a culture of toxic masculinity by marketing herself as a sexual plaything for men, it’s hardly her original concept.
But who am I to argue with a former college professor who goes on to spend almost half of his entire column expounding upon a 30-second Pepsi commercial Beyonce recorded in 2013. Seriously. And it all leads him to this conclusion about TSwift:
There’s no central Taylor Swift as protagonist, like there is a central Beyoncé in the commercial; only more derivatives, more artifice. She attempts to position this realization as an artistic coming of age, but it’s really just her refusing to take responsibility after her true colors were exposed.
Reading Allred’s embarrassing cattiness over something so trivial, I couldn’t help but think of how well he would have fit in at the SNL table of David Spade, Chris Farley, and Adam Sandler as they pretended to be high school girls at the mall picking apart the outfits and attire of their friends. Except Spade, Farley, and Sandler were playing make-believe for laughs. Allred is humiliatingly serious.
And he wasn’t done:
And remember the title: “Look What You Made Me Do.” Look what we made her do. She’s blaming us. She’s blaming the fact that we saw behind the curtain, that we found out about her lies and manipulation, as the end result of a hungry public; not because she’s ever done anything wrong…It reads as a threat…
She’s erasing the lines of previously understood boundaries to signal that all bets are off. What is supposed to be self-deprecating awareness of her past is actually a threat to the audience.
Just a pro-tip: if you’re feeling threatened by a pop star’s music video, you have a glaring lack of perspective and a tenuous-at-best grip on reality.
Instead of worrying about Taylor Swift “weaponizing her white womanhood,” perhaps the best course of action for Kevin Allred is for him to start worrying about finding his own manhood. And that means stop watching teeny-bopper music videos, grow up, and care about things that matter.