UPDATE (08/28/2019): After opening the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, Taylor Swift won the fan-voted Video of the Year award. "I first want to say thank you to the fans," she started off her acceptance speech, "because in this video several points were made." The video notably was about inclusion, unity, and was hailed by some as an LGBTQ+ anthem. But Swift also took the time out to call the White House in her acceptance.
"At the end of this video there was a petition, and there still is a petition for the Equality Act," Swift said. "Which basically just says we all deserve equal rights under the law. I want to thank everyone who has signed that petition because it now has half a million signatures, which is five tems the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House." The highly decorated star then looked at her wrist, as if checking the time.
Looks like it's the White House's move now.
ORIGINAL (08/27/2019): In what has become an era of sudden political outspokenness for Taylor Swift, the singer continued speaking out Monday night, this time during her performance at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards. During her first televised performance since she released her seventh studio album, Lover, last week, she advocated (once more) for the Equality Act.
The pop superstar made a splash earlier this year when she released “You Need To Calm Down,” which has since been called by some a LGBTQ+ Pride anthem, as the video features a host of queer actors, musicians, influencers, and drag queens. The song even shouts out media advocacy group GLAAD. She continued such support of her queer fans during her VMAs performance.
Opening the show, Swift was joined by Todrick Hall and dancer Dexter Mayfield on lounge chairs as she sang the beginning lines to "You Need to Calm Down." The stage was a brightly colored trailer park, similarly to the song's music video. There were also words digitized around the stage throughout the performance. At the end of the song, before she transitioned to the album title track, the words “Equality Act” were displayed.
Swift has been an advocate for the Equality Act before, even encouraging fans on social media to sign a petition in its favor. The House voted 236-173 on in May to pass this historic legislation which ensure protections against discrimination for LGBTQ+ people.
According to Billboard, many of the drag queens featured in Swift’s performance also performed on the VMAs stage in 2015 when Miley Cyrus performed "Dooo It.”
Swift won the MTV VMA for Video For Good and brought all of the people who were featured in her stage performance and the video to the stage. Hall accepted on her behalf.