For someone who asked to be excluded from Kanye West’s narrative, Taylor Swift really can’t seem to stop making literally everything in her career about the father-of-two and their years-long feud. Her latest move — while maybe not nearly as bad as that time she decided to release a song on the anniversary of his mother’s death — still isn’t exactly forgivable.
Earlier today, Tay decided to tease her fans with a preview of her next single, “Gorgeous,” off her upcoming album, Reputation. We don’t know much about the song except the title and the fact that it’s being released at midnight tonight, but we do know that Kanye already has a song named “Gorgeous.”
Many other outlets and people on the Internet have already speculated that it’s about someone in her life — though who remains to be seen. And with nothing but a clip of an unidentified small child saying “gorgeous,” as a hint, there’s really no reason for anyone — us included — to assume that it’s about man because, despite the ongoing tropes about Tay being a serial dater who only writes breakup songs, I’m happy to recognize that there’s more to Taylor’s catalogue than sappy breakup songs. All that being said, I can say with almost absolute certainty, that it is not about the complexities of injustice and race relations in the United States — you know, like Kanye’s original “Gorgeous.”
“Gorgeous” — one of my personal favorite Ye songs — offers some of his best lyrics, which happen to be about the prison-industrial complex, racial profiling, and other forms of systematic oppression, all over an incredible beat. I can all but guarantee that Tay’s lyrics can’t compete with, “Inter century anthems based off inner city tantrums/Based off the way we was branded/Face it, Jerome gets more time than Brandon. And at the airport they check all through my bag/And tell me that it’s random.”
And here’s the thing: Tay blantantly ripping off the title of this song is extra offensive because Taylor Swift has — in many ways — benefitted and even made a career off of the systematic oppression that Kanye is speaking of in his song. Of course, that’s not to say Taylor invented the school-to-prison pipeline, or that she’s to blame for the racial profiling that occurs in our airports and on our roads — but that doesn’t mean that racism isn’t at the root of her ongoing drama with Kanye West (which, of course, seems to be ongoing for her… whereas he seems to have totally successfully excluded himself from her racially charged narrative).
Kanye has been the first person to admit that there’s inherent racism in their “feud” because the public immediately labeled him an “angry” black man who attacked the sweet blonde white lady. In an interview with Steve Harvey, he famously said, “It’s not about Kanye West. It’s not about Taylor Swift. There’s a lot of people in America that feel like they don’t have the platform to stand up and express their closet racism. Before they had that platform, one really easy way to express it was to say, ‘Eff Kanye West.’” Those quotes were in said in May 2016 — and in today’s political climate, “closeted” racists are more “out” in major ways, which makes the lyrics of Ye’s “Gorgeous” — released in 2010 — ring truer than ever.
Again, we don’t know what Taylor’s “Gorgeous” is going to be about — and maybe, like so many other people are speculating, it’s a Kanye dis track. And if that is the case, I understand why she would use a title of one of his songs — but maybe this isn’t the song to use when you’re really only proving why we need people sharing words like Ye’s “Gorgeous” lyrics now more than ever.