Taylor Swift is considered by fans to be the queen of innuendo, metaphors and hidden Easter eggs and her latest music video is chock-full of subtle nuance and not-so-subtle star power.acts an anthem for anyone who has felt a patronizing glare or has been told to "calm down" in a condescending way. And the music video celebrates the antithesis of these feelings: acceptance.
The second the synth-heavy pop tune begins, some intentional yet not-so-obvious symbols flash across the screen. First, it's a framed photo of a simple quote: "Mom, I am a rich man." Cher uttered the iconic stereotype-busting line to her mother, who suggested she settle down and marry a rich man.
Swift then throws her flaming phone on her bed — perhaps a comment on society's current addiction with technology and social media. Soon, she is laying in an above-ground pool outside of a burning mobile home.
Her trailer park is atypical — it's filled with celebrities, most of them an integral part of LGBTQ visibility. Laverne Cox waters her flowers as Dexter Mayfield dances in his yard and Hannah Hart does bicep curls with a boombox.
Later in the video, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita get married – and Ciara officiates. Hayley Kiyoko, Chester Lockhart, and RuPaul also make appearances, as do cast members of "RuPaul's Drag Race." The queens are dressed like Swift and other fellow pop stars.
The real Taylor sips tea with the "Queer Eye" guys and Todrick Hall, who was an executive producer for the video.
And the famous faces keep making cameos: Ryan Reynolds focuses on a rainbow painting, Olympic skater Adam Ripon sells snow cones and Ellen DeGeneres gets a "cruel summer" tattoo from Adam Lambert. Billy Porter does his best runway walk past a group of protesters.
The protestors show up in the video often. They hold hateful — and often misspelled — signs and condemn Swift and her friends. But this group doesn't phase Swift and her pals.
The video culminates in a food fight, during which Swift, dressed like french fries, finds and comforts Katy Perry, who is dressed like a hamburger. In real life, the two singers publicly ended their infamous feud last week, with Perry sharing a photo of the cookies Swift baked her.
While this prolonged tiff has ended, Swift appears toat Kim Kardashian and Kanye West in the song. "Snakes and stones never broke my bones," she belts. When the pop star and rapper found themselves several Instagram users "trolled" Swift by leaving a bombardment comments featuring snake emojis all over her Instagram posts.
Swift did not accept the "snake" persona at first butwhen creating her "Reputation" album in 2017. Snakes were heavily featured in the album's songs and music videos.
Her newest album, "Lover," has a completely different vibe. "You Need To Calm Down," the second single off the yet-to-be-released LP, talks about acceptance, letting people be themselves and not putting them down — or as Swift puts it, not stepping on our gowns.
She appears to take direct aim at homophobic and anti-LGBTQ beliefs in the lyrics. "You just need to take several seats and then try to restore the peace/And control your urges to scream about all the people you hate/'Cause shade never made anybody less gay," she sings.
This is Swift's first known attempt at making a political statement in her music.
Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections,by urging fans in Tennessee not to vote for Rep. Marsha Blackburn. In an Instagram post, Swift endorsed Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen, citing Blackburn's opposition to LGBTQ rights and voting against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013.
At the start of this year's Pride Month,on social media, showing her endorsement of the Equality Act, a bill that extends civil rights protections to gay and transgender Americans.
"I've decided to kick off Pride Month by writing a letter to one of my senators to explain how strongly I feel that the Equality Act should be passed," Swift tweeted on June 1. She shared a photo of her letter and encouraged fans to reach out to lawmakers, using the hashtag #lettertomysenator.
Swift continues to advocate for the Equality Act in "You Need To Calm Down." At the end of the music video, she directs fans to sign a Change.org petition in support of it.
Fans will have to wait a few more months to see if more songs tackle serious issues. "Lover" is scheduled to be released August 23.
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