Taylor Swift dropped a Pride anthem on June 14. The track is called "You Need To Calm Down," and the lyrics stare homophobia and sexism in the face and say, "thank u, next." Fans are in love with the track, which I can't deny is a bop (although it could be more inclusive of people in the LGBTQ+ community who aren't cisgender). And now, the music video has dropped, and the tweets about Taylor Swift's "You Need To Calm Down" video show the Swifties love the video just as much as the song.
To recap, "You Need To Calm Down" is the second single from Swift's upcoming album, Lover. The lead single from the album was "ME!" featuring Panic! At The Disco's Brendon Urie. On June 13, Swift did an Instagram live that announced the album name, its release date (Aug. 23), and the impending arrival of "You Need To Calm Down" that night. She said in the video, though, that she wanted the "You Need To Calm Down" music video to be a "separate discovery," so it didn't debut until the following Monday, June 17.
In her Instagram live, Swift said,
The video doesn't come out for another couple days because I wanted you to hear the song first, and then see the video, because the video is very worth the wait. There's a lot going on in the video, and so I wanted that to be a separate discovery. But the video will be out Monday, June 17. It's premiering on Good Morning America, but then it will be on YouTube just like that.
The music video has finally arrived!
Uh, that's a hell of a lot of colors. And HELLO Katy Perry!
The video features cameos from a litany of celebs. Laverne Cox, Todrick Hall, Billy Porter, Adam Rippon, the Queer Eye Fab Five, Ellen DeGeneres, RuPaul and some of the famous queens from Drag Race, Ryan Reynolds, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson are just some of the celebs who make an appearance in the video, which celebrates LGBTQ+ culture through its inclusivity of so many queer stars. Swift and her friends are all just living their best lives in this trailer park in the video, with a crowd of angry homophobes protesting over their very existence. They pay them all no mind, however, and keep living.
The message in the video is just as clear as the song's lyrics: Taylor Swift might be from the south where the LGBTQ+ community has it particularly rough, but she isn't here for any homophobia. It took her long enough to say something!
At the very end of the video, Swift added a political statement urging her fans to sign a petition about the Equality Act — a body of legislation that protects the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination in the workplace, in homes, and in schools.
"Let's show our pride by demanding that, on a national level, our laws truly treat all of our citizens equally. Please sign my petition for Senate support of the Equality Act on Change.org," the last shot in the video said.
Fans are living for the video's representation of queer people via all of its celebrity cameos. And also, Katy Perry.
The lyrics are damn catchy, too. In the song, Swift sings about how silly it is that people spend so much of their free time spreading hate when they could just be worrying about themselves.
The lyrics go,
You are somebody that we don't know / But you're coming at my friends like a missile / Why are you mad? / When you could be GLAAD?
Yup, that's a direct reference to LGBTQ+ advocacy group GLAAD. Then she mentions Pride parades, which (as I'm sure she did intentionally) are all happening the same month this song dropped.
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
I can hear the gays screaming this line already.
Then, in the chorus, she sings,
So oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh / You need to calm down / You're being too loud / And I'm just like oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh (Oh) / You need to just stop, like can you just not step on his gown? / You need to calm down
She also sings about sexism in the next verse, when she tells people to stop pitting women against each other. In the video, she had famous drag queens impersonate herself, Ariana Grande, Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, Adele, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry, clearly telling viewers to stop comparing all of these singers to each other.
This song's message and video is something (hopefully) all of Swift's fans can get behind. All she's really telling homophobic and sexist people is to stop wasting their own time being the worst to other people. That's objectively not a hard ask. You need to calm down, fam.
Between the self-love anthem that is "ME!" and this queer anthem that is "You Need To Calm down," it looks like Swift's Lover album has been made for a specific audience, and that audience is queer as hell. Hopefully this social justice motif will continue throughout the 18-song album, releasing Aug. 23, and through Swift's advocacy work.
She has been posting about her political beliefs on Instagram over the last few months, asking Tennesseean republican Senator Lamar Alexander to vote in favor of the Equality Act. These actions are undoubtedly altruistic, but have also probably been part of the promotion of this new album. She's making her stance on social justice issues clear (finally), and she's writing music to reflect it. Again, finally.