From the dusky battleground of “Bad Blood” to a happyville set in the colors of the LGBTQ+ flag, Taylor Swift is no stranger to collaborating with her celebrity friends for iconic music videos. However, “You Need To Calm Down” is not only our current state of mind, but the delectable shot of glee that comes with accepting all of the parts of everyone.
Directed by Swift and Drew Kirsch, the video stars in Swift’s caravan, immediately wearing its message on its sleeve through a hanging artwork dedicated to Cher. The quote pays homage to how Cher negated the outdated tale about how a woman’s education is meaningless because she can pave her future by marrying a rich man. The antithesis perfectly aligns with the feminist message Swift has continuously portrayed.
It’s with the caravan burning to the ground and the tattoo of a snake bursting out butterflies that implies the metamorphosis she’s gone through from the Reputation era to now. The Lover era — with her technicolor hair and the empowerment that comes from accepting who she is — showcases her alliance with the LGBTQ+ community which acts as a theme throughout the video.
She isn’t alone either. Her neighbors are various pop culture icons a part of the community, including Ellen DeGeneres, Hayley Kiyoko, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, the entire Queer Eye assemble, Laverne Cox, Adam Lambert, Ciara, and many more.
As the neighbors act out their daily routine in the video and add a sense of fun to the mix, the narrative explores the acceptance that has been achieved in contrast to those who wish to remain in the dark ages.
The dark ages also include the idea of pitting women against each other as a Pop Queen Pageant is re-enacted. Jade Jolie, a Taylor Swift impersonator, starts the segment by lip-syncing the song. Standing by her are drag queen impersonators of Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Adele, Cardi B, Beyonce, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj. RuPaul struts past them, but instead of announcing a so-called winner, the crown is thrown into the air signifying that they’re all successful in their own rights. And rather than participating in outlandish twitter polls, there is room to stan more than one favorite.
Before the video comes to an end, there is an unlikely appearance from Katy Perry. As Swift stands in a fries costume and Perry adorned as a burger (reminiscent of her Met Gala get-up), the two throw each other a cautious look until they embrace each other. These days, their feud comes with no-beef.
“You Need To Calm Down,” in essence, is a tear-jerker for not only the LGBTQ+ community, but all of those who walk with them. Swift has constructed a vision of unity we wish to see in the future.
To continue doing so, please sign her petition supporting the Equality Act.