NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Taylor Swift stepped onto the red carpet at the MTV Video Music Awards in an explosion of colour, resplendent in a rainbow Versace blazer.
The exuberant outfit was surely no accident, for the 2019 VMAs is a poignant moment for Taylor. The awards show marked exactly 10 years since Kanye West, in one of the most controversial and frankly, shameful moments in modern music history, stole the microphone from a then 20-year-old Swift accepting the award for Video of the Year at the 2009 VMAs and told the world she did not deserve her success.
How triumphant it was to see Taylor walk into the 2019 VMAs on Monday (local time) at the peak of her career. Fittingly, she was nominated for 10 awards (tying with Ariana Grande) including Video of the Year, which she won. Since that infamous night – “I’mma let you finish …” – she has weathered countless personal and professional storms, including an image assassination attempt by West and Kim Kardashian in 2016. All with the world scrutinizing her every word and decision.
In a subtle act of respect to Swift, perhaps acknowledging the trauma that went down on the VMAs stage 10 years earlier, MTV asked her to open the show. Changed into a gold bodice and purple glitter hot pants, Swift performed Lover, the title track off the album of the same name: the first album she has released that is not owned by Scooter Braun, after the music manager purchased her entire back catalogue.
And in a move that was the antithesis of Kanye stealing her mic, when Swift won her first VMA of the night for You Need To Calm Down, she was joined on stage by the video’s stars and did not speak. Instead, Todrick Hall talked about his experience as a member of the LGBTQ and person of colour growing up in conservative Texas. She used her second win of the night, Video of the Year of You Need To Calm Down, to highlight the need for the US Congress to pass the Equality Act.
“If you’re a young child that’s out there watching this show who is different, who feels misunderstood, we have never needed you more than now to share your art, share your story, share your truth with the world.” – @todrick #VMAs pic.twitter.com/R595aHgPyT
— MTV NEWS (@MTVNEWS) August 27, 2019
Kanye took Taylor’s words away from her. Meanwhile, she has given others a voice.