Taylor Swift was one of the biggest winners of the 58th Annual Grammy Awards Monday evening, Feb. 15, 2016, winning three awards out her seven nominations. In her acceptance speech for Album of Year for her mega-selling “1989,” Swift took a subtle swipe at rapper Kanye West as the two renewed their longstanding feud. Swift, however, took the high road with her empowering feminist message, which is bound to be a well-remembered Grammy moment in years to come.
West started the controversy when he referenced Swift in a derogatory way in the first single off his new album, “Life of Pablo.” In his song “Famous” West called Swift a “b*tch” and said he made her famous, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. / Why? I made that (expletive) famous.”
West was referring to the 2009 MTV Awards when West stormed the stage as Swift was giving her acceptance speech for Best Female Video for her song “You Belong With Me,” ranting that the award should have gone to Beyoncé for her song “Single Ladies.” Recently the two, however, seem to move past it becoming at best frenemies. Back in August, Swift even introduced West for his MTV Video Vanguard award, giving a speech in which she called him a “friend” and said it was “honor” to present him the award.
After West had released “Famous,” Swift’s publicist issued a statement, saying, “Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single “Famous” on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, ‘I made that [expletive] famous.'” In response, West went on a rant on Twitter insisting Swift approved the lyrics and thought they were funny.
Before to the Grammys, a source close to Swift revealed to the press that the singer would not mention West or the song, but in retaliation would express something empowering about feminism in her acceptance speech if she won an on-air award. The source said, “Taylor is repulsed that Kanye would refer to her, or any woman, as a ‘b*tch,’ and does not want to give Kanye any attention during the Grammys. But she does not want to let the opportunity of having the world’s attention go by without doing some good.”
Swift kept to her plan and gave a powerful statement in her acceptance speech for her Best Album of the Year award for “1989.” The 10-time Grammy winner said, “As the first woman to win album of the year at the Grammys twice, I want to say to all the young women out there, there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success. But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you’ll know it is you and the people who love you who put you there.” Although most are giving Swift props for her message, some including singer Tori Kelly visibly looked annoyed as Swift gave her speech.
Swift also won two other awards in the Grammy pre-show including the Best Pop Vocal Album for “1989” and later Best Music Video for “Bad Blood,” which she shared with the night’s other big winner Kendrick Lamar. Swift also opened the live show with her latest single off “1989,” “Out of the Woods.” She was nominated for seven awards missing including Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.