Sunday, September 5, 2010
Black Crowe, Tweet An Apology
Some things are difficult to understand and seemingly defy easy explanation. The case of the Taylor Swift hate trigger is one of those things. At the outset, it must be established that the country-pop singer has been the subject of two September verbal assaults. The first occurred when the popular and well known rapper, Kanye West, interrupted Swift's acceptance speech at the MTV awards last year. He proclaimed that Beyonce should have won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video, an award given to Ms. Swift for her hit tune, "You Belong to Me". The twenty year old from Wyomissing, PA was unable to finish her acceptance speech.
The second verbal blah-blah occurred a few days ago when the Black Crowes' lead singer, Chris Robinson, ranted that he found it embarrassing that adults described Ms. Swift as talented. The Black Crowes is an American hard rock band with a history dating back to 1984. As an aside, Ms. Swift was born in 1989. He went on to blather that she was "horrible' and that she had no emotionality. He was piqued because he believes that much of Ms. Swift's musical persona is contrived by computers, stylists and monotonous chords. The hippie looking Mr. Robinson is 46 years old.
Mr. West has been apologizing for his classless act for a year. No doubt, he has suffered for his silliness. He has manned up and apologized and apologized and even tweeted apologies. Ms. Swift has accepted his apology and this whole business should be forgotten. Mr. West does seem sincere and he has taken to following Ms. Swift's Twitter entries. For her part, she has not yet become a Twitter follower of Mr. West, but she likely will. Love may fail, but courtesy prevails.
A shout out to Beyonce is in order. Not to be lost in the MTV debacle is the fact that Beyonce, after winning Best Video of the Year, called Ms. Swift back up to the stage to finish her acceptance speech. Indeed, a class act and one that will be remembered by all.
So what is it that causes two men of disparate musical disciplines to react to a young country pop star in such a mean spirited manner? What is it about her that p***** off these two talented and well known males? What is the hate trigger?
In either of these cases there is bad animus. Both men exhibit excessive rudeness and a lack of professionalism. Inasmuch as they are both in the music business, they should understand the intricacies of any success, theirs and hers. Moreover, neither of them has any reason to feel threatened by Ms. Swift since her target market and her musical genre is no where near either Messers. West or Robinson.
There is no evidence to suggest that either man has any personal history with Taylor Swift. It is doubtful whether either man had any relationship with the lanky performer before their respective outbursts. Generationally (West is 33 years old, Robinson is 46 and Swift is 20), they are separated by at least one and in Mr. Robinson's case perhaps two levels. Indeed, it is not unusual for generations to be defined by their music. And for each generation to "hate" the others music. Maybe there is an element of generational music snobbery at work here?
Could there be a gender issue? While this is possible, gender bias is unlikely. After all, West was promoting another female over Ms. Swift. If he was a misogynist, his promotion of Beyonce would be unlikely. As for Robinson, there is nothing to suggest gender. His ageism tonality is deafening.
Another possible trigger could be racial. Mr. West and Beyonce are of color. Taylor Swift is Caucasian. Was West's disapproval of Swift racially motivated? Some commentators have made that argument. Even if that was the case, it matters little now. Mr. West has worked hard at making amends and in so doing, he has learned a better way to conduct himself. So be it.
Interesting differences between these two incidents include West's exuberant "loyalty" to Beyonce and Robinson's hang up with his "embarrassment" about adults. Query whether these two particular issues are the driving forces behind these actions? Further investigation in these areas could yield better insight into the Swift hate triggers. West's "loyalty" and Robinson's "embarrassment" need more in depth analysis.
Taylor Swift appears to be, by all accounts, a grounded young artist with an already successful career. She's attractive and fresh faced and creative. She is a good song writer and a good singer within the range of her abilities. Come to think of it, aren't all performers good within the ranges of their abilities? There is no prima facie reason to dislike her. Is there?
Taylor Swift does not "deserve" the harsh treatment she has experienced. If anything, though, she has become a bigger star as a result of these events. And this is to her credit. Her newest single, "Mine", has been successful. And as a role model for her younger fans, she exceeds expectations. Ask any parent, who has a child who follows Taylor Swift.
Like Kanye West, Chris Robinson needs to man up and clear the air. An apology is in order. Does the original Black Crowe have a Twitter account?
Hmmm, that would be a good place to start. Nothing like a contrite Tweet from a Black Crowe to start the day. So it goes.