Published 6:15 PM EDT Jun 12, 2020
Taylor Swift is calling on Tennessee lawmakers to remove all “racist” monuments.
The pop star, 30, made an impassioned plea to Capitol Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission on social media Friday to stop honoring historical bigots.
“As a Tennessean, it makes me sick that there are monuments standing in our state that celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things,” Swift wrote in a message shared on Instagram. “Edward Carmack and Nathan Bedford Forrest were DESPICABLE figures in our state history and should be treated as such.”
In the caption, Swift added: “When you fight to honor racists, you show Black Tennesseans and all of their allies where you stand.”
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A statue of Carmack – whom Swift described as a “white supremacist newspaper editor who published pro-lynching editorials and incited the arson of the office of Ida B. Wells” – was torn down by protesters outside the Tennessee state Capitol amid ongoing anti-racism protests following the May 25th death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. Floyd repeatedly told the officer he couldn’t breathe in the minutes leading up to his death.
The state of Tennessee has vowed to replace Carmack’s statue, which Swift called a “waste of state funds and a waste of an opportunity to do the right thing.”
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“Taking down statues isn’t going to fix centuries of systemic oppression, violence and hatred that black people have had to endure but it might bring us one small step closer to making ALL Tennesseans and visitors to our state feel safe – not just the white ones,” Swift wrote.
The “Bad Blood” singer continued: “We need to retroactively change the status of people who perpetuated hideous patterns of racism from ‘heroes’ to ‘villains.’ And villains don’t deserve statues.”
And if Tennessee is looking for a historic figure to replace Carmack’s statue, Swift has a suggestion: Wells, one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
“(Wells) actually deserves a hero’s statue for her pioneering work in journalism and civil rights,” the singer added.
The singer also slammed Tennessee’s upcoming “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day” on July 13, which celebrates, in Swift’s words, the “brutal slave trader and the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.”
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Swift has been a vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement in the aftermath of a viral video that showed Floyd’s death.
“Racial injustice has been ingrained deeply into local and state governments, and changes MUST be made there,” Swift tweeted Tuesday. “In order for policies to change, we need to elect people who will fight against police brutality and racism of any kind. #BlackLivesMatter”
The singer also took aim at President Trump following his controversial tweet that was flagged by Twitter for “glorifying violence” against demonstrators protesting police brutality and racial inequality.
“After stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism your entire presidency, you have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence? ‘When the looting starts the shooting starts’??? We will vote you out in November. @realdonaldtrump.”
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Her tweet received 2.2 million likes, becoming the 15th most-liked tweet of all-time.
Barack Obama’s 2017 tweet (“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion”) holds the top spot with 4.3 million likes.