Taylor Swift, 30, wants everyone in Tennessee’s home state to feel safe and “not just the white ones.” It was the key element of the powerful message from the Grammy-winning singer typed through a series of tweets and an Instagram post on June 12, as she called on the Capitol Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission to take down monuments of historical figures that Taylor and countless others are lambasting for their “racist” values.
“As a Tennessean, it makes me sick that there are monuments standing in our state that celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things,” she wrote and further stated in her tweet, “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.”
Taylor made it clear that history should not be given precedence over Tennessee citizens; she also wrote, “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.”
Taylor reported that these “villains” that includes former Tennessee Senator Edward Carmack and Confederate Army General Nathan Bedford Forrest, whom she slammed calling “DESPICABLE figures” that “should be treated as such.” Edward’s statue had already been destroyed by protesters against George Floyd’s unjustifiable death on May 30 but the state announced plans to replace the statue.
“FYI, he was a white supremacist newspaper editor who published pro-lynching editorials and incited the arson of the office of Ida B. Wells (who actually deserves a hero’s statue for her pioneering work in journalism and civil rights),” Taylor explained.
As for Nathan, Taylor tweeted, “Nathan Bedford Forrest was a brutal slave trader and the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who, during the Civil War, massacred dozens of Black Union soldiers in Memphis. His statue is still standing and July 13th is ‘Nathan Bedford Forrest Day.’”
“I’m asking the Capitol Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission to please consider the implications of how hurtful it would be to continue fighting for these monuments,” she continued. “When you fight to honor racists, you show black Tennesseans and all of their allies where you stand, and you continue this cycle of hurt. You can’t change history, but you can change this.”
Taylor ‘s voice is important because “the removal, relocation or renaming of a memorial that is, or is located on, public property” is prohibited under Tennessee Heritage Protection Act which was enacted in 2013. Fans were extremely happy to see Taylor broadcast a significant message to its massive 86.4 million followers on Twitter.