[Source: CNN Entertainment]
Beyoncé vs Taylor Swift is less about them than it is about a larger discussion about erasure and ethnicity.
Both women have been successful performers for decades, endorsing each other’s artistry along the way. But many of their supporters and cultural critics continue to compare their careers, along with how their work is received and acknowledged.
The latest example was the reception this week to Swift being named Time’s 2023 Person of the Year. New York Times bestselling author and cultural critic Luvvie Ajayi Jones noted Beyoncé’s omission from the list of individuals considered.
Swift’s “Eras Tour” reportedly grossed more than an estimated $1 billion, while Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” tour reportedly grossed an estimated $570 million. However, she had 56 tour dates compared to Swift’s 146.
Other well known people, including journalist Cari Champion, responded with support in Ajayi Jones’ comments on the post.
TV personality and author Nicole Waters commented, “She’s won everything and still can’t win. We thank God she doesn’t measure her worth by accolades issued by ‘not us.’ And that’s the lesson.”
For some, the selection of Swift is a continuation of the debate about industry disparities between Black and white artists and how their work is valued.
In 2017, there were accusations of racism after Adele topped Beyoncé in the album of the year category at the Grammy awards.
Yet the argument can be made that far from allowing issues of race to hold her back, Beyoncé has used it to fuel her art (see “Lemonade,” “Black Is King” and “Renaissance” for confirmation of that). It also bears mention that while she has not yet won an album of the year Grammy, Beyoncé holds the all-time record for most Grammy wins by a single artist with 32.
So while comparisons between the two artists may continue, the women themselves have only shown each other love.