Celebuzz’d 20: Kanye v. Taylor, The Feud That Keeps On Giving (When It’s Convenient)
The year was 2009. The place was the VMAs. Swift was only 20 years old and West opted for a geometrical haircut that, in hindsight, was pretty dope. Swift won the Best Female Video category for “You Belong With Me” and West decided that midway through her speech was the best time to voice his opinion on the trophy’s recipient.
West’s “Imma let you finish” pontification was the first domino that caused the rest to fall: West’s pre-Justin Bieber apology tour, President Barack Obama calling West a “jackass,” West’s rescinding of his apology, and so on. Then, in 2015, a post-Grammy Awards dinner date at The Spotted Pig solidified that everything was kosher and nothing hurt — on the surface, anyway. Swift presented him with the Video Vanguard Award at the VMAs in 2015 six years after the inciting incident. There were flower cubes exchanged, and social media said that all was well.
Then, West made an album. Suddenly Swift was the “bitch” that he made “famous,” which he claimed wasn’t a diss and that she approved of the line. Swift’s camp called BS. “She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message,” they said. Swift’s acceptance speech at the Grammys was a subtweet in motion. Kim Kardashian pushed a GQ interview by jumping in the ring. All the while, the peripheral characters including Swift’s squad, her frenemies, and whoever else could use the press, chimed in on the matter to seal their stance on the matter with a headline.
It was on July 17 that Kardashian flipped the switch on her husband’s game by moving the stage from Twitter and general press circuits to the sexier platform of Snapchat. The hashtag parties turn up in full force and the peripherals come up to bat, once again, for 140 characters of fame.
Swift’s response, crafted on a sheet of iPhone notepaper, evoked a slew of conspiracy theories that suggest that this whole thing was planned and that the joke’s on us.
Said joke, similar to repeated knock-knock jokes issued by a toddler, has been milked to the point of public exhaustion. It will work for the 2016 VMAs, where West has nominations and Swift has a ticket. Viewers will anticipate West’s Twitter rants during his limo ride over and will make mental maps of the red carpet to determine whether they crossed paths. If she attends, there could be a surprise duet like the one that she finagled with Nicki Minaj or she could drop a diss track right on his lap. Swift will make an album and the media will pick its lyrics apart to find a listicle’s worth of lines that can be attributed to him and when they inevitably make up, there will be an Instagram display of proof. But will the cycle begin again? Can it begin again, or does “Bad Blood” spoil when thrice boiled?
Listen to the latest episode of our Celebuzz’d podcast below, featuring host Mia Lardiere and Matt Russoniello, where we analyze how social media and digital shifts in the entertainment industry have propelled the Swift/West feud into hamster wheel that we never asked to be a part of, since 2009.