Taylor Swift Can’t Stand ‘Racist Historical’ Monuments in Tennessee: ‘Villains Don’t Deserve Statues’

Taylor Swift sounded off in a Twitter thread today (June 12) about the state of two specific Confederate monuments in her home state of Tennessee.

She said the statues of Edward Carmack and Nathan Bedford Forrest, which have been torn down and attempted to be removed, respectively, “celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things.” Swift called on Capitol Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission to permanently remove these monuments as the first small step to redefining the state’s history, one she believes would welcome and support all kinds of visitors as well as Black Tennesseans.

“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,” she wrote as part of her lengthy argument. “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.”

Civilians toppled Carmack’s statue in the Tennessee State Capitol at the end of last month while protesting George Floyd’s murder and overall police brutality against Black Americans, but Swift wrote the state “vowed to replace it.” The early 20th-century newspaper publisher frequently sparred with journalist Ida B. Wells for her anti-lynching and racial justice writings, eventually inciting a mob against her that destroyed her newspaper office.

“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),” Swift explained and proposed. She later described replacing it as “a waste of state funds and a waste of an opportunity to do the right thing.”

At the Tennessee State Capitol, protesters also tried to remove the bust of Forrest, who famously served as a Confederate Army general during the Civil War and massacred hundreds of Black Union soldiers at Fort Pillow. He also led the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) as its first Grand Wizard. The Lover artist not only shared a Daily Beast article that detailed more of his highly controversial history but expressed her hope that Nathan Bedford Forrest Day, a local holiday in the state, may no longer be observed on July 13.

“His statue is still standing and July 13th is ‘Nathan Bedford Forrest Day.’ Due to social pressure, the state is trying to overrule this, and Tennesseans might no longer have to stomach it. Fingers crossed,” she wrote. Today, both the Senate and House passed a bill that excused Tennesee Governor Bill Lee from recognizing this holiday, according to The Tennessean.

Read Swift’s entire Twitter thread below.

First Country: New Music From Luke Bryan, Maren Morris, Zac Brown Band & More

As Father’s Day approaches, we have a pair of songs that salute dads and their children, plus an array of other titles to take you into the weekend.

Luke Bryan, “Build Me A Daddy”

Here’s your tearjerker for the day especially for anyone whose father is no longer here. Following his latest No. 1, “One Margarita,” Bryan returns with a song that couldn’t be more different. Bryan hits every sentimental spot possible as he sings of a young boy who asks a shopkeeper if he could “build me a daddy,” since his father, a soldier, has died. It sure would put a smile on his mama’s face if he could walk back through the door with his reconstituted dad. This one feels like a movie in the making. The shot of Bryan with his two songs at the end will bring a smile through the tears.

Zac Brown Band, “The Man Who Loves You Most”

Recorded in quarantine and debuted on John Krasinski’s “Some Good News,” the new ZBB track is a tribute from a father to her daughter and reflects Brown’s experience raising four daughters. Such songs can often be treacly, but ZBB walks the fine line beautifully here advising his daughter to believe in herself, go see the world, but always remember that her biggest fan is her dad.

Maren Morris, “Just For Now” and “Takes Two”

While Morris’s “The Bones” has taken up permanent residence on Billboard’s Country Songs chart, she releases two previously unreleased songs to tide her fans over. “Just For Now,” originally recorded for Hero and co-written with her husband Ryan Hurd and the late busbee, is a swaying tune about a love that may turn into something permanent or could be fleeting. Sometimes you don’t have to put on a ring on it…or even fix breakfast the next morning. On the other side of the coin is “Takes Two.” Co-written for Girl with Sarah Aarons and Greg Kurstin is a plinky pop tune with a bit of an R&B twist about how it takes two “to love like this and I can’t quit.”

Luke Combs, “Lovin’ On You”

Combs’ latest from What You See Is What You Get namecheck some of his favorite things like Brooks & Dunn, which is appropriate because this catchy tune feels like a fun throwback to the ‘90s and something that the duo would have taken straight to No. 1. That’s likely what’s about to happen here for Combs.

Gabby Barrett, “Footprints on the Moon”

https://open.spotify.com/album/4cmpIM02XY8eUglCh5rljD?si=nHL7l0VqTnitekcTBrmG6w

Barrett is on a roll right now following her recent No. 1, “I Hope.” She returns with the inspirational pop, guitar-driven song about believing you can do anything you want to It’s not likely that anyone will confuse it with the 2012 Tracy Lawrence song by the same name, but fair warning, they are not the same song.

Ingrid Andress, “The Stranger”

Andress tries to recapture the woozy feelings of the first blush of romance in this ethereal track. “Sometimes I wish I didn’t know you at all so we could do it all over again and fall all over each other again,” she sings as the track swells.

Matt Stell, “If I Was a Bar”

Following his No. 1 with “Pray For You,” and rising single,”Everywhere But On,” Stell comes back with the a song tailor-made for repeated listening on the corner jukebox in your favorite dive, “If I Was a Bar.” In the clever video, Stell plays all the characters (social distancing in making for some great creativity). There’s drinking, heartache and steel guitar…what else do you need for a great country song?

Gone West, Canyons

Fans of co-ed acts like Little Big Town and Lady A will dig Canyons, the debut album from Gone West, which includes Colbie Caillat who racked up a number of pop/AC hits as a solo artist. She and her bandmates hit a sweet spot here with such songs as current single “What Could Have Been” and “When To Say Goodbye.”

John Prine, “I Remember Everything”

The last recorded song from American treasure Prine, who died in April from COVID-19, is a beautiful ode to love. Performing in his house and accompanying himself on guitar, the tune , co-written with Pat McLaughlin, is a gorgeous final statement and a tribute to his songwriting prowess that made the simplest statement sound profound. “How I miss you in the morning light like roses miss the dew” take on a new meaning following his passing.

Margo Price, “Letting Me Down”

Price debuts her new album, How Rumors Get Started” with this fast-paced, guitar-driven track full of Tom Petty vibes (just try not to think of him when she sings “full moon.”). Co-written by Price about a pair of former high school friends who have “a way of letting me down,” repeatedly. Sturgill Simpson co-produced and sings backing vocals on this infectious track. Check out the cool social distancing video that features many, many Margos.

Also noteworthy this week: Walker Hayes fun, loping “Trash My Heart”; Craig Morgan’s tribute to first responders, “The Mask”; “Darkest Sky,” the debut single from Texas Hill (Craig Wayne Boyd, Adam Wakefield and Casey James), and Keith Urban’s duet with producer/DJ Dzeko for thumper “Both Still Young.”

Why Billy Porter Wants People to Take Their Activism Offline & Get ‘In the Streets’

Billy Porter is tired of people acting shocked about violence against black people in America. “This is a country that was built on the backs of my ancestors who were stolen from their land to come over here and be forced into slavery,” he says. “And the people who wrote the constitution that y’all are so keen on owned slaves while they were writing it. Why are any of you surprised?” 

That’s the message Billy Porter starts with on the latest episode of Billboard’s Pridecastthe podcast from Billboard Pride where host and singer-songwriter Shea Diamond talks with the most influential LGBTQ names in music about how they got to where they are today, and what it means to be out in this industry.

Since he got his start in show business, Porter has been an outspoken activist for the LGBTQ community, from the AIDS crisis to today. But with the latest string of protests, the Pose star is concerned that not enough people are actively engaging in the act of protest and instead turning to social media as a place to protest.

While Porter thinks social media has its purpose in times like this, he says he wants to see the same kind of energy as in the protests for civil rights of the 1960s, or the anti-Vietnam protests of the ’70s. “How do we take that and mold it with social media and reactivate?” he asks. “We were in the streets because that’s the only place you could be. Now we have to figure out what’s the combination of that. I don’t have the answer, but I’m throwing that question out to the world.”

One option for bringing about that kind of activism, Porter points out, is providing better representation in television, music and movies. “Everybody knows the first way into change is through the arts,” he says. “They know it, which is why we’re always the first to go. The arts is always the first to be cut. It’s always the first to be ridiculed, you know, because we think for ourselves and that’s what we teach.”

That’s why Porter is proud to be a part of a show that is doing just that for the transgender community. When Porter was cast in Pose, he says he knew what the show “had the potential to be,” and has since been glad to see his expectations met. “I’m just so grateful I lived long enough to see the day where my story and my community’s actual story is being told in the mainstream,” he says. “And being told by the people who, the community who are living it or have lived it.”

Check out Porter’s full conversation with Shea Diamond on Billboard’s Pridecast below:

Pride 2020 isn’t canceled. Join Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter’s Pride Summit & Pride Prom on Saturday (June 13) starting at 12:30 p.m. ET for performances, queer conversation, drag, artist cameos, glam sessions, DJs, dancing and more.

Todrick Hall on Having to Work ‘Three Times’ Harder Than White Artists to Find Success

Todrick Hall is glad that he’s made it, but he has some thoughts on the effort it took for him to get to where he is now.

In a new exclusive clip from Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter’s Pride Summit & Pride Prom, the cover star of Billboard’s Pride issue talks with Pose executive producer Steven Canals about the advice he received during his first Broadway stint in 2005’s The Color Purple.

Hall says that the experienced Broadway actors he got to work with in the show gave him a wake-up call about the reality of show business for queer man of color. “They straight up told me, ‘In order for you to make it in this industry, you have to be three times as talented as your white counterparts,'” he recalls. “[They said] ‘You’re going to have to be able to tumble and do backflips, you’re gonna have to sing higher, you’re gonna have to be able to riff, you’re gonna have to out-dance them just to be able to get the one spot you want to get.'”

While the star says that they were ultimately right, he has been lucky to work with stars like his “mentor” Billy Porter, who went out of his way to give Hall some insight into his other responsibility as an artist — activism and education.

 

“He introduced me to this documentary called How to Survive a Plague, and I watched that documentary over and over again,” he says. “I had heard the stories, but it all felt like a chapter in a history book you read in school, until you get as close as you can to experiencing it. Watching it through the people who lived it and lost their lives through it, and the people who stood beside them and fought.”

Check out the new clips from Todrick Hall and Steven Canals’ conversation above, and tune in to Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter’s Pride Summit & Pride Prom on Saturday, June 13 at 12:30 p.m. ET to catch the full discussion.

What’s Your Favorite New Dance Track Out This Week? Vote!

Whether you’re into techno, house, deep hour or disco, this week’s roundup of new dance tracks has something special for you.

While we recommend that you simply assemble a playlist and kick off your weekend with a living room dance party to the tune of all this new music, everyone has a favorite, and we want to know yours.

Take a spin through this week’s best new dance tracks, and then let us know your standout track by voting below.

First Stream Latin: New Music From ChocQuibTown, Myke Towers, Paty Cantú & More

“First Stream Latin” is a compilation of the best new Latin songs, albums and videos recommended by the Billboard Latin editors. Check out this week’s picks below.

ChocQuibTown, ChocQuib House (Sony Music Latin)

ChocQuibTown presents its sixth studio album, ChocQuib House via Sony Music Latin, highlighting once again their distinguishable Afrobeat and music of the Pacific rhythms and fusions. The made-at-home, colorful album, which in part was born during the quarantine, is home to 11 tracks that take fans on a personal journey with the Colombian group. The album’s concept, which according to an official statement is “from our house to the entire community” and made with great love, is meant to help listeners get through the global health crisis. “Music is the best therapy and the best way to overcome hard times,” the group discloses. The album includes the already-released tracks “Fresa,” “Humano,” “Que Me Baile” featuring Becky G, “Pa’ Olvidarte” and its party-starting remix featuring Manuel Turizo, Zion & Lennox and Farruko. “For me, this is more time to be able to return to the basics, to the essence, and have time to grow a little more on the artistic side. It’s a nice change that allows us to dream,” Goyo recently told Billboard’s Leila Cobo of the album that also includes collabs with Dalex, Lyanno, and Rauw Alejandro. Along with the album, CQT released the music video for the opening track “Vuelve,” showing a powerful lyrical dance portraying themes of distancing as it speaks to the world’s current situation. The video was created by the Colombian production company 36 Grados. Stream and listen to ChocQuib House below: — JESSICA ROIZ

Mon Laferte, “Love” (Universal Music Mexico)

Zoe’s timeless and iconic love song gets a new version thanks to Mon Laferte’s tribute track which brings the Chilean singer-songwriter’s powerful and seductive vocals to the fore of this ultra-romantic tune. “Zoé is a very important band in Mexico and I thank them for letting me record ‘Love,’ it’s one of my favorite songs,” Mon said in a statement. Zoe’s original song was released 17 years ago as part of their second studio Rocanlover. Mon Laferte’s take on “Love” drops ahead of Zoé‘s tribute album Reversiones which recruits top Latin artists like Juanes, Bronco, Alejandro Fernández, among others, to sing re-imagined versions of Zoe’s hits. The album is slated for a release later this year. — GRISELDA FLORES

Gloria Estefan, “Cuando Hay Amor ” (Crescent Moon Records)

“Cuando Hay Amor” is a joyful celebration of love set to the beat of Brazilian and Colombian drums. The video, shot in Salvador Bahia, features Estefan dancing a samba de roda –a traditional Afro-Brazilian dance– surrounded by Bahian women of all ages. But the song itself is a mix of Colombian and Brazilian rhythms, penned by Nicolas Tovar, Emilio Estefan and newcomer Andrea Lopez. It serves as the prelude to Estefan’s upcoming Brazil 305, an concept album of classic and new Estefan tracks set to Brazilian rhythms. — LEILA COBO

Los Retros, “New Humanity” (Stones Throw Records) 

Mexican-American Mauri Tapia, aka Los Retros, previews Everlasting, his new EP due out June 18, with the psychedelic-tinted “New Humanity,” a dreamy tune which echoes the soft-rock American AOR of the 70’s. Buoyed by sturdy bass strokes which builds a hypnotic groove throughout the song, bouncy drum strokes and vintage synths, the 19-year-old applies a funky spin and his sexy swagger and flaunts the range of his voice subtly calling out the new generations to find wisdom, peace and spiritual growth. — PAMELA BUSTIOS

Llane, “Como Antes” (Warner Music Latina)

After kicking off his solo career with the uptempo bops “Mas De Ti,” “Amor Bailando,” and “Pa Ti,” Llane switches gears on his new single “Como Antes.” The Colombian singer explores the captivating fusion between the timeless bolero and soft reggaeton beats. “I want to make you fall in love like the good ole’ days / the way our parents fell in love / when love was much more interesting / I just want to love you like the good ole’ days,” Llane sings in the heartfelt tune about bringing back the essence of love. “Como Antes” was co-written by Llane, Cris Chil, and Angel “Pututi.” A homemade music video, directed by Teo via Facetime, shows Llane at his Miami-based apartment performing the song in a romantic setting. — J.R.

Myke Towers & Yandel, “Mayor” (The Orchard Music)

Myke Towers and Yandel have teamed up for “Mayor,” a song that brings to the forefront a man’s obsession with a woman who’s older than him. “I want her in my bed, I don’t care if she’s older,” sings Yandel on the track. The less than three-minute song is a sensual reggaeton infused with electric guitar melodies and hints of R&B. “It’s a pleasure to feel your skin, I’m addicted to your body,” Yandel chants in the sultry lyrics as Towers emphasizes: “I already did everything she likes and she didn’t even ask me / He doesn’t have the initiative that I have.” Directed by Damian Fyffe for Marlon Films, the video shows both artists performing the song as they are surrounded by beautiful models in lingerie. — J.R.

Los Angeles Azules ft. Lali, “Las Maravillas de la Vida” (Universal Music Group)

After teaming up with Carla Morisson in 2015 for “Las Maravillas de la Vida,” Los Angeles Azules recruited Lali for a new version out today. Forming part of the group’s forthcoming album De Buenos Aires para el mundo!, which includes hits by Los Angeles along with special collabs by renowned Argentine, Chilean and Mexican artists, “Las Maravillas” fuses the distinctive sound of Iztapalapa cumbia with Argentine cumbia. In its lyrics, Lali tells the love story of a couple who wants to be together but should give their relationship time. The catchy cumbia also integrates Argentine folklore and tango. Watch the music video, recorded live, below. — J.R.

Ricardo Arjona, “Mamás de Moisés” (Metamorfosis Enterprises Inc.)

The Guatemalan singer-songwriter tackles migration in his a poignant single titled “Mamás de Moisés” off of his recently-released album Blanco. In his poetic lyrics, Ricardo Arjona is able to encompass a universal story that chronicles the plight of those who either decide or are forced to cross borders in an effort to survive. Meanwhile, the video follows the story of a young man who leaves his family behind and embark on an often costly, dangerous and difficult journey to cross geographical borders. In his new album, Arjona returns to basics in this 8-track EP recorded live at Abby Road Studios in London.— G.F.

Ozuna, “Caramelo” (Aura Music)

Almost three months after dropping the music video for “Temporal,” Ozuna returns with brand new music coined “Caramelo” (Candy). The never-before-heard song is home to an infectious hip-shaking and head-bobbing reggaeton beat about two people who have sweet chemistry. “I tried you again, your mouth does not lose its candy flavor / we let ourselves go, you are my bandit and I am your bandit,” Ozuna’s dulcet voice chants. Paying homage to its title, a colorful music video directed by Nuno Gomes shows Ozuna in a Candyland-inspired setting as models enjoy ice cream, bubble gum, lollipops, and more. The clip landed on YouTube’s trending page. — J.R.

Paty Cantú, “No Hacemos Nada” (EMI Music Mexico)

Mexican singer-songwriter Paty Cantú goes back to her roots in this stripped-down heartbreak song. “Look at me, I am scared. Don’t leave me alone with our situation. It weighs so much that it can sink us,” she sings. The achingly beautiful and melancholic lyrics find Cantú in a dark place figuring out how and if a broken relationship can be fixed. For the video, Cantú recruits Mexican actress Bárbara López who takes on the role of a heartbroken person expressing her emotions with Cantú’s lyrics. — G.F.

Dylan Fuentes, Tainy, Mau & Ricky, “Mente” (NEON16/Interscope Records)

Dylan Fuentes, recognized as one of Billboard’s Latin Artists to Discover during Quarantine, has teamed up with Tainy and Mau & Ricky for his new single “Mente.” The infectious pop-reggaeton fusion spotlights two people who love each other but are distant. Telling the story from a guy’s point of view, who is going through the heartbreak, the catchy chorus says: “Unfortunately I lost you/you are the one who’s always for me/you left your mark, tell me where you are baby / you’ll miss my warmth and all my love.” Signed by the NEON16/Interscope Records talent incubator, Fuentes is making his way in the industry with his promising sound that fuses Afrobeat, dancehall, Latin R&B, and Caribbean melodies. — J.R.

Jay Wheeler, “Fuiste Tu” (Linked Music/EMPIRE)

In collaboration with renowned reggaeton producer DJ Nelson, Jay Wheeler’s “Fuiste Tu” serves as a preface to his new album titled Platonicos released today (June 12). “With God first, I want to thank my fans for so much support. You help maintain my humility intact and give me strength to fight for my dreams. This album is a result of hard work and I hope you love it,” the rising artists said in a statement. The soft reggaetón track with an accompanying infectious beat, solidifies the Puerto Rican singer-songwriter as a a promising urbano artist with slick songwriting skills. Listen to the 12-track set here.

Chancha Via Circuito & El Búho, “El Mago Georges” (Wonderwheel Recordings)

DJ and composer Pedro Canale has been fusing electronica with Latin American folklore for over a decade under the moniker Chancha via Circuito. The forward-thinking Argentinean producer pairs up with UK-born Paris-based musician Robin Perkins, aka, El Búho in their first collaborative effort Pleamar EP (Spanish for high tide) a synthesis of Latin American indigenous and tribal echoes and downtempo electronica. “El Mago George” (George, the wizard), one of four tracks on the set, reflects on the orotund and cosmic jungle sounds of Latin America with leftfield electronic tapestries.  The song arrives with an animated videoclip directed by Kati Egely. — P.B.

Trixie Mattel Celebrates Pride Month With Rainbows, Sparkles & Cher Covers Galore During Billboard Live At-Home Performance

Even though rainbow isn’t her favorite print to wear because of its usual exclusion of pink, Trixie Mattel donned ROYGBIV and more for her Billboard Live At-Home concert outfit Friday (June 12) to celebrate Pride Month.

The drag queen-turned-folk sensation claimed this might be her favorite Pride so far because it marks the first year a drunk person hasn’t touched her wig. But the real highlight of her aesthetic shimmered on her cheekbones (courtesy of her own makeup brand Trixie Cosmetics). “You guys ever see Forrest Gump? Do you remember how Bubba was like, ‘You can do anything with shrimp. Bake it, boil it.’ That’s gay people with glitter,” she mused while mimicking Tom Hank’s infamous character. “We’re like, ‘You can do anything with glitter. Glue it, sew it, sprinkle it on your head.'”

But what dazzled most about Mattel was her swift, versatile transitions between anthems, practicing her guitar as more fans tuned in with a tender folk rendition of “Over the Rainbow” to later satisfying a one fan’s request of Shocking Blue’s “Venus.”

But she chose to properly start off her set by putting a sassy spin on Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games,” which Mattel described as one of the songs “that accidentally become gay iconic.” “If you’re under 25 years old and you’re gay, you’ve probably cried to this song,” the 30-year-old performer said in her introduction. Mattel really got into the swing of things when performing the tune on her guitar without spiraling into the dejected emotion the song usually engenders.

Maybe that’s the effect of living in Hollywood, Calif. has on the RuPaul’s Drag Race alum, which she claimed made her — and subsequently her music — “a lot more bouncier and sunnier and sugarier.” And nothing sounds “bouncier and sunnier and sugarier” than her original ballad “Malibu,” which she performed next. The drag queen attributed her song to the “trend alert: LGBTQ+ community and the word ‘Malibu'” after recognizing transgender pop star Kim Petras also has a single by the same name.

One online concertgoer described the song as something that will “always be a vibe,” evidenced by the way the surf rock anthem sways like the waves at the Malibu beaches. And Mattel suitably responded, “Girl, Pride alone in your house wearing glitter with a rainbow outfit on is also a vibe.”

But she switched up the vibe when she recalled a touching childhood memory of her and her Aunt Cathy, who passed away. “My earliest, gayest memories is probably sitting with my Aunt Cathy watching the DVD concerts of Cher because Cher’s not just gay, she’s everything,” Mattel said before ending the live set with the legendary pop star’s No. 1 hit from 1999 “Believe.” The emotive cover pulled on viewers’ heartstrings while she tenderly plucked her guitar, prompting many to comment how hard they cried during the song.

Watch Mattel’s festive Billboard Live At-Home performance below.

Trixie Mattel | Billboard Live At-Home Performance | Presented by Mercedes-Benz

It's time for another Billboard Live At-Home session! #ad Drop your questions and requests for Trixie Mattel in the comments

Posted by Billboard on Friday, June 12, 2020