The amount of success that Taylor Swift has been able to reach will always be remembered. In this eye-opening Netflix Original Film, Miss Americana, Swift allows us to level with her mind and understand a lot of the choices that she has made over the years. From a very young age, you can see that Taylor had a passion and drive to make it in this industry. Miss Americana opens with a selection of childhood videos from the very beginning of Swift’s career. These moments, while innocent, would lead to years of challenging hardships no one saw coming. The entertainment industry as a whole, has evolved in many ways over the years. While the industry has progressed in many great ways, there is still a lot left to improve on. For Taylor, those years came with a period of healing and self-discovery. A time of understanding exactly who she is, what she wants to say and how she wants to say it. For the longest time, Taylor did not have a voice, not in the way you would think. While this journey has allowed Swift to gain a worldwide fan base and a platform to share her music, the personal side of things were under lock and key. Taylor candidly admits, “I became the person who everyone wanted me to be.”
This film follows Swift through the end of her reputation era, leading in to her latest album, Lover. During that time, you can see that Taylor is still working hard to top herself each and every time. In moments of defeat, she only grows stronger as the films showcases an intimate conversation between Taylor and her mother Andrea, on GRAMMY nomination day. While Swift’s album reputation didn’t get nominated in any of the major categories, a fuel was lit for Taylor to create something bigger and better. Swift was visibly upset by the news, but she knew something great was coming. That greatness would eventually turn out to be, Lover, Swift’s seventh studio album.
Things were really great for a while, but Swift was put in a situation that would change her life forever. Taylor admits, “When you’re living for the approval of strangers, and that is where you derive your joy and fulfillment, one bad thing can cause everything to crumble.” That moment for Taylor, was when K*nye We*t took the mic from her at the 2009 VMA’s. We all know the moment, it doesn’t need to be explained. However, a moment like that can shape a spiral of questioning for any young seventeen year old girl. Taylor revealed, “At the time I didn’t know they were booing him doing that, I thought that they were booing me.”
I think one of the most appealing aspects to Miss Americana is the approach to Swift’s creative process. We were able to see her in her element as a writer. There is no denying the incredible skills Swift carries within herself as a songwriter. She has proven herself over and over, delivering some of the biggest hits of our time. I think one of the biggest GRAMMY snubs of all time is Swift’s album, Red. That album was a perfectly crafted masterpiece, which slowly teased Taylor’s transition to pop music. When Red didn’t win album of the year at the GRAMMYs, Taylor created a concept to prove herself and her place in the industry. That concept was 1989. That album gained Swift her 2nd win for Album of the Year at the GRAMMYs.
With all of the success that Taylor had previously gained, she realized that this was all she ever wanted, but there was still something missing - there was still someone missing. It’s important to remember that even though the public perception of someone may seem glamorous, you never know what is going on in their personal life. Several years ago, Taylor’s mother was battling cancer, which was tough for Swift to live through. Taylor admits, “You gotta be able to really prioritize what matters to you. For me, it’s my family and my friends.”
For the longest time, Taylor Swift was in a calculated bubble controlled by her team. Taylor was not able to have an opinion on the way the industry worked, she was not able to verbally fight for what she believed in and she was definitely not aloud to speak on politics. Over time, Swift began to stand up for what she believes in - pulling her music from Spotify in 2014 and writing open letter to Apple Music in 2015, fighting for fair compensation for every artist, writer and producer that works so hard to bring music to the fans. Last year, Taylor took a big step and broke her silence on politics. Swift actively encouraged her fans to get out and vote, hoping her voice would make a difference. Like most things in our world, it is a work in progress.
For those of you, like myself, who are in their mid-to-late-20’s, you grew up with Taylor Swift. For me personally, I felt like I went though a lot of the same things that Taylor did. Things just happened to align that way. A connection to her storytelling is what became the most appealing aspect to Swift as a general. We all can connect to her music in our own way. Along with the release of this Netflix Film, Taylor dropped a brand new single, “Only The Young”. Swift is educating the next generation on how important it is to use your voice. With a presidential election right around the corner, Swift directs her fans to VOTE.org to register and get election reminders. There is nothing stopping Taylor from standing up for what is right and how much of a difference each and every one of us makes in big decisions like this. Swift is using her voice, now it’s time to use yours.
For those who did not grow up as fans, you may see Swift in a different way. Miss Americana is for you. For not giving Taylor a chance, when she worked so hard to get to where she is. For not standing up for her when people were putting her down because it was cool. The world is a very unforgiving place. This film is living proof that we are all human, even if you are the biggest star on the planet. Even if you are not a fan of Taylor’s music, you can gain a new point of view and respect for Taylor as a person. A person who is fighting for the rights of new artists. A person who is changing the industry, just by voicing her opinion. A person who is encouraging young fans to get out and voice their opinions. Taylor Swift is an icon. That is one thing the general public cannot take away from her. She has earned her place.
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