Taylor Swift opened up the 2019 Billboard Music Awards with tons of pastel fanfare, confetti, sequins, and drumline that pumped up the crowd before the performer took the stage. Swift’s style for this album will seemingly be a stark contrast from the dark, leather-clad side of Swift from her Reputation era, and it seems as though Swift’s BBMA appearance was signaling that she’s getting back to her softer roots. The crowd moved along to her performance, cheering loudly when Panic! At the Disco’s Brendon Urie came out to join her, and fans went wild on social media over the epic opener.
Not everyone’s happy with Swift’s performance, however, and many fans of Beyonce — collectively known as the “Beyhive” — have taken to social media to share how they feel Swift ripped off Beyonce’s sprawling “Homecoming” celebration at the 2018 Coachella festival, which was filmed for a documentary detailing the hard work and production that went into the entire ordeal. The usage of a drumline, which was Beyonce’s homage to the HBCU (historically black college and university) tradition, as The New York Post shared, was well received by critics and fans alike.
The “Beyhive” started the hashtag “mayochella” on social media after Swift’s performance, and many have shared memes, gifs, and their opinions regarding what they feel is a direct copycat of Beyonce’s work. Some even went so far as to dub it “gentrification” and have said that this isn’t the first time Swift has been accused of using Beyonce’s dance moves and iconic style with her own little twist for her videos and concerts. The hashtag quickly went viral, with both Beyonce’s and Swift’s fans weighing in.
“Anyone, and I mean anyone, with a budget can pull this off. This isn’t a performance, this is a production proof of concept with a side of theft. And the sad thing is millions of aspiring pop stars will grow up thinking this is the standard,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Not saying Taylor Swift isn’t talented, but whoever thought of this should be fired. They need to understand that bands aren’t in style for live performances at this moment. That was just Beyonce doing Beyonce things,” another added.
Many of Swift’s fans chimed in to clap back, saying that they loved Swift’s take on “Me!” and that though they respect Beyonce’s “Homecoming,” she wasn’t the first person to ever use a marching band during one of her shows.
This isn’t the first time Swift has been accused of cultural appropriation. As The New York Post added, Swift’s video for “Shake It Off” featured the singer wearing gold chains, twerking, and flanked by African American backup dancers, which caused an outcry amongst members of the hip-hop community.