Taylor Swift, who recently took the president to task for his response to the George Floyd killing and resulting social upheaval, is not wanting to go lightly on legislators in her home state, either, as she has joined a chorus of activists in urging the removal of monuments to racist leaders in Tennessee and elsewhere.
In a string of tweets and Instagram posts, Swift specifically called for the removal of the state’s monuments to Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was a Ku Klux Klan leader as well as Confederate general.
“As a Tennessean, it makes me sick that there are monuments standing in our state that celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things,” Swift wrote. “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.”
She continued, “I’m asking the Capitol Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission to please consider the implications of how hurtful it would be to continue fighting for these monuments. When you fight to honor racists, you show black Tennesseans and all of their allies where you stand, and you continue this cycle of hurt. You can’t change history, but you can change this.”
Earlier in the week, the legislature passed a bill that released Governor Bill Lee from proclaiming Nathan Bedford Forrest Day, as the leader of the state traditionally would. Last year’s proclamation resulted in a firestorm, yet the day is set to be observed in Tennessee on July 13.
Other native daughters who’ve called for the statue’s removal include Reese Witherspoon, who tweeted, “We need to get rid of this disgusting symbol of racism. And every other marker of White supremacy in the state. The Great state of TN deserves better.”
“I 100% agree,” responded country singer Kelsea Ballerini.
I 100% agree.
— Kelsea Ballerini (@KelseaBallerini) June 11, 2020
Tuesday, the state’s Naming, Designating & Private Acts committee rejected a resolution to get rid of the statue. The vote fell along partisan lines, with all of the committee’s Democrats wanting to remove it while every Republican but one voted for keeping it.
Nashville continues to be a hotbed of disagreement over issues that have come to the fore as a result of the George Floyd-related protests. One of Swift’s nemeses, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, tweeted an alert about a protest scheduled for the capitol and tweeted Friday, “Nashville — radical anarchists are coming to town. Please watch out. These misfits want to turn our city into Seattle.”
Replied singer-songwriter Jason Isbell: “Oh no Marsha will we finally get a decent sushi restaurant.”