Broadway and YouTube star Todrick Hall fired back at critics and the “Woke Police” who lashed out at him for appearing in Taylor Swift’s new music video.
Though he kept his dancing cameo in Swift’s video for “Look What You Made Me Do” under wraps since filming back in May, Hall was immediately under attack once Swift released a preview of the video last week, with many accusing him of being a “sellout.”
The recording artist and former American Idol semi-finalist, who starred as a judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” took on the haters in a new interview with Yahoo!, defending his part in the video and his friendship with Swift herself.
— Todrick Hall (@todrick) September 1, 2017
“One of the main things that people said was, ‘He wanted to make his money. Well, good for him, he got paid. And I guess payment is enough for you to sell out your family, your people, your community,'” Hall said. “But this had nothing to do with money. I didn’t do this Taylor Swift video for money. I did it because she’s my friend, and she was very excited about it. And she wanted people to be there who she could trust, because it was a very big undertaking. I was proud to be there, but money was not a factor for me. I don’t do things for money.”
— kels 🍹👀 (@toddyownsmyass) August 25, 2017
Hall became the target of backlash as he was attacked for allegedly betraying the black and LGBTQ communities simply for associating with Swift.
@todrick congrats on losing your black card when you joined taylor swift’s white girl death eater cult
— sassy bitch (@SASSYAF28) August 26, 2017
@todrick did you/ the black people feel like a prop in Taylor’s new video?
— Gaby (@LadySourwolf) August 31, 2017
Why would todrick hall agree to be in a Taylor Swift music video? How embarrassing.
— Zachary (@zickiry) August 26, 2017
— Danielle Shree (@singingangel_p) August 25, 2017
1. Taylor is fucking ugly
2. Why is todrick hall in this? Baby I’m ashamed of you
3. Why are the black people and the whites separated?! https://t.co/zUhclPxOSO
— NIYAH ♡ (@NiyahMusic) August 25, 2017
@todrick I’m disgusted as a fan that you’d support a human being like Taylor Swift. You losing your black supporters with this one.
— ♥Angel Monroe♥ (@AngelMonroe_) August 25, 2017
Hall explained that he was “very confused” by comparisons of his scene in the video to Beyonce’s “Formation” video.
“They saw a clip, just a few seconds, that featured Taylor Swift standing in a line of dancers, and they started forming all types of conclusions. I was just very confused by that, because I knew that there was nothing ‘Formation’-esque or Lemonade-esque about the video,” he told Yahoo. “I’m a humongous Beyoncé fan. I’ve worked with Beyoncé. I’ve choreographed for Beyoncé. And I would never intentionally be a part of art that I felt was ripping off my favorite artist of all time. But I felt like these were two completely different lanes.”
Hall, who has over 2.6 million followers on YouTube, said much of the hatred he has received has been simply for his friendship with Swift.
“Yes, I have gotten comments from people who are upset and have literally said the fact that I am friends with a white person is a problem, because white people don’t possess the ability to love or ever truly care about black people. And I find that very disheartening,” he said.
“It’s just really difficult for me to understand why it is an issue for people, a legitimate issue, that I have white friends, and that Taylor Swift happens to be one of my many white friends,” he added.
“Apparently there’s a thing called the ‘cookout,’ which is like your invitation to be a part of the black community,” Hall explained. “Some people have, like, deemed themselves the Woke Police, and they decide to strip you online of your invitation to attend the ‘cookout.’ It boggles my mind that people are deciding whether or not I’m down enough, black enough, or woke enough to be ‘invited.’ If I have to hate people and judge people based on their race, sexual orientation, or religion, then sorry, but I’d rather order pizza.”
— Taylor Swift Updates (@TSwiftPR) September 1, 2017
Hall noted that people tend to forget that, despite her huge celebrity status, “Taylor Swift really is my friend,” and that she has a human side.
“We are friends, and so when she asked me to do this video, I said absolutely. It wasn’t a question for me. I trust her, and I had no problem doing the video,” Hall said. “And I just think that it’s really sad and shocking that me doing four eight-counts of choreography is enough to make people feel the need to question my ‘blackness’ or ‘wokeness.'”
Hall revealed that he was even attacked because of Swift’s political leanings – even though the music star has been largely mum on the issues.
— Taylor Swift Updates (@TSwiftPR) September 1, 2017
“Yeah, many people have been tweeting me, ‘She supports Trump! She probably voted for Trump!’ They’re making this huge assumption, when Taylor has never to my knowledge come out and said anything about her being pro-Trump,” Hall argued. “But people would still rather believe that she is the one who is pushing Trump’s agenda. That was one of the major things that was tweeted at me, and I’m like, ‘So you are mad that you think she might support Donald Trump? But you’re not mad that Kanye has been very openly pro-Trump?’ I don’t understand that.”
Watch Swift’s full music video below:
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