Early Monday morning, Taylor Swift released the video for her new song “You Need to Calm Down,” featuring cameos by Ellen DeGeneres, Billy Porter, Laverne Cox, RuPaul, Queer Eye’s Fab Five, Adam Rippon, Hannah Hart and a bevy of drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Produced with Todrick Hall, the video depicts an LGBTQ trailer park paradise, where the inhabitants, including Swift, celebrate their lives in bright colors and bold patterns. Opening with the Cher quote “Mom, I am a rich man,” the video is Swift’s most pro-LGBTQ statement ever, and one of the most political and social stances the pop star has ever taken with her music.
On the outskirts of the town are anti-LGBTQ protesters, welding signs that say “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” and “Get a brain, morons.” This doesn’t seem to bother the queer residents of the park, who continue their lives despite the anger from the outsiders. From a gay wedding between Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his real-ife husband Justin Mikita, to Adam Lambert tattooing the arm of Ellen DeGeneres, all is OK in the land of rainbow and transgender pride flags.
The video culminates with a Pop Queen Pageant, featuring some of our favorite queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race as pop divas, including Delta Werk as Adele, Trinity K. Bonet as Cardi B, and Jade Jolie as Swift herself. The country-style beauty pageant is fronted by (who else?) RuPaul, who brings out a crown that ends up thrown into the air during the song’s penultimate moment.
In the end, Swift dressed as french fries and Katy Perry dressed as a burger (the same look she wore to the Met Gala) find each other among the chaos of a cake fight, seemingly making up after years of an all too real-life and well-documented public feud.
Swift ends her video with a political call to action for viewers: “Let’s show our pride by demanding that, on a national level, our laws truly treat all our citizens equally. Please sign my petition for Senate support of the Equality Act on Change.org.”
Earlier this month, Swift began LGBTQ Pride Month by penning an open letter to Tennessee’s Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander in support of the Equality Act, an expansion of the Civil Rights Act that would prohibit employers, landlords, and others from discriminating against anyone because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
“While we have so much to celebrate, we also have a great distance to go before everyone in this country is truly treated equally,” Swift told fans in the open letter posted to her Instagram.
“Our country’s lack of protection for its own citizens ensures that LGBTQ people must live in fear that their lives could be turned upside down by an employer or landlord who is homophobic or transphobic. The fact that, legally, some people are completely at the mercy of the hatred and bigotry of others is disgusting and unacceptable,” she added. “Let’s show our pride by demanding that, on a national level, our laws truly treat all of our citizens equally.”
On Friday, Swift surprised the crowd at the iconic Stonewall Inn in New York City to perform her hit single “Shake It Off.” The evening, hosted by Jesse Tyler Ferguson, was a fundraiser for the Stonewall Gives Back Initiative.
“I heard that this is Jesse’s favorite song to do at karaoke,” Swift said to the crowd. “So if there’s anything you feel like you want to jump in on, if there’s like, your part that you’re really good at, then, just sing, dance, just be yourself. This is a really safe space.”
Here are all the cameos, in order of appearance:
Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Jonathan Van Ness
Delta Work as Adele
Trinity K. Bonet as Cardi B
Jade Jolie Jesse as Taylor Swift
Riley Knox-Beyoncé as Beyoncé
A’keria C. Davenport as Nicki Minaj
Tatianna as Ariana Grande
Trinity the Tuck as Lady Gaga
Adore Delano as Katy Perry