Taylor Swift believes elections matter and just wrote a huge check to prove it.
CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images

Taylor Swift has been really upping her game. The singer, who's remained staunchly apolitical for most of her career, has made one thing very clear in the past year: Our current civil rights climate isn't one in which anyone can afford to keep quiet.

Now she's using her sphere of influence (and buckets and buckets of hard-earned) cash to make certain that the LGBT+ residents of Tennessee — many of whom I speculate have also warmed to "Look What You Made Me Do" via repeated listens — aren't ever treated like second-class citizens.

If you're unfamiliar, Tennessee has recently proposed a set of 12 bills that have quickly garnered the collective name "the slate of hate." These bills include proposals to reverse gay marriage, criminalize trans people in public spaces, and allow adoption agencies to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, even though there is already overwhelming evidence that, guess what, kids who are raised by same-sex couples are doing hella good (and should just keep on dancing). That sounds like a lot...but it's only the tip of a very hate and shame-filled iceberg.


That's where Tay Tay comes in. After publicly denouncing Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn for her anti-gay views during the midterms, Swift is putting her money where her mouth is and donating to organizations that promote and support inclusivity for all.

Earlier this week, Swift donated $113,000 (could this number have anything to do with a new album? Everything's a clue!) to The Tennessee Equality Project, which is working to fight the "slate of hate." She also included a handwritten note, which was shared by the org's Executive Director, Chris Sanders.

"Taylor Swift has been a long-time ally to the LGBTQ community. She sees our struggle in Tennessee and continues to add her voice with so many good people, including religious leaders, who are speaking out for love in the face of fear," Sanders wrote in a post accompanying Swift's note.

Image of letter sent by Taylor Swift. Photo via Chris Sanders on Facebook.

Of course, the news of Swift's donation was met with...some excitement.

One could view this donation as a celebrity doing the right thing for people who continue to be oppressed and marginalized (and please don't come at me with this "everyone has equal rights now" card because: no), but it's even more than that.

It's a call for all of us to get involved, to get out of "the lane" that so many people on Twitter would like you to remind you should stay in, and fight until all Americans have the equality we're promised as citizens.

You got an anthem for that, Taylor? We're waiting.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
True

With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

Keep Reading Show less
via Taber Andrew Bain / Flickr

The tiniest state with the longest name may soon just be the tiniest state after November 3. Rhode Island is voting on whether to change its official name from "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" to "The State of Rhode Island."

Lawmakers in the state would like to shorten the name because the term "plantations" has a historical connection to slavery in the United States.

This isn't the first time the state has attempted to remove "plantations" from its name. Rhode Island attempted the change ten years ago and 78% of voters opposed the idea.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo courtesy of Claudia Romo Edelman
True

When the novel coronavirus hit the United States, life as we knew it quickly changed. As many people holed up in their homes, some essential workers had to make the impossible choice of going to work or quitting their jobs— a choice they continue to make each day.

Because over 80 percent of working Hispanic adults provide essential services for the U.S. economy, the Hispanic community is disproportionately affected. Hispanic families are also much more likely to live in multigenerational households, carrying the extra risk of infecting the most vulnerable. In fact, Hispanics are 20 times more likely than other patients to test positive for COVID-19.

Claudia Romo Edelman saw a community in desperate need of guidance and support. And she created Hispanic Star, a non-profit designed to help Hispanic people in the U.S. pull together as a proud, unified group and overcome barriers — the most pressing of which is the effects of the pandemic.

Because the Hispanic community is so diverse, unification is, and was, an enormous challenge.

Photo credit: Hispanic Star

Keep Reading Show less

Electing Donald Trump to be president of the United States set an incredibly ugly example for the nation's youth.

We know how it's affected the national discourse of regular adults. But there's no denying the conduct of a president impacts how children around the world see the example being set for them. Every day for the past four years, children have been subjected to the behavior of a divisive figure that many of their parents chose to exalt to the most powerful office in the world.

Sure, adults can make excuses for him saying he's an "imperfect messenger" or that they "didn't vote for him to be reverend," but these are all just ways to rationalize voting for a man with zero character. What a message to send to children: Act awful and you'll be handsomely rewarded.

But what if you took away the "Trump" name and examined the character traits of him as an ordinary person? More specifically, what if your daughter came to you and said this was the kind of person she was planning to date? Well, one MAGA family found out and the results are funny, insightful and quite revealing about how we somehow hold our leaders to different and lower standards than we expect from ourselves in our day to day lives.

Keep Reading Show less
File:Delta Airlines - Boeing 767-300 - N185DN (Quintin Soloviev ...

Want to land yourself on a no-fly list? Refuse to wear a mask on an airplane. Delta is actually having to ban people from flights for not wearing masks. "As of this week, we've added 460 people to our no-fly list for refusing to comply with our mask requirement," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a message to employees per CNN. The number is up from 270 people in August. It's kinda nuts that people are so against covering their nose and mouth that they're actually willing to get kicked off an airline, but here we are.

We're a good seven months in to the pandemic, so having to wear some kind of protective covering isn't new anymore. Delta flights have been requiring face masks on flights since May 4th, and has been barring rule breakers from traveling since June. Delta is also one of two major U.S. airlines that keeps the middle seat open (at least until the end of 2020).

Keep Reading Show less