Taylor Swift’s highly anticipated “You Need to Calm Down” video was recently released and met with mixed reactions. Critics on the left feel Swift’s inclusion of different drag queens and gay icons is exploitive, and critics on the right hate how the gay marriage protestors featured in the video are portrayed.
Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown starred in the video, along with the rest of the Fab Five, and he whole-heartedly celebrates what Swift is trying to do with “You Need to Calm Down”; he’s happy to be a part of it.
Karamo Brown believes Taylor Swift is a true ally
“As far as I know, black trans women are still dying in high numbers,” Brown recently told People. “So, it’s not just convenient, like, ‘Oh, everything’s solved, so now I want to get on it.’ She’s helping our community at a time when things are still going on.”
He says he and Swift had several meaningful conversations about how to use her star power for good.
“We had these amazing conversations about her influence and her understanding the importance of helping people to see that they should open their minds,” said Brown. “That’s a woman who is using her power for good, and I’m just proud to be her friend now.”
Though Netflix fans know him best from his culture role in the Fab Five, Brown is also passionate about politics. He’s part of a grassroots political organization called Swing Left that works to get Democrats elected in swing districts. He says Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down” video and recent political efforts both excite him and bring him hope.
“We have an administration that is literally saying trans people cannot serve in the military,” he said. “It’s not convenient for Taylor Swift to be coming forward. It’s needed, and I’m thankful.”
Karamo Brown’s political roots
Brown’s participation in Swing Left was partially inspired by his love of having honest, intimate conversations with strangers that get to the heart of how and why people make the political choices they do.
“Through these meaningful connections that I made with people on Queer Eye, I wanted to continue that with Swing Left,” Brown says. “To help have these meaningful conversations with people who might not believe the same things we believe in.’”
The conversations he gets to have with Queer Eye participants are Brown’s favorite part of the show. The fourth season, which premieres on Netflix July 19, takes place in Kansas City, just like the third season (the Fab Five filmed both seasons at the same time).
“The people in Kansas City are so willing to grow and to learn,” he says. “They were just so open to say, ‘You know what, I might be wrong, I might be right, so let’s have a conversation.’”
Queer Eye’s fifth season will be filming in Philadelphia. Brown says he’s excited to return to “the birthplace of our nation.”
“It’s where I came into my own as a man,” he says. “Also, I love politics and I have political aspirations one day, and to be going back to the birthplace of our nation — it just feels full circle for me.”
Read more: ‘Drag Race’ Star Trinity K. Bonet Reveals What It Was Like To Work With Taylor Swift on ‘You Need to Calm Down’
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