Taylor Swift's speech at Billboard's Women in Music event just might be her most empowering and applause-worthy yet, right up there with her iconic 2016 Grammys acceptance speech. After receiving the first-ever woman of the decade award from Jameela Jamil on Thursday night, Swift spoke about her career evolution, called out sexism in the music industry, and gave a shout-out to other thriving female artists. Oh, and she also fearlessly put Scooter Braun on blast for buying her music without her consent.
"People love to explain away a woman's success in the music industry."
"I'm Taylor, good evening," the singer-songwriter endearingly began the 15-minute speech. "What does it mean to be the woman of this decade? Well, it means I've seen a lot . . . I saw that as a female in this industry, some people will always have slight reservations about you: whether you deserve to be there, whether your male producer or cowriter is the reason for your success, or whether it was a savvy record label — it wasn't. I saw that people love to explain away a woman's success in the music industry."
Swift went on to address the "harsh criticism" she and her fellow female artists receive and how men in music simply don't deal with similar scrutiny. "Have you ever heard someone say about a male artist, 'I really like his songs, but I don't know what it is. There's just something about him I just don't like'? No, that criticism is reserved for us," she said. After giving a shout-out to Lana Del Rey for rising above the critics, Swift called out newer female artists who've similarly charged past obstacles in their careers, including Lizzo, King Princess, Normani, Megan Thee Stallion, and Dua Lipa, to name a few.
Up next in Swift's powerhouse speech? The Scooter Braun takedown, as she directly singled him out for purchasing her music without her approval. "I'm fairly certain he knew how I would feel about it. And let me just say that the definition of toxic male privilege in our industry is people saying, 'But he's always been nice to me!' when I'm raising valid concerns about artists and their rights to own their music. Of course he's nice to you. If you're in this room, you have something he needs." Phew! Of course, Swift ended on a positive note, shedding light on the improvements that have been made in the industry lately and the importance of fostering musical creativity among younger generations.
Watch her inspiring-as-hell speech in its entirety above, then keep reading to see photos of her at the Billboard event and get details on her jumpsuit.