It’s safe to assume that everyone knows what happened between Taylor Swift and Kanye West at the 2009 VMAs — who has since changed his name to Ye.
But just in case it somehow managed to slip your mind, here’s a recap.
It was September 13, and while it had been three years since Taylor Swift’s debut album, she was still relatively new to the industry.
Taylor was just 19 at the time – and nowhere near the level of global superstardom she’s known for today – so she was absolutely over the moon when she sang “You Belong With Me.” Her music video was awarded Best Female Video. The VMAs
But moments into Taylor’s acceptance speech, you — who was sitting in the front row — stormed the stage, grabbed the microphone from her hand, and said: “Yo, Taylor, I’m so happy for you. , I grant you. Over, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time! One of the best videos of all time!
Beyoncé, who was nominated for her “Single Ladies” music video, looked sad to be shown in the audience, and the crowd booed Yu as she returned the mic to Taylor and walked offstage.
Taylor appeared to be in complete shock, taking the mic from her but standing alone on stage in silence until MTV cut into a pre-recorded segment. You are said to have been escorted out of the building shortly after.
Wayne Toffler, MTV’s producer-in-charge at the time, later told Billboard that both Beyonce and Taylor were crying backstage after the incident. And, to make matters worse, Taylor was scheduled to perform next on the show.
The first half of her performance was pre-recorded as she took part in the New York City subway, but she had to sing the last verse live on stage, and fans have since noted that the song’s His voice is heard at this point.
After her performance, Taylor and her mother were ready to leave the event entirely but the producers begged them to stop. And when Beyoncé won Video of the Year at the end of the show, she invited Taylor on stage to finish her opening speech.
You later posted a public apology to Taylor, but the incident took on a life of its own as it dominated social media, and everyone else joined the conversation.
Oprah Winfrey and Janet Jackson were among the stars to send flowers to the singer, while then-President Barack Obama added, calling her a “jackass.”
After a while, Taylor appeared. point of view, where he gave his perspective on what had happened. “My overall thought process was something like: ‘Wow, I can’t believe I won, that’s great, don’t trip and fall, I’m going to thank the fans, that’s great. Oh. , Kanye West is here. Cool haircut. What are you doing there?'” she said. “And then, ‘Ouch.’ And then, ‘I guess I’m not going to thank the fans.’
But she also had a series of radio interviews scheduled for later in the month, one of which has now gone viral as host MJ Kelly – whose real name is Todd Skint – treated Taylor to .
In fact, the star was forced to end the interview entirely after she refused to talk about anything other than the VMAs incident and got into an actual on-air argument with her publicist. Many have now praised the “polite” and dignified way in which Taylor conducted himself.
In the full interview, which took place on September 18, 2009, MJ inadvertently foretells what will happen when he loses Taylor seconds after saying hello due to a bad phone connection. The host then exclaimed: “I haven’t asked about Kanye yet, I’m talking about Traffic in Nashville and they contacted us!”
And when they finally caught Taylor, MJ wasted no time in getting into the drama. “Listen, let’s get Kanye West out of here,” he said before adding that the scandal has exposed him to a lot of new people who will likely now become fans.
“I think showing love is what I focus on in this whole thing,” Taylor replied. “Getting flowers from Janet Jackson was something I never thought would happen in my entire life. Just everyone being so supportive and showing love, it was really nice to have her. People I didn’t know—and people I didn’t know who I was—had my back and were so kind to me, so it was really. An amazing thing.”
MJ then asked if Taylor ever thought she’d win the VMAs, and she said: “No, not at all. I never think I’m going to win anything, so it’s definitely a It was a very interesting night.
“So you’re on stage,” MJ continued, “I hate to put you through this again, but our audience wants to know…”
“Honestly, I’m trying not to make it a bigger deal than it already is,” Taylor interjected. “It’s become a bigger deal than I thought it would be… it happened on TV, so everyone saw what happened and I’d probably like to move on a little bit.”
“Did you think it was a scripted thing?” MJ pressed on.
“Well, you know, I didn’t know what to think, but I think we should probably talk about something else because I talked about it in an interview and it happened to be that. Was and it’s not something I feel we need to keep talking about,” Taylor responded.
Ignoring Taylor’s plea, the host said: “It’s good for your career, though, I’m telling you. You’re the hero here, he’s the zero, and he apologized. Do you Think the apology was sincere?
“I’d really appreciate it if we could talk about something else because I’ve asked you three times and I’m trying to be nice about it,” Taylor said. “It’s just not something we need to spend this whole interview talking about.”
“Taylor, I’m going to be honest, let me just give you a few tips here. You’ve got about 10 or 12 radio stations lined up after me, and they’re all going to want to talk about this, Taylor. ” argued MJ.
“Exactly,” Taylor agreed. “But I think if I asked him three times and I’ve already talked about it in interviews – I’d go ahead. point of view And just went through a brief review…”
“I’ll tell you, last question and then we move on. One more and then I promise I’ll move on, okay?” MJ interrupted, Taylor not answering. “Do you think, And I think it’s a fair question, do you think Kanye West…”
At that point, Taylor’s publicist told MJ: “Hey, guys, we’ve got to push this question. I’m sorry, can we do something new?”
“Yeah I’m about to get to it,” argued the host. “I’m about to get to it, it’s something that everybody’s talking about. I don’t see point of viewI find them very unpleasant – has she gone off the phone?”
Taylor’s publicist confirmed that she had, and MJ began to raise her voice as she said: “I hate to point it out, guys, but you have 12 stations after me. Stand up. Everyone will ask the same thing.”
And when publicists appeared to mention the “pointers” sent the previous day, MJ quipped: “First of all, I don’t do interviews where I get a list of demands that I can’t talk about. “
“Oh no no no, this is not a list of demands, no sir,” explained the publicist. “They just want to move on.” She then pointed out that Taylor had addressed the conflict the first two times MJ asked her, but now she wanted to go ahead with the interview.
MJ hung up when Taylor’s publicist said they had the next station ready to go, and shouted to others in the studio: “What was that?”
“I thought I was cool, I thought I was soft, I thought I was fragile,” he continued. “What was that? My last question was going to be: Do you think Kanye West has a mental problem? Do you think Kanye West has a screw up?
Screaming aloud, he continued: “How are they getting away with it? They think they can get away with it? They’ve got New York and Dallas and Phoenix and Minneapolis — would you think for a minute Are some stations not more strict than me?
And people were horrified by the exchange when it resurfaced on TikTok nearly 14 years later, with many praising Taylor for keeping her boundaries and calling out MJ for the way she talked to him.
“She set a limit and they couldn’t respect it,” read one comment. Another asked: “Do you think they would have continued to press an old man for information like that? They were trying to take advantage of how young and humble she is.”
Others cited a standout moment from the interview, as one wrote: “‘Let me give you a few tips here.’ Boldness.” A fourth chimed in: “‘Lemme just give you a couple of tips here.’ Mansplaining. He is on a press tour. She knows.”
“‘Let me give you a few tips here’ personally I’d go wild,” agreed another. Another commented: “He thinks he can help her because he’s young. Go Taylor! Respect.”
The video also made its way onto Reddit, where fans praised the singer for being so kind in the face of such disrespect.
“Taylor is seriously ahead of her time. She’s always been respectful but firm and people’s reaction to her was total bullshit,” someone posted alongside the video.
Others accused MJ of trying to make Taylor “shut up and be a good girl” so he could “walk all over” her.
“The fact that he handled it with such grace as a teenager really speaks to his character. I would have told him to turn professional and get out, and I’m 31. Yes,” one user wrote.
Another added: “Watching Taylor grow up is just watching men and a cynical society try to break a young woman’s spirit over and over again.”
And it’s far from the only interview to apparently prove that point, with Emily Ratajkowski calling out the media’s treatment of Taylor earlier this month after a resurfaced interview with Ellen DeGeneres went viral.
In a 2013 segment, Taylor repeatedly expressed her discomfort as she was presented with a slideshow of famous men and told to ring the bell if she dated them.
During a 2019 interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music, Taylor herself opened up about the media’s sexual treatment.
She said at the time: “When I was, like, 23, people were just kind of underestimating me – making slideshows of my dating life and putting people there that I’d sit down with at a party once and decide. Maybe my songwriting was more of a gimmick than a skill or talent.
“It’s a way to take a woman who’s doing her thing and being able to do her thing and make things,” Taylor continued. Likes to do the darkest moments, which is just a shame, you know? And it happened to me at a very young age, so it was a little difficult.”
Taylor also appears to refer to her own hard life lessons in her 2022 song “Dear Reader”, where she bluntly advises listeners: “Lean in when you can, lean in when you have to” and “You don’t have to answer just because they asked. You do” — with both examples the star expertly demonstrated in her interview with MJ.
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