Taylor Swift shared a video on Instagram on Friday of her performing a cover of Earth, Wind and Fire's "September". She did the cover as part of a wider series by Spotify called Spotify Singles, where singers and bands cover classic songs from previous decades and different genres. She must have been expecting some form of response, but little did she know she released a controversy on the Twitter-woke world who were seriously pissed. 'September' is well-known to be a soul/funk classic and Earth, Wind & Fire were the first African-American act to sell out Madison Square Garden. Even before the single was released, people took to Twitter to vent their opinion on why she shouldn't have touched the song, with one user writing: "Maurice White didn't found one of the greatest soul bands of all time to have Taylor Swift cover one of his biggest hits in mayonnaise and turn it into some ish people sing at open mic night. This is an abomination."
Die-hard Swifties quickly leapt to Taylor's defence, commenting that they loved the cover "Taylor Swift's September cover gives me feels like you're with your favourite person in the car, driving at 90, windows down, wind on your face, blasting music vibes." General consensus from Swift fans is that the song is a summer tune that makes you feel like you're in love - which is high praise - but critics are adamant she shouldn't have 'ruined it with banjo's. One seriously angry tweet calls the single "musical terrorism" and "the most disrespectful shit I've ever seen." All of the classic anti-white phrases can be seen popping up repeatedly, describing her work as 'mayonnaise' and 'unseasoned chicken' and the two sides of Twitter have faced off in a showdown. It's worth noting that Allee Willis, one of the writers of September, has given the cover her blessing and even calls it a 'soulful and happy sundae.'
“September was my first hit and favorite song of mine I ever have had the joy of being a part of. Taylor Swift is the absolute cherry on top of a very soulful and happy sundae.” – Co-writer of Earth, Wind & Fire’s song “September” Allee Willis on Taylor’s cover [@billboard]— Taylor Swift Updates (@TSUpdatesNY) April 15, 2018
Taylor herself has probably stayed mainly sheltered from the controversy, because she took the decision a while ago to turn off comments on her Instagram account and is shielded from other negative messages. It's opened up a discussion about whether any types of music are out of bounds, or whether covering artists whose work you enjoy should be encouraged. Can you suffer from cultural appropriation by covering a song by a musician who's from another country, or has a different skin tone to you? Or is this just another example of the mounting campaign of hate against Swift, who has been accused of being a Nazi and a Donald Trump supporter over the course of the last year.
You can listen to the cover here: