On Friday afternoon, Taylor Swift published an Instagram post that took many people by surprise: A logo for this weekend’s March For our Lives, the student-led rally urging Congress to take action on gun control and stop mass shootings.
“No one should have to go to school in fear of gun violence. Or to a nightclub. Or to a concert. Or to a movie theater. Or to their place of worship,” the pop superstar wrote in the caption. “I’ve made a donation to show my support for the students, for the March for Our Lives campaign, for everyone affected by these tragedies, and to support gun reform. I’m so moved by the Parkland High School students, faculty, by all families and friends of victims who have spoken out, trying to prevent this from happening again.”
Swift is the latest in a long line of A-listers to support the endeavor, as George Clooney announced a $500,000 donation and stars from Miley Cyrus to Common will be at the Washington march on Saturday. But Swift’s statement is significant simply because she’s one of the most powerful celebrities on the planet, with many millions of followers — and typically, she avoids saying or doing anything remotely political.
Because of her influence, her silence has recently become a point of criticism, as she didn’t speak out one way or another about the 2016 election — and she hasn’t publicly denounced fans who are white supremacists. In January 2017, Swift’s tweet about the Women’s March (“So much love, pride, and respect for those who marched. I’m proud to be a woman today, and every day.”) also became controversial; many criticized her for not attending the event, even though she uses feminism to promote her brand.
It culminated in a mini-“controversy” at the end of 2017, as she thanked her fans for supporting her new “Reputation” album and wrote on Instagram, “I couldn’t have asked for a better year.” Afterward, she was mocked for celebrating a year that had been so difficult for so many people.
For the March for Our Lives, however, Swift went beyond just a general social media message, as she noted that she made a donation and specifically addressed gun reform. Swift has made a concerted effort over the past two years to stay out of the public eye, so when she does break her silence on a topic, it’s clear that she really wants people to pay attention.