If there’s one thing I know that you don’t do in this life, it’s doubt the reach of Beyoncé. Recently on Shannon Sharpe‘s Nightcap podcast, Sharpe exclaimed that Beyoncé doesn’t “move the needle” for the NFL like Taylor Swift does. Sharpe’s co-host Chad Ochocinco appeared flabbergasted by the sentiment. Sharpe ended up citing the fact that Swift’s Eras tour grossed over $1 billion. That amount is close to doubling the $500 and some odd million that Beyoncé’s Renaissance Tour grossed. But what Sharpe neglected to highlight are the reasons why Swift may have more appeal to the broader American population.
Let’s not forget Superbowl L in 2016. It was the halftime show and the lineup was Coldplay, Bruno Mars and Beyoncé. After what was one of the most high-energy halftime performances in recent memory, the comments the next day weren’t so much about that. White America had a lot to say about Beyoncé’s statement that she was making with her attire. Some believed it was too “militant.”
For my money, I’d bet that if Beyoncé were single and dating someone in the NFL, she still wouldn’t get as much camera time as Swift due to White America’s inherent bias toward her. The obstacle that Swift doesn’t have is her whiteness. She is more palatable for the masses in this country. However, this isn’t emblematic of her quality of performance being better than Beyoncé. It also doesn’t factor in whether or not she is truly a bigger star.
To be fair, these two artists are the contemporary measuring stick of pop icons in this country. This piece isn’t written to diminish what Swift brings to the table. But I strongly feel that the reality of her mass appeal isn’t solely her skills. On a more leveled playing field, I think all of the disparities that exist between these two artists are a hell of a lot closer. You can’t just utter that Beyoncé doesn’t “move the needle” and doesn’t “come close” without adding nuance. There are systems at play here that have allowed for this moment to be a thing. And honestly, this might be an era that helps define a part of Swift’s career and life. Have at it. But as far as I can see it, even Swift would willingly bow down to the queen.