Many people on social media spoke out against Hall for appearing with Swift during a dance sequence that many thought resembles Beyoncé’s video for “Formation.” Others accused the openly gay performer of betraying both the black and LGBTQ communities, calling him everything from a “sellout” to racial slurs.
One Twitter user wrote, “Why is Taylor Swift using gay black men as props, and why is Todrick Hall letting her? I am tired.” Another wrote: “Todrick Hall is the black kid who taught all the white girls to twerk, let them say the N word, and never talked to you. He’s your cousin.”
The performer has since spoken out regarding the backlash, saying that he has nothing to apologize for.
First, Todrick Hall spoke with Entertainment Tonight. During this interview, he responded to comments surrounding the similarities between Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” and Beyoncé’s “Formation.”
“I am a huge Beyoncé fan, I’m like a chair board member of the Beygency,” he explained. “I wasn’t concerned because I knew what was to come and I knew that there was nothing even [remotely] Beyoncé-esque about the actual performance.”
“Beyoncé did not invent lines or standing in lines,” he continued. “I think that what we did was really cool of just image … that was Lemonade, this is kinda just like soda pop. It’s different. They’re both great drinks, but different drinks.”
After scrutiny for him raised to new heights, Hall chatted with Yahoo! Music about the controversy.
“I just think that it’s really sad and shocking that me doing four eight-counts of choreography is enough to make people feel the need to question my ‘blackness’ or ‘wokenes,'” Hall said.
“Apparently there’s a thing called the ‘cookout,’ which is like your invitation to be a part of the black community. Some people have, like, deemed themselves the Woke Police, and they decide to strip you online of your invitation to attend the ‘cookout.’ It boggles my mind that people are deciding whether or not I’m down enough, black enough, or woke enough to be ‘invited.’ If I have to hate people and judge people based on their race, sexual orientation, or religion, then sorry, but I’d rather order pizza.”
Many of the comments that Hall faced brought up Swift’s silence during the 2016 election, as many found her decision to not support either candidate publicly as complicit support of Donald Trump.
To that, Hall says: “But people would still rather believe that she is the one who is pushing Trump’s agenda. That was one of the major things that was tweeted at me, and I’m like, ‘So you are mad that you think she might support Donald Trump? But you’re not mad that Kanye has been very openly pro-Trump?’ I don’t understand that.”
Hall doubles-down on not apologizing. “I’m not apologizing for being a part of the video and doing four eight-counts of choreography in it. I thought it was a great piece of art. I thought it was awesome. It’s broken so many records and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
“I don’t think I’ve sold out my race or my community — the gay community, the black community,” he continues. “I think that I was just in a piece of art that my friend made. I’m not issuing a statement to people about it to explain myself, because there’s nothing to explain. I’m not sorry that I did it, and I don’t think that it was a mistake. If I had a do-over, I would absolutely be there for another eight hours, in heels, dancing with her.”
Hall says that while Swift has given him advice, the words he is relying on most right now are Queen Bey’s.
“But I think that Beyoncé gave me the best advice when I met her. She said, ‘Don’t scroll down. Don’t go down and look at comments, and when you do something as an artist, make a decision and stick to it. You don’t need to apologize for things that you’ve done.’ I use that all the time.”