Last night, Billboard held its 14th Annual Women In Music event to celebrate a number of women in the music industry. Hayley Kiyoko — who was awarded the Rising Star honor last year — hosted the show at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles. Nicki Minaj, Megan Thee Stallion and Brandi Carlile were among those honored; so was Taylor Swift who was presented with the Woman of The Decade Award.
Actress and activist Jameela Jamil presented Swift with the honor. Once she took the podium, Swift spoke about her career from her early days through today and discussed the tribulations of being a woman in the industry: she addressed her issues with trying to please everyone, and criticism she has faced throughout her career.
She also, finally, went there and talked in detail about her former label Big Machine, Scooter Braun, and the drama she’s had with Braun’s Ithaca Holdings buying Big Machine, the label she recorded her first six albums for.
“This just happened to me without my approval, consultation, or consent,” she said. “After I was denied the chance to purchase my music outright, my entire catalog was sold to Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings in a deal that I’m told was funded by the Soros family, 23 Capital, and the Carlyle Group. Yet, to this day, none of these investors have bothered to contact me or my team directly—to perform their due diligence on their investment. On their investment in me. To ask how I might feel about the new owner of my art, the music I wrote, the videos I created, photos of me, my handwriting, my album designs.”
“And of course, Scooter never contacted me or my team to discuss it prior to the sale or even when it was announced. I’m fairly certain he knew exactly how I would feel about it, though, and let me just say that the definition of toxic male privilege in our industry is people saying, ‘But he’s always been nice to me,’ when I’m raising valid concerns about artists and their right to own their music. And of course, he’s nice to you: if you’re in this room, you have something he needs.”
“The fact is that private equity enabled this man to think, according to his own social media post, that he could ‘buy me.’ But I’m obviously not going willingly. Yet the most amazing thing was to discover that it would be the women in our industry who would have my back and show me the most vocal support at one of the most difficult times, and I will never, ever forget it. Like, ever.”
Taylor ended her speech, saying, “Lately, I’ve been focusing less on what they say I can’t do, and more on whatever hell I want. Thank you for a magnificent, happy, free, confused, sometimes lonely, golden decade.”
Other awards presented at the event included:
Woman of the Year – Billie Eilish
Game Changer – Nicki Minaj
Powerhouse – Megan Thee Stallion
Rising Star – Rosalia
Icon – Alanis Morissette
Trailblazer – Brandi Carlile
Impact – Alicia Keys
Executive of the Year -Desiree Perez
The Best Looks From The Billboard Women In Music Event