I’ve written up a story, which will come a bit later, about how Taylor Swift’s folklore seems to be relatively light on blind-item conspiracies and snake drama. Which is all a massive relief – she’s 30 years old and it was past time for her to drop the middle-school-level conspiracies and whisper campaigns. But there is still one drama, one week after Taylor released her album. Apparently, Taylor originally labeled her merchandise “The Folklore.” Except that was the name of a black-owned apparel business for African fashion. YIKES!

Taylor Swift did a quick rebrand in response to a complaint from the owner of a website with the same name and a similar logo to the one found on the merchandise for her new album.

According to Women’s Wear Daily, the pop star changed the name for her merchandise from “The Folklore” to simply “Folklore” after Amira Rasool, the owner of The Folklore, a website for African apparel and accessories designers, complained that it was causing confusion amongst customers. Rasool had her lawyers reach out to Swift’s team to draw their attention to the similarity of both the name and logo design.

“The main thing was having ‘The Folklore’ when the album was just called ‘Folklore,’” Rasool explained to WWD. She said that she also believes that the way the word “the” is positioned vertically in the logo is too similar to her own. Swift is currently selling sweatshirts, t-shirts, and cardigans to promote her new album that all feature this design.

Rasool says the singer’s team responded immediately and will remove the “The” from all merchandise. Their lawyers are also still in conversation “about next steps.” “I commend them for removing that, but I think there’s a larger conversation that needs to be had,” she said. “It’s not just damaging to one Black woman, it’s all the brands that we work with.”

She adds that Swift’s fans have attacked her for speaking out, “calling me a bitch and a liar,” and while the Swifties have accused her of being merely an attention seeker, Rasool counters, “I think there was a lot of damage to my brand for me speaking out. I don’t think I deserved that.”

Swift’s publicist declined to comment on the WWD story.

[From Vanity Fair]

This reminds me a bit of the Lady Antebellum issue – surely, Taylor’s legal/marketing team did basic internet searches to see if any other businesses had the name “The Folklore,” just as Lady Antebellum had the resources to know about the performer Lady A. So why did Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift go ahead with their branding/rename even with the knowledge of black artists or black-owned businesses using those names? Maybe Taylor truly didn’t know about “The Folklore” when she originally labeled her merchandise that, but also… did Taylor honestly think that she was the first person ever to label anything “folklore” or “The Folklore”? Why didn’t her lawyers do their due diligence? That’s what I don’t get. But yes, there is a larger conversation to be had because this kind of thing keeps happening, where white artists feel like no one will notice if they hijack a black artist’s name or a black-owned business’s brand name.

Amira Rasool also issued this statement:

— Amira Rasool (@AmiraRasool) July 28, 2020

— Amira Rasool (@AmiraRasool) July 28, 2020

Here’s an example of the similar logos. YIKES.

— Amira Rasool (@AmiraRasool) July 24, 2020

Photos courtesy of Taylor’s social media & Avalon Red.

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