Taylor Swift has shared her backing for two Democratic candidates following years of silence on political matters.
The music star was often criticised for not sharing her political opinions despite having a global platform, but she has now said she feels inspired to speak out due to events in her life and in the world over the past two years.
The 28-year-old revealed her support for Democratic candidate Phil Bredesen for the Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives, as she prepares to vote in Tennessee in the midterm elections in November.
Referring to her 2017 countersuit against a radio DJ who was fired after allegedly groping her before a concert, she wrote on Instagram: “In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.
“I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country.
“I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG.
“I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of coluor is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.”
Swift went on to say that she will not vote for Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn, despite her desire to see women in office.
“I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin colour, gender or who they love,” she said.
“Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn.
“Her voting record in Congress appals and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women.
“She voted against the reauthorisation of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape.
“She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values.”
Swift, who asked her 112 million followers to “educate” themselves on the candidates in their states and to choose the one who “who most closely represents your values”.
She added: “For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway.
“So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count.”
Swift lives in New York but spent her later years in Tennessee.
Mr Bredesen thanked Swift for her endorsement in a tweet, writing: “Thank you for the kind words @taylorswift13. I’m honoured to have your support and that of so many Tennesseans who are ready to put aside the partisan shouting and get things done. We’re ready for it.”
President Donald Trump insisted Ms Blackburn is “doing a very good job” and is a “tremendous woman”.
He said Swift “doesn’t know anything about her”, adding: “I like Taylor’s music about 25% less now, OK?”