Karamo Brown Defends Taylor Swift's 'You Need to Calm Down' Video: 'She's Helping Our Community'
The Queer Eye culture expert is now part of a new ad campaign with grassroots political organization Swing Left
Karamo Brown has dreamed of being friends with Taylor Swift since he can remember. And after appearing in the music video for her latest single “You Need to Calm Down,” which prominently features a message of LGBTQ acceptance, he’ll gladly say he is.
“We had these amazing conversations about her influence and her understanding the importance of helping people to see that they should open their minds,” Brown, 38, tells PEOPLE. “That’s a woman who is using her power for good, and I’m just proud to be her friend now.”
The Queer Eye culture expert, who helps the Netflix show’s makeover subjects work through complex emotions, is now part of a new ad for Swing Left, a grassroots political organization working to elect Democrats in swing districts. Having long considered himself a political activist, Brown welcomes Swift’s LGBTQ advocacy.
“As far as I know, black trans women are still dying in high numbers,” Brown says. “So, it’s not just convenient, like, ‘Oh, everything’s solved, so now I want to get on it.’ She’s helping our community at a time when things are still going on.”
“We have an administration that is literally saying trans people cannot serve in the military,” he continues. “It’s not convenient for Taylor Swift to be coming forward. It’s needed, and I’m thankful.”
There’s a political layer to all the work Brown does, which includes making over heroes on Queer Eye, which was recently renewed for a fourth and fifth season.
“Through these meaningful connections that I made with people on Queer Eye, I wanted to continue that with Swing Left,” Brown says. “To help have these meaningful conversations with people who might not believe the same things we believe in.'”
Those conversations have been Brown’s favorite part of Queer Eye. The show’s fourth season takes place in Kansas City like the third, and the Fab Five filmed both at the same time.
“The people in Kansas City are so willing to grow and to learn,” he says. “They were just so open to say, ‘You know what, I might be wrong, I might be right, so let’s have a conversation.'”
Now, Brown is preparing to visit Philadelphia for the show’s fifth season. He’s familiar with the city, having appeared on MTV’s The Real World: Philadelphia from 2004-05 — the only other major reality series to film there.
“It’s where I came into my own as a man,” he says. “Also, I love politics and I have political aspirations one day, and to be going back to the birthplace of our nation — it just feels full circle for me.”
Whether it’s pretending to be a doctor for a Swing Left PSA or dressing up for a music video, Brown is ready to do what it takes to get people involved in politics.
“If me going out there in high heels is going to help spread the message that, ‘Yes, get involved, start supporting communities that are marginalized’?” Brown says. “Honey, I’d be in heels every single day!”
Season 4 of Queer Eye comes out July 19 on Netflix.