Kendrick Lamar is playing a disabled meme creator in a new Taylor Swift video, apparently? The world never ceases to produce wonders.
For the last several (thousand) days, Taylor Swift has been using Twitter to tease the video for her new single “Bad Blood,” which features cameos from a cavalcade of famous white women such as Lily Aldridge and Lena Dunham adopting aliases such as “Frostbyte” and “Lucky Fiori,” centered around a nebulous Kill Bill-looking plot. And today: Kendrick Lamar.
Meet “Welvin Da Great,” Taylor tweeted this morning, by which she means Kendrick Lamar.
Taylor has been performing a sort of public courtship ritual of Lamar recently, rapping “Backseat Freestyle” in front of a Rolling Stone reporter and sending an enthusiastic tweet about his new album, which included this photo of her and a fellow precious fawn dancing to music about black pain.
When that new Kendrick comes on: pic.twitter.com/g9Il2LUgdXMarch 20, 2015
Lamar repaid that attention by singing and later freestyling over “Shake It Off.” It’s been rumored for weeks that the single version of “Bad Blood” will be a remix sporting a Kendrick verse, so that he’s in the video is not a huge surprise.
It is, however, kind of bizarre that his alias is, uh, an homage (?) to the minor internet celebrity Welven Da Great, who gained notoriety for being a safe way for people to laugh at folks with disabilities. (While Welven has acknowledged that he lives with “a medical condition,” he has never publicly disclosed any specifics.)
In an earlier tweet, which is rumored to be a response to Azealia Banks claiming that Gigi Hadid stole her nickname “Slay-Z” (celebrities!), Taylor stated that each “individual actor/actress” in the “Bad Blood” video “chose their character’s name and persona.”
Fun fact about #BadBloodMusicVideo: Each individual actor/actress chose their character's name and persona. *😺CATastrophe😺*May 11, 2015
Taylor Swift, she would like you to know, had nothing to do with any “persona” that might be stolen (or dumb), but the slight spelling alteration in Kendrick’s “character”—“Welvin” as opposed to “Welven”—suggests that at least someone was aware that “Welven Da Great” had already been taken. It also suggests that Kendrick’s “persona” in the video will be that of a man with an undisclosed medical condition who is famous for saying “deez nuts.”
Gawker contacted Welven Da Great via email to ask if anyone from either Swift’s or Lamar’s camps had been in touch prior to today’s announcement.
“Unfortunately they have not,” he replied.
When asked how he felt about Kendrick Lamar portraying Welvin Da Great in a Taylor Swift video, Welven Da Great was chill: “I feel good about it, Not worrying about the negative thats all.”
Gawker also reached out to Taylor Swift’s representative Tree Paine, who said she would call back. We’ll provide an update if and when that happens.