It came as little surprise this past February when a handful of recording artists arrived at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony using their wardrobes to make pointed political statements. However, among the Planned Parenthood clutches and the pink girl-power suits, one stood out the most.
Singer/songwriter Joy Villa sent shock waves through an otherwise left-leaning industry when — while posing for cameras — she stripped off her white cloak to reveal a patriotic gown emblazoned with President Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” She instantly made headlines as “the singer who wore the MAGA dress.”
Sometimes you just gotta be free to express yourself. ????✨???? thank you to all of my supporters and fellow believers. Life is about living free and loving it. Be your beautiful selves tonight! ???????????????????? dr as by @officialandresoriano makeup by @nicholerayartistry Publicist: @mwprinc #grammys2017 #love #happygrammysday #joyvillagrammys #joyvilla
A post shared by Joy Villa???????? (@joyvilla) on Feb 12, 2017 at 5:27pm PST
Villa, who is black and identifies as a feminist, caught backlash on social media almost immediately after the outfit reveal, accused of supporting a racist and a misogynist. The up-and-coming star took it in stride, though, later posting a montage of images of herself in the dress, which also bore the name “TRUMP” in big, glittering letters across the back of its skirt. She thanked her “supporters and fellow believers,” and wrote, “Sometimes you just gotta be free to express yourself.”
Appearing on Fox & Friends on Monday, Villa was singing the same tune — but this time, she waxed rhapsodic about how her life has improved since her vocal support of President Trump a few months ago. “How much did your life change after you wore the ‘Make America Great Again’ dress to the Grammys?,” co-host Steve Doocy asked the 25-year-old. “Well, I now have millions of eyeballs on me, so it’s incredible. It’s changed for the better, I have to say,” a chipper Villa replied.
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) April 10, 2017
She went on to say admit that she has lost friends, though, after being outspoken in her support for the president. “For some people that’s been controversial,” she said of the entertainment industry, whose members tend to skew Democratic — particularly those in New York City and Los Angeles, as co-host Brian Kilmeade pointed out. “For me, [there’s] never been a doubt,” she continued. “I said, ‘This is my president. I’m going to stand by him.’”
After her appearance, Villa posted a photo of herself onset with her Fox & Friends interviewers along with the telling caption, “I had a great time on @foxandfriends this AM in NYC. Wonderful to talk about expressing myself boldly and releasing my social experiment where I walk in nyc wearing my @realdonaldtrump gear!” She’s smiling brightly while wearing an oversized bloom in her hair — her trademark look. Most recently, Villa was the keynote speaker at the March4Trump rally on March 4 in Washington, D.C.
Though Villa received death threats and ignited a firestorm in the comments section of her MAGA dress post on Instagram, some feel the recording artist is disingenuous in her support of the president, and is rather using the president for attention — and statements like “I now have millions of eyeballs on me” and “my social experiment” also support that theory.
Following Villa’s Grammys stunt, the Daily Beast published an exposé of the singer’s political past by way of her social media activity, and posited that she’s going out of her way to stir controversy and make a name for herself. The publication pointed out that Villa allegedly tweeted during the election cycle (from an unverified account), “If you don’t like the two crazy candidates running, write in or vote for the OTHER 3 on the ballot!” She also is believed to have hashtagged the tweet with the pro-Sanders catchphrase #FeelTheBern.
If you don't like the two crazy candidates running, write in or vote for the OTHER 3 on the ballot! Don't dismiss… https://t.co/KjtjU7AOQj
— Joy Villa (@Joy_Villa) November 8, 2016
The Daily Beast also unearthed a tweet from the same account that questioned Trump’s integrity, showing a side-by-side of models donning the Donald’s campaign T-shirts. She wrote, “Donald Trump’s campaign almost definitely photoshopped a merchandise model to look black.” The tweet included a link to a Huffington Post article.
Donald Trump's campaign almost definitely photoshopped a merchandise model to look black https://t.co/lLyJ736Sce # via blackvoices
— Joy Villa (@Joy_Villa) March 5, 2016
But early Monday morning, she was clinging to her identity as a pro-Trump advocate and the singer who wore the MAGA dress, teasing her appearance on Instagram with the caption, “I’ll be on @foxandfriends this morning, 6am est! I’m releasing a new video exclusive on Fox, and giving interview on my life so far! Here I am with amazing #SecretService and comedian #DanNainan at @trump_tower_offical ❤️????????????????????????♀️????????#maga #joyvilla #magadress#magamonroe #foxnews #breakingnews#foxandfriends #usa #nyc #trumptrain#love.”
I had a great time on @foxandfriends this AM in NYC. Wonderful to talk about expressing myself boldly and releasing my social experiment where I walk in nyc wearing my @realdonaldtrump gear! #maga #joyvilla #joyvillacom #joyvillastyle #JoyTribeNYC #joyinnyce #trumptrain #usa #foxandfriends #style #fashion #tv #singer
A post shared by Joy Villa???????? (@joyvilla) on Apr 10, 2017 at 6:55am PDT
Though the history and motives of her political affiliations remain somewhat vague, her religious background is clear. In fact, she’s “gone clear.” Villa is an outspoken Scientologist. She claims to have discovered the Church of Scientology during a “dark period” in her life and has been thriving ever since. She even recorded a video for the church in which she declares, “Scientology gave me tools to survive, tools to create, and that’s what I feel like — a creative person who is full of power, and there is no stopping me.”
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