Swift was awarded the accolade at the event Thursday night, the eve of her 30th birthday. Her acceptance speech lasted more than 15 minutes as she spoke about witnessing institutionalized sexism throughout her career, unfair business practices and Braun, who bought her master recordings without her knowledge.
The Grammy-winning singer also called out Braun’s handful of supporters that spoke out in his favor when she initially wrote a social media post blasting him for purchasing her master recordings.
“The definition of the toxic male privilege in our industry is people saying ‘But he’s always been nice to me,’ when I’m raising valid concerns about artists owning their rights to own their music,” Swift said. “Of course he’s nice to you. If you’re in this room, he has something that he needs.”
The beef began after Swift discovered that Braun’s Ithaca Holdings owned her master recordings. It was announced in June that he acquired Big Machine Label Group, the label led by Scott Borchetta and home to Swift’s first six albums.
Braun, who manages Grammy winners including Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and Tori Kelly, wrote a lengthy post on social media that he’s made calls to have an open discussion with Swift and squash their differences,
“Thinking of my wife and children, my team and their families, I have gone through a range of emotions on how to deal with this. I write this now only after a deep breath and much reflection. I am certain there is no situation ever worth jeopardizing anyone’s safety,” Braun wrote at the time.
Despite his pleas, he says he’s been rejected by Swift. However, the singer said Thursday she hasn’t heard a word from him.
“None of these investors have ever bothered to contact me or my team directly to perform their due diligence on their investment,” she said. “They didn’t ask how I might feel about the owner of my art, the music I wrote, the photos of me, my handwriting, my album designs. Scooter never contacted me or my team to discuss it prior to the sell or even before it was announced.”
Swift, Alicia Keys and Billie Eilish were among the music artists who were recognized at the event, which celebrated the achievements of top female performers and executives in the music industry. Rosalia and Megan Thee Stallion, who were also honored, performed during the live stream show.
The event handed out a series of awards. Keys received an Impact award, Eilish snagged Woman of the Year, Brandi Carlile won Trailblazer award, Rosalia claimed the Rising Star honor, Megan Thee Stallion was recognized for being a Powerhouse and Nicki Minaj took home the Game Changer award.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.