I adore a good conspiracy theory as much as the next paranoiac. And, at first, there does seem to be an interesting coincidence going on.
Yes, I can confirm that 22-year-old country-rock-power-pop star Taylor Swift will receive a prestigious award Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.
And, of course, Swift also happens to have become tight buddies with Patrick Schwarzenegger, son of actor Arnold and Kennedy-by-blood Maria Shriver. In fact the singer and the 18-year-old model spent Independence Day at the Kennedy compound in Cape Cod.
So are the two facts connected? Here's what I dug up:
The first thing you should know is that this a award is a big deal. Awarded to big people. Who have done very, very big things. Like, say, rule the free world. The honor, called the Ripple of Hope Award, highlights "leaders of the international business, entertainment, and activist communities who demonstrate commitment to social change," according to a statement from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.
And now...Taylor Swift.
But before you start making accusations of nepotism—or whatever it is when someone spends July 4 at your family compound and then gets your award—know this: When I reached out to the foundation, the person who spoke to me hadn't heard of the Patrick Schwarzenegger-Taylor Swift friendship at all.
And one other thing you should know: Swift really has, apparently, earned this award.
"What strikes me most about Taylor is the work she does away from the spotlight—her leadership in the movement for arts education, her generosity to communities devastated by natural disaster, and especially the compassion she's shown as a proud defender against bullying and LGBTI discrimination," Kennedy Center President Kerry Kennedy said in a statement. "As my father, Robert Kennedy, said to the students of South Africa in 1966, our world's hope rests with our youth.
"As a young person, Taylor has already accomplished so much, and I look forward to watching all that she will do to help build a brighter, more peaceful world for us all."
Maybe the Kennedy folks are just trying to reach out to a younger demographic?