New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to the 2021 Met Gala red carpet Monday (Sept. 13), with a message for all Americans, but while some supported her message, others did not.
Dressed in a design by Brooklyn-based Brother Vellies, Ocasio-Cortez donned the phrase “Tax the Rich” in red letters on the white gown as she ascended the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The lawmaker, whose district includes parts of New York’s Bronx and Queens boroughs, completed her Met Gala debut with her trademark gold hoops and a single pink flower pinned into her hair bun.
Speaking with reporters at the annual event, Ocasio-Cortez explained why she decided to make a statement at an event attended by many of Hollywood’s highest profile, and wealthiest, stars.
"When we talk about supporting working families and when we talk about having a fair tax code, oftentimes this conversation is happening among working and middle class people (on) the senate floor,” she said, according to CNN. "I think it's time we bring all classes into the conversation.”
She was joined at the Met by Brother Vellies’ creative director Aurora James, who is famous for spearheading the 15% Pledge initiative which urges retailers and corporations to commit 15 percent of their purchasing power to supporting Black-owned businesses.
Her fashion statement became a trending topic, with many Googling the phrase shortly afterward. It’s something she addressed on Instagram.
“The time is now for childcare, healthcare, and climate action for all. Tax the Rich,” she captioned her post featuring a picture of her and James from Monday night. “And yes, BEFORE anybody starts wilding out - NYC elected officials are regularly invited to and attend the Met due to our responsibilities in overseeing our city’s cultural institutions that serve the public. I was one of several in attendance.”
However, many on social media were critical of Ocasio-Cortez’s attendance at the $35,000 per ticket event. Political commentator Ana Navarro-Cardenas was one of those criticizing the congresswoman for her choice.
“Going to an event for super-rich with “tax the rich” written on your ass, won’t change a thing,” she wrote in a Twitter message.
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/MG21/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue