As our lord and savior Taylor Swift prophesied, the haters are going to hate, hate, hate. The thing is, I don’t think the pop goddess expected the haters to hate her newest music video so much.
Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” music video drew controversy last week because it was set and filmed in Africa but only featured white actors. NPR even accused the video of “romanticized colonialism.”
Many online publications and bloggers debated whether or not the video was, in fact, racist. Many, like the video’s director Joseph Khan, claimed the video was a period piece based on a 1950 film crew filming a movie in Africa.
“We collectively decided it would have been historically inaccurate to load the crew with more black actors, as the video would have been accused of rewriting history,” Khan said in a statement.
I personally don’t know if the video should be considered racist, but I do know that Swift is an idiot for getting herself into this situation.
I spent most of my life hating Swift. Pop-country crossover just wasn’t my thing and I could’ve cared less about the teardrops on her guitar. But late last year, all hell broke loose. Swift released “1989,” her first album of 100 percent pop songs and it was then that I saw the light. I suddenly had a 5.0 GPA, my crops started to flourish and my grandpa was raised from the dead. The album was too good to deny and I couldn’t stay in the closet any more. I loved Taylor Swift’s music.
My love for “1989” led me to make an overly long, 225-second Snapchat story at her world tour, play “Welcome to New York” on an obnoxious loop for an entire plane ride on my way to the Big Apple last winter and scream a loud “yaaasss” every time a Swift song came on in a club.
It’s my new-found love of Swift that makes me so disappointed in her acting like a raging idiot. Swift was originally accused of racism with her “Shake it Off” video for “perpetuating and mimicking racial stereotypes.” I remember shaking my head in disappointment at the video because, just months before, Lily Allen faced the same criticism for her “Hard Out Here” video.
Artists like Swift and Allen aren’t alone though. Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Avril Lavigne have all been accused of cultural appropriation. You would think it would be easy for white women to make music videos that didn’t enrage people, but apparently it’s a job requirement. I understand they’re all pressured to constantly reinvent themselves, but there’re many ways to do that without being culturally appropriative or insensitive.
With two music videos accused of racism, either Swift and her team are blatantly ignorant or they’re purposely doing this to garner attention. I don’t think they intended to hurt anyone, but there’s no excuse for an entire team to produce a very expensive video like this one and not be able to step back and think about the possibility that it could be taken the wrong way.
She needs to get a grip, start observing her own actions and stick to making music videos like “Blank Space” where all she had to do to impress the world is walk down some stairs in a lace gown.