Taylor Swift's new Wildest Dreams music video is being criticized for being "racist" and based on a "glamorous white colonial fantasy" of Africa.The video was revealed during the MTV VMA Awards coverage on Sudnay. Critics pointed out the cast of the colonial-themed video was mainly white people. One radio station editor said it portrayed the "rich white fantasies of Africa in the 1950s'. Only two black actors were cast and they were basically background extras. Director Joseph Khan insisted it's a love story and not about colonialism. In fact, the director of the video says the video cannot be racist because it had a "super hot" black producer.
Fyi I say we shot it in "Africa" because I shot it on more than one country. Botswanna and South Africa. Joseph Kahn (@JosephKahn) September 1, 2015
My long time producer Jil Hardin who did Power/Rangers, Blank Space, Wildest Dreams is a (super hot) black woman FYI http://t.co/S4Koj7XfsU Joseph Kahn (@JosephKahn) September 2, 2015This is what Jezebel's Madeleine Davies had to say about the music video:
Taylor Swifts Wildest Dreamscant be racist! Sure, its a highly stylized, white-washed celebration of African colonialism, butas the videos director so helpfully pointed outit also had black people working in production! This videos best friends are black! The appeal of an adventurous romance in a gorgeous setting with beautiful clothes, animals, and people is hard to deny. Then again, its also hard to deny the style of plantation-owning Scarlett OHara or the Hugo Boss-donning Nazis. The formal era of colonization in Africa (beginning in the 1870s and ending in the 1980s) that Swifts video inadvertently celebrates was indeed a time of great style, freedom, and opportunityjust so long as you happened to be wealthy and of European descent. If you werentwell, it was quite a different story.James Kassaga Arinaitwe, Global Health Corps fellow and public service worker from Uganda and Viviane Rutabingwa, wrote on NPR his perspective:
Here are some facts for Swift and her team: Colonialism was neither romantic nor beautiful. It was exploitative and brutal. The legacy of colonialism still lives quite loudly to this day. Scholars have argued that poor economic performance, weak property rights and tribal tensions across the continent can be traced to colonial strategies. So can other woes. In a place full of devastation and lawlessness, diseases spread like wildfire, conflict breaks out and dictators grab power.Dozens of people fired back at Taylor Swift and the music video's director on Twitter:
@JosephKahn like this makes it better. "Hey I know hot black people!" You're a person of color so this makes is worse actually. Peela ?? (@therealpeela) September 3, 2015
@JosephKahn oh so SHE is YOURS + your only descriptor is abt her looks? great--now you've proven both your racism + your sexism in one tweet Naomi Dann (@naomi_dann) September 3, 2015