Is Taylor Swift racist?
Erm, did Taylor Swift not get the memo? Hasn’t anybody told her that racism is so not cool in 2015? Apparently not, because the wholesome singer is getting a lot of backlash for her latest music video, Wildest Dreams.
When T-Swizzle, 25, strutted down the MTV VMA red carpet last week, she thought she was being clever by premiering her new track, but sadly the debut has backfired and left the singer and her fans with a bad taste in their mouths. The video, which we have to say is visually pretty entertaining, has been blasted by critics for “romanticizing white colonialism”, and for using Africa as a setting for a story that’s all about white people.
Africans Get Cut
The video shows Taylor as an early 20th century film star who falls head over heels in love with her married co-star, played the devastatingly handsome Scott Eastwood. The characters are shooting a movie in Africa surrounded by all the stereotypical ideals of the continent such as giraffes and lions, but oddly there’s no black people. Team Ahlan! are not anthropologists, but we’re pretty sure Africa has a lot of black people living there, so why exactly did Swifty have so few of them on camera?
Swift’s Old School Racism
Naturally people have reacted to the lack of diversity with The DailyDot writing: “An homage to a love triangle about white colonialists is going to present some, uh, challenges. The video wants to have its old-school Hollywood romance but ends up eating some old-school Hollywood racism, too.” News site NPR blasted: “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.” Some fans were also quick to point out that this isn’t the first time Swift has crossed the racial line. “Taylor’s been accused of ‘accidental racism’ in her work. After her video for Shake It Off debuted last August, rapper Earl Sweatshirt accused the singer of perpetuating black stereotypes,” said one music lover.
Colonialism isn’t Cool
Joseph Kahn, who directed the video, defended his art to Entertain This! and said: “This is not a video about colonialism but a love story on the set of a period film crew in Africa, 1950. There are black Africans in the video in a number of shots, but I rarely cut to crew faces outside of the director as the vast majority of screen time is Taylor and Scott. There’s no political agenda in the video. Our only goal was to tell a tragic love story in classic Hollywood iconography.” We’re pretty sure that never in Taylor’s wildest dreams did she ever think she’d be called a racist again, and yet here we are. In her defence, though, some of her best friends are black… like, erm… Kanye West?