People are criticizing Taylor Swift for her new music video — not because it’s annoying, but because they think it “presents a glamorous version of the white colonial fantasy of Africa.”
The video for her new single, “Wildest Dreams,” is meant to be 1950s-themed love story that uses Africa as a backdrop — but some are saying that the very fact that it takes place in Africa and features mainly white people means it’s actually a racist abomination.
“We are shocked to think that in 2015, Taylor Swift, her record label and her video production group would think it was OK to film a video that presents a glamorous version of the white colonial fantasy in Africa,” NPR’s Viviane Rutabingwa declared in a piece titled “Taylor Swift Is Dreaming of a Very White Africa.”
“She packages our continent as the backdrop for her romantic songs devoid of any African person or storyline, and she sets the video in a time when the people depicted by Swift and her co-stars killed, dehumanized and traumatized millions of Africans,” Rutabingwa continued. “That is beyond problematic.”
Lauren Duca of the Huffington Post had a similar take, saying the video “sure felt a lot like some harkening back to white colonialism.”
#share#And it wasn’t just them, either. In fact Nico Lang of the Daily Dot attacked Swift directly, saying that the video is “sadly indicative of its star’s own shoddy racial politics.”
Indeed, this isn’t the first time that Swift has been charged with racism. Her video for “Shake It Off” received similar criticism.
Despite all this compelling evidence, however, video director Joseph Khan insisted to the Daily Mail that the video was not intended to represent Swift’s desire to have white people take over Africa.
#related#“There is no political agenda in the video,” Khan said. “Our only goal was to tell a tragic love story in classic Hollywood iconography.”
The video was intended to be a tribute to films such as The African Queen and Out of Africa.
Khan also told the Mail that plenty of artists had shot their music videos in Africa — and that music videos were generally not expected to be also cultural-history lessons. He added that Taylor had “chosen to donate all of her proceeds from this video to the African Parks Foundation to preserve the endangered animals of the continent and support the economies of local African people.”