Set in an undisclosed African location, the video for the fifth single from '1989' has drawn criticism for its almost entirely white cast.
The African-themed video for Taylor Swift’s new single ‘Wildest Dreams’ has been denounced by some corners of the internet as being racially insensitive, portraying an “African colonial fantasy”.
The video, which was officially unveiled at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday (August 30th), has already attracted more than 15 million views. It was directed by Joseph Kahn, who previously directed two of Swift’s five singles so far from 1989 – ‘Blank Space’ and ‘Bad Blood’.
Taylor Swift's squad at the MTV VMAs
In the clip, Swift appears as a Liz Taylor-style actress on a fictional 1950s-style film set alongside the leading man Scott Eastwood (son of director and acting legend Clint). It was shot in an undisclosed location on the continent, and also features all manner of wild animals such as giraffes, zebras and lions, but it has attracted criticisms of cultural imperialism for its largely white cast.
Madeleine Davies, writing for the feminist blog Jezebel, described the tone of the video as being “Old Hollywood meets Out Of Africa”, and an article on the music and lifestyle blog Fader was titled “Taylor Swift Went to Africa to Film a Music Video and There’s Only White People in it”.
Lauren Duca of The Huffington Post wrote: “Instead of the cultural appropriation that has become almost status quo in today's pop music, Swift has opted for the bolder option of actually just embodying the political exploitation of a region and its people. It's brave, really. Almost as brave as moving sensuously in the vicinity of a real-life lion.”
For NPR in the US, bloggers Viviane Rutabingwa and James Kassaga Arinaitwe exclaimed: “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 of Africa.”
For her part, Swift is offering all proceeds and profits from the ‘Wildest Dreams’ video to the conservation efforts undertaken by the African Parks Foundation of America.
Decide for yourself by watching the ‘Wildest Dreams’ video here.
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