Taylor Swift’s (Racist) Video For “Wildest Dreams” Isn’t Racist Because The Producer Is “Super Hot” And “Black,” Says Director
If you happened to catch Taylor Swift’s newest colonial daydream of a video for “Wildest Dreams” during the VMAs pre-show, you probably noticed that, hey, it’s kind of strange that a video shot in Africa featured only white people. But don’t worry! According to director Joseph Kahn, the producer is Black! She’s “super-hot,” too, though what that has to do with anything, I don’t know. Regardless, doesn’t that make you feel better?
In a piece for NPR, James Kassaga Arinaitw and Viviane Rutabingwa rightfully called out the audacious fuckery of a video shot in Africa in 2015 that glamorizes the brutal history of colonialism — a period that was bloody and terrible for the oppressed, and chill as hell for the oppressors.
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.
The video is a loving, beautifully shot tribute to the glories of colonial Africa. Swift, doing her best Elizabeth Taylor, swirls through wide vistas next to giraffes, while dressed in great wisps of chiffon couture. There is a red lip, there are flirty eyes. There are sunsets and white tents set against the brilliant blue skies and expansive terrain. It’s all very Ralph Lauren, very Meryl Streep in “Out Of Africa.” It’s also glamorizing a time that was shitty for a lot of people.
Arinaitw and Rutabingwa had some words for the video’s production team:
Why be encumbered with the African people or show them in your “Wildest Dreams” video when they are busy mutilating each other and their genitals?
The bigger problem is that many Americans have never had an African history lesson. So we don’t totally blame Taylor Swift, but the people behind the video should have done a little more research. They should have wondered how Africans would react.
Director Joseph Kahn caught wind of the criticism and fired back on Twitter, as one does these days:
Yep! That “super hot” black woman completely erases the fact that your video could’ve used a teensy bit more research. That’s exactly how this works. Good job!