Critics: Taylor Swift's Music Video Glamorizes 'White Colonial Fantasy of Africa'
Taylor Swift's latest music video lacks racial diversity and glamorizes "the white colonial fantasy of Africa," critics say.
"Wildest Dreams," which was shot in California and Africa, is a love story that features a mainly white cast, with the exception of two black actors who play soldiers.
NPR was among several media outlets that published criticism of the new video, charging Swift and her team with using Africa as the backdrop of a music video that’s “devoid of any African person or storyline.”
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.
Swift's music is entertaining for many. She should absolutely be able to use any location as a backdrop. But 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. That is beyond problematic.
Director Joseph Kahn pushed back against allegations of racism and colonialism, arguing that the video depicts a love affair on a film set and that it does not have a political agenda. He added that people of color produced, directed and edited the video, and that they "collectively decided it would have been historically inaccurate to load the crew with more black actors, as the video would have been accused of rewriting history."
"This video is set in the past by a crew set in the present and we are all proud of our work," he said.
Watch the video below.