Director defends Taylor Swift’s Africa-filmed music video
(Associated Press) - September 3, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The director of Taylor Swift’s new music video is defending the singer after some claimed she whitewashed her video based in Africa.

Although Swift is donating all proceeds to the African Parks Foundation of America, critics have seized on the video as portraying a stereotyped colonial-era view of Africa.

“So thank you, Taylor Swift, for proving once again that African stereotypes are safe atop the pinnacle of American pop culture,” wrote Matt Carotenuto, who teaches African studies at New York state’s St. Lawrence University, in an article on Wednesday on Salon.com.

In another article by James Kaaga Arinaitwe and Viviane Rutabingwa, who have both lived and worked in several African countries, said Swift was not the first person to use the continent as a backdrop for romantic tales.

“We are shocked to think that in 2015, Taylor Swift, her record label and her video production group would think it was okay to film a video that presents a glamorous version of the white colonial fantasy of Africa,” they added.

Director Joseph Kahn said that the video for “Wildest Dreams” includes black people and was produced by a black woman and edited by a black man.

“This is not a video about colonialism but a love story on the set of a period film crew in Africa, 1950,” Khan said.

“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 screentime is Taylor and (actor) Scott (Eastwood).”

Kahn, who directed Swift’s “Blank Space” and “Bad Blood,” is Asian.

“Wildest Dreams” portrays Swift as an actress who falls in love with her co-star on the set. Black actors are seen in some of the clips from a distance.

“The reality is not only were there people of color in the video, but the key creatives who worked on this video are people of color. We cast and edited this video. We 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,” Khan said.

“This video is set in the past by a crew set in the present and we are all proud of our work,” he added.

 

 

ACIRC AFRICAN PARKS FOUNDATION OF AMERICA ALTHOUGH SWIFT BAD BLOOD BLANK SPACE DIRECTOR JOSEPH KAHN JAMES KAAGA ARINAITWE AND VIVIANE RUTABINGWA MATT CAROTENUTO NEW YORK TAYLOR SWIFT VIDEO
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