As soon as it was released at the MTV VMAs, Taylor Swift’s new music video “Wildest Dreams” drew criticism for its highly romanticized depictions of white colonialism.
The video is set on a 1950s African movie shoot in which Swift portrays an actress who falls in love with her “tall and handsome” co-star, played by Scott Eastwood.
While people have appreciated director Joseph Kahn’s work as far as the steamy chemistry between the two leads is concerned, his casting choice has caused a lot of outrage. With the exception of a few characters, everyone in Wildest Dreams, including Swift’s boyfriend, the movie director and his staff, appear to be white and critics are not happy about it.
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“For members of the ‘Lion King’ generation like Swift, African landscapes continue to embody this rich tapestry of flora and fauna, where Africans only occupy the periphery of complex portrayals of lions, elephants and their white saviors,” wrote Slate’s Matt Carotenuto.
"The singer debuted her vid for 'Wildest Dreams' at the VMAs Sunday night, and even the most casual observer would have noticed that -- for a clip that's set in Africa -- it's about as white as a Sunday morning farmer's market," commented Nico Lang of The Daily Dot. "The video wants to have its old-school Hollywood romance but ends up eating some old-school Hollywood racism, too."
For Lauren Duca of the Huffington Post, the video “sure felt a lot like some harkening back to white colonialism.”
Kahn, however, doesn’t agree, arguing the video was inspired by such classic movie romances as "The African Queen" and "Out of Africa."
"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 Scott," he said in a prepared statement.
"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. I am Asian American, the producer Jil Hardin is an African American woman, and the editor Chancler Haynes is an African American man," Kahn added.
You can watch the complete music video in the link below: