Is Taylor Swift's New Music Video Racist?
Reactions are running the gamut.
T-Swift may have made peace with Nicki Minaj, but there's still more controversy on the horizon. Dropped three days ago, “Wildest Dreams” portrays a 40s-era actress filming on location in Africa. There are plenty of giraffes, lions, and shots of the sprawling landscape, but what's conspicuously missing from a video filmed in Africa are any non-white people, whatsoever.
While it's clear that Taylor was trying to evoke old Hollywood glamour, her effort is ultimately tone deaf. NPR's Viviane Rutabingwa and James Kassanga Arinaitwe put it best when they described the video as a "white colonial fantasy,” adding that "to those of us from the continent who had parents or grandparents who lived through colonialism (and it can be argued in some cases are still living through it), this nostalgia that privileged white people have for colonial Africa is awkwardly confusing to say the least and offensive to say the most."
On the positive side, all proceeds from “Wildest Dreams” will be donated to wild animal conservation efforts through the African Parks Foundation of America. It's meant to be a philanthropic effort, something that shows that Taylor didn't just go to Africa to film with the animals there, but to help them too.
Whether intentional or not, Taylor's video harkens back to a time when Africa was nothing more than an exotic landscape for privileged white people to use however they pleased. The outcome is uncomfortable to watch for anyone who has even a rudimentary understanding of the history of colonialism.
Agree or disagree? Watch "Wildest Dreams" for yourself below.
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