Director hits back at critics of Taylor Swift’s African video

The director of Taylor Swift’s latest music video responds to criticism about the lack of black people in the mini-film shot in Africa.

(BIG MACHINE RECORDS) – The director of Taylor Swift’s new music video set in Africa struck back on Wednesday (September 2) at mounting criticism of the scarcity of black people in the mini-film and its romanticized portrayal of the continent.

“Wildest Dreams,” a love story filmed against a backdrop of giraffes, lions, waterfalls and stunning sunsets, has been viewed more than 15 million times since it was released on Monday to accompany the American pop superstar’s latest single.

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.

Director Joseph Kahn said the “Wildest Dreams” video depicted a love story on the set of a period film in Africa in 1950.

Kahn said there were black Africans in the video in background shots but that it would have been “historically inaccurate to load the crew with more black actors as the video would have been accused of rewriting history.” He also noted that the video’s producer, Jil Hardin, and editor Chancler Haynes are both African-American.

“There is no political agenda in the video. Our only goal was to tell a tragic love story in classic Hollywood iconography,” Kahn said in a statement.

Swift, who has some 62 million Twitter followers and whose “1989” album has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide, has not responded to the criticism.