Taylor Swift’s Director Joseph Kahn Responds To “Wildest Dreams” Video Backlash

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Taylor Swift‘s “Wildest Dreams” video — the fifth single off her 1989 album — is her most cinematic and extravagant one yet, but it has received a lot of backlash upon its premiere at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.

Various publications have criticized the clip for what they said to be portraying “white colonialism” and the lack of black actors in the production. Now, the video’s director Joseph Kahn has issued a statement in response to the controversy.

In the lengthy letter, Kahn explains it “is not a video about colonialism but a love story on the set of a period film crew in Africa, 1950.” He continues to say, “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.”

Along with the statement, the “Bad Blood” director also cracked a few jokes on social media in regards to the hate surrounding the “Wildest Dreams” video. “People have culture war fatigue. Everyone is angry at everything all the time. We’re just one long Delete It Fat,” he tweeted with a reference to the infamous Demi Lovato fan-fiction.

Read the statement in full, as well as a few tweets from Kahn, below.

“‘Wildest Dreams’ is a song about a relationship that was doomed, and the music video concept was that they were having a love affair on location away from their normal lives. This is not a video about colonialism but a love story on the set of a period film crew in Africa, 1950. 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. The video is based on classic Hollywood romances like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, as well as classic movies like The African Queen, Out of Africa and The English Patient, to name a few.

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

There have been many music videos depicting Africa. These videos have traditionally not been lessons in African history. Let’s not forget, Taylor has chosen to donate all of her proceeds from this video to the African Parks Foundation to preserve the endangered animals of the continent and support the economies of local African people.”

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