The director of Taylor Swift’s new “Shake It Off” video has fired back at criticism suggesting the promo promoted African-American stereotypes.
Scenes in which Swift appears alongside and underneath ‘twerking’ dancers, have upset some people, who claim she is simply poking fun at black culture.
Odd Future rapper Earl Sweatshirt went so far as to call the video “inherently offensive and ultimately harmful” in a social media post earlier this week.
He added, “It’s perpetuating black stereotypes to the same demographic of white girls who hide their prejudice by proclaiming their love of the culture.”
Now, director Mark Romanek is fighting back, stating, “I think, if Earl Sweatshirt was open-minded enough to take the four minutes to watch it, he might see what the larger, humanistic, and utterly color-blind message was intended to be.”
Romanek, who directed the stylized black and white video for Jay-Z’s “99 Problems,” tells Vulture, “I’m a fan of his and I think he’s a really interesting artist. But he stated clearly that he hadn’t seen the video and didn’t even intend to watch it. So, respectfully, that sort of invalidates his observations from the get-go.
“And it’s this one uninformed tweet that got reported on and rehashed, which started this whole ‘controversy’. We simply choose styles of dance that we thought would be popular and amusing and cast the best dancers that were presented to us without much regard to race or ethnicity.
“If you look at it carefully, it’s a massively inclusive piece. It’s very, very innocently and positively intentioned. And – let’s remember – it’s a satirical piece. It’s playing with a whole range of music-video tropes and cliches and stereotypes.”
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