Travel virtually and learn about other places and cultures

If you like honey, fear not the bees. -African Proverb

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Controversial Taylor Swift Wildest Dreams Africa Video

Why is Taylor Swift's Wildest Dreams Africa video considered controversial? Taylor Swift Wildest Dreams is set in colonial Africa in the 1950s and features almost no black Africans. Why was colonial Africa not a happy place for black Africans? Because blacks were considered a white man's burden.



Joseph Kahn, the director of Taylor Swift's new Wildest Dreams video based in Africa during the unashamedly racially prejudiced and bigoted 1950s era, defended the video following criticisms it portrays a misrepresented version of Africa. Kahn stated it "is not a video about colonialism but a love story on the set of a period film crew in Africa, 1950".
Colonial Africa
The scramble for Africa

Activists on social media criticized Taylor Swift's Wildest Dreams for glamorizing a "white colonial fantasy of Africa".

In a statement, Kahn denied that the video only includes white people.
However Kahn stated, "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."

Kahn also said, "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 screen time is Taylor and Scott.''

Writing for NPR Viviane Rutabingwa and James Kassaga Arinaitwe said they were "shocked" that in 2015 Swift, her record label and video production team "would think it was OK to film a video that presents a glamorous version of the white colonial fantasy of Africa".

They said the video "packages our continent as the backdrop for her romantic songs devoid of any African person or storyline, and she sets the video in a time when the people depicted by Swift and her co-stars killed, dehumanized and traumatized millions of Africans. That is beyond problematic."


Western European governments claimed control of almost all of Africa’s soil; the two largest colonial powers in Africa were France and Britain, dividing Africa as spoils of war. In the 1950s there were only three independent countries in Africa; Liberia, which had been founded by freed slaves and declared itself independent in 1847. Ethiopia, which was an ancient territory, and was never colonized by a European powers and Egypt, which achieved independence in 1922. The questions remains why in 2015, would Kahn, Taylor Swifts video director chose to glamorize a love story in 1950s Africa during colonialism when black Africans were considered a surplus population?

Share this page

Chic African Culture Featured Articles

Mental Discovery

The eye never forgets what the heart has seen - African Proverb

African Proverb

African Proverb
A tree without roots cannot survive the wind

Africa is waiting for you


Travel virtually and learn about other places and cultures