In an article titled "Taylor Swift Is Dreaming Of A Very White Africa" for NPR, the writer says that they are in "shock" that they would take this approach to their video, which was shot in Africa and California and mainly featured wild animals and white actors.
"We are shocked to think that in 2015, Taylor Swift, her record label and her video production group would think it was OK to film a video that presents a glamorous version of the white colonial fantasy of Africa," the article states. "Of course, this is not the first time that white people have romanticized colonialism: See Louis Vuitton's 2014 campaign, Ernest Hemingway's Snows of Kilimanjaro, the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia and of course Karen Blixen's memoir Out of Africa."
Now, director Joseph Kahn ("Blank Space," "Bad Blood") is speaking out and defending the clip, which premiered during the VMA Pre-Show. He released a lengthy statement and took to Twitter to say that "everyone is angry at everything all the time."
"'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," Kahn said in a statement. "This is not a video about colonialism but a love story on the set of a period film crew in Africa, 1950."
The video, which marks Taylor's fourth off of 1989, features her starring alongside actor Scott Eastwood, as they have an intense love affair while on a movie set, but it falls apart once they return to their normal lives. Kahn, who was inspired by classic Hollywood films, said that there are "black Africans in the video in a number of shots" but kept the focus on the main characters.
"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," he said. "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."
Editor Chancler Haynes took to Twitter to defend the video as well, saying that they "made a story about love."
Joseph ended the statement by reiterating the fact that Taylor is donating all of her proceeds from the video to "preserve the endangered animals of the continent and support the economies of local African people."