Taylor Swift, as per usual, has generated a lot of attention with her latest single ‘Wildest Dreams,’ released two days ago. Her video has attracted an astounding fifteen million views in that time.
Normally, news surrounding Taylor Swift is generally positive. Some people may not like her music, with particular comments directed to her vocal range, but it’s hard to argue with her business acumen and her ability to be a king-maker, if you will. People she decides to shower with her praise often are catapulted into the international spotlight.
Her ‘Wildest Dreams’ video, however, has generated some negative publicity. In particular, her depiction of a glamorous, rugged life in colonial Africa romanticizes a period of brutal suppression of the local population by white people. Indeed, not a single black person is found in the video, which was shot partly in Africa.
Without a doubt, a fairly light review of colonial Africa will supply ample evidence of just how brutal things were there. This recent episode of Radiolab is one shocking example of how the life Swift depicts in her video was only possible because of the sheer brutality of the colonial overlords.
However, I don’t necessarily cast aspersions at Taylor Swift and the people who made the ‘Wildest Dreams’ video, as I do believe some good can come from it. Namely, people will, rather than defending Swift categorically, edify themselves of that time period, which is not something we typically learn about in American history classes.