Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off' Video Director Hits Back at Racist Claims
By Antoinette Bueno
Not everyone is a big fan of Taylor Swift's catchy new single "Shake It Off."
The music video in particular has caused some controversy, most notably, Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt taking to Twitter to express his opinion that Swift dressed in B-girl attire and dancing alongside twerking women is "inherently offensive and ultimately harmful" because it's "perpetuating black stereotypes."
But in a recent interview with Vulture, the music video's director Mark Romanek defended the final product.
"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," he said. "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 clichés and stereotypes."
Romanek, who's directed such memorable music videos as Fiona Apple's "Criminal" and Johnny Cash's "Hurt," also called the experience working with Swift "fun and easy."
"She's very clear about what she likes and doesn't like, and isn't afraid to communicate it," he shared. "She wanted to make sure that the message of the video came through clearly. This notion that not fitting in is more than okay. I wouldn't say I had to push her much."
"I'm a fan of his and I think he's a really interesting artist. (I posted a Vine to one of his tracks once.) 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,'" he said. " … 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."