Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off' Music Video Is "Utterly Color-Blind," Says Director

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The man behind Taylor Swift's new "Shake It Off" music video is shaking off any claims that his latest work is racist.

Though critics, including Odd Future rapper Earl Sweatshirt, have called out the four-minute clip for cultural appropriation, director Mark Romanek insists that the so-called "inherently offensive and ultimately harmful" video isn't that controversial at all.

"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," Romanek explains to Vulture. "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."

"This basic idea was all Taylor's," he says. "We met and she told me that she wanted to make a sort of paean to the awkward ones, the 'uncool' kids that are actually cooler than the 'cool' kids. She said she wanted to shoot all these styles of dance and then be the individualist dork in the midst of these established genres."

taylor swift shake it off gif racist

According to Romanek, who has also directed Jay Z's "Picasso Baby" and Johnny Cash's "Hurt," the message is not about race, but rather "this goofy, stylized clowning around" of "real kids just being themselves."

He continues, "In a way, the whole video is just a setup for that moment. And this is why, 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."



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  • dzomama

    They’ve got an Ohio State University professor on Huffing ton Post video saying she put on Taylor’s Shake It video, hoping to find something to obsess about. This is a supposedly educated black person. Looking to be offending, hoping to be offended, wanting to be offended. I’m kinda offended here, people. Guess I just need to “Shake It Off”

  • RudeAsx Di'Nero
    RudeAsx Di'Nero

    I'm BLACK And HONESTLY This Video Is FARRRR From Being Racist !

  • Melissa Casteel
    Melissa Casteel

    The dancers chose to be in the video..No one forced them . Obviously they didn't think it was racist.Get over it.

  • Doug Thompson
    Doug Thompson

    Is Taylor trying to keep up with Slut Cyrus? Glad she is gone from country

  • tbone101

    My god this is racist... how dare her let white girls twirk in her video! That'd be like letting black people do ballet or something crazy like that.

  • tbone101

    Mr. Sweatshirt an many people calling this racist don't even seem the to know the difference between stereotyping...... and racism anymore. Just because you are offended by something that might appear to classify a race or group of people in a way that you don't agree with is not racist. People of any color dancing in a music video.... is not racism. Hurting people due to their race is racism. Killing people because of their race is racism. Holding back individuals or entire groups of people due to their race is racism. Black and white women twirling in a white woman's music video.... is not racism, even if you find it offensive. It simply means that you are offended by this, huge difference.

  • Frederick Checkupsky
    Frederick Checkupsky

    But it's ok to release rap songs that talk about killing white people

  • xolodnyj

    There is nothing there for Taylor Swift to "Shake Off". I'm black and there is NOTHING racist about this video. People like Earl Sweatshirt somehow believe that if a white person dances, its racist. By over using the word "racist" it waters down things that is actually racist. Only thing wrong with the video, in my humored opinion, is that Taylor Swift is doing the "booty shake", but she has no booty to shake.

  • Thomas Spencer
    Thomas Spencer

    Some idiot is trying to do it again with the racist crap!!! Give it a rest!!!!

  • Jamie Croft
    Jamie Croft

    What is she doing.....this video is like she's trying too hard to fit in with the mainstream - looks nasty - reminds me of a beginning (tamer) case of Miley Cyrus to put it mildly. The booties twerking and crawling between women's legs as their 'dancing' - get real Taylor. Your 'Wonderstruck' video had a lot more class and sounded so much better than this garbage.

  • Red Wine
    Red Wine

    So -- as the lyrics say -- "players gonna play, haters gonna hate, breakers gonna break, and fakers gonna fake...I'm just gonna shake it off". I imagine Taylor will be just fine. And anyone who actually WATCHES the video will "get it" -- unless they are simply closed-minded and prejudiced, that is.

  • Michael Bazinet
    Michael Bazinet

    Oops, I can't type worth a dam. Meant to say.. I say twerk it if ya got it!

  • Larry Camp
    Larry Camp

    I don't see any racism here. After all racism goes both ways regardless of popular beliefs. BTW I am a 61 year old white man who has only had 2 blacks or AA men I could call friends in my life. Chill people!_Larry from TX :)

  • Michael Bazinet
    Michael Bazinet

    Why is it that PEOPLE, yes I said PEOPLE not Black, Asian, Latino, White, Native or what ever you want to claim as your "race." Why is it that only your culture or my culture or their culture can do or say certain things yet we all are "TRYING" to get along. I could give a rat's behind who twerk'd or twirled or who repeated something you said. If it is offensive for you to hear it from someone, no matter what the color of their skin, THEN DON'T YOU SAY IT! This culture thing is warped. You can't do that cause it offends my culture? Freedom of what ever is for everyone. As long as it doesn't harm. If someone was to shake their behind the same way someone else did it and the other person didn't offend you, YOUR THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM. All you hear is "We demand to be equal but to hell with you if you if you accept me and act like me!" Really?! Who really gives a crap, I think that there is a whole lot more out there to get riled up about. I saw Twerk it if ya got it!