Director Joseph Kahn defends Taylor Swift’s music videos of whitewashing

September 3, 2015
A screenshot from Taylor Swift's latest music video for "Wildest Dreams" directed by Korean American Joseph Kahn (YouTube)

A screenshot from Taylor Swift’s latest music video for “Wildest Dreams” directed by Korean American Joseph Kahn (YouTube)

NEW YORK (AP) — The director of Taylor Swift’s new music video is defending the singer after some claimed she whitewashed her video based in Africa.

Korean American Joseph Kahn said that the video for “Wildest Dreams” includes black people and was produced by a black woman and edited by a black man.

“This is not a video about colonialism but a love story on the set of a period film crew in Africa, 1950,” Khan said in a statement Wednesday. “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 screentime is Taylor and (actor) Scott (Eastwood).”

Kahn also directed Swift’s “Blank Space” and “Bad Blood.”

“Wildest Dreams” portrays Swift as an actress who falls in love with her co-star on the set. Black actors are seen in some of the clips from a distance.

“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. …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,” Khan said.

“This video is set in the past by a crew set in the present and we are all proud of our work,” he added.

Swift is donating all of the proceeds from the “Wildest Dreams” video to the African Parks Foundation. The song is the fifth single from her best-selling “1989″ album.