On Tuesday (Aug. 19), Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt took to Twitter to let fans everywhere know he wasn’t feeling the scheme of Taylor Swift’s new video “Shake It Off,” calling it “inherently offensive” based on the suggestive stereotypical undertones. The visuals for her 1989 debut single show Swift playing dress up in several outfits including a ballerina, Lady Gaga-esque attire and of course booty shorts where her and a group of culturally diverse dancers begin to twerk. Now the director of the music video, Mark Romanek, has stepped up to defend the premise of his music video and questions how the rapper could make such accusations without even watching the video first.
According to the Vulture report, Romanek calls the visuals “innocently and positively intentioned” and claims they were following the trends of popular styles of dance. The video is meant to be fun, he nor Taylor Swift meant any harm.
“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.” 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. 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.”
“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.”