In theory, Taylor Swift is one shining example of the American girl next door. She’s tall, pretty, talented and blonde. She also promotes girl power, animal rights, and fair wages for her fellow musicians. On paper, that’s fantastic! All of those issues are valid and important and definitely worthy of having attention brought to it. Taylor’s biggest problem, however, is that what you see on paper is overshadowed by her lack of education (often combined with gross insensitivity) surrounding problems her fellow musicians-of-colour experience.
Taylor was recently involved in a heated twitter dialogue with Nicki Minaj. Nicki expressed anger, frustration, and, most importantly, sadness at the lack of recognition surrounding some of her accomplishments and in general, being overlooked as an artist of colour. Taylor took it personally and went all holier-than-thou on Nicki. Nicki explained that it wasn’t about her (yes Taylor, there are bigger issues in the world than you). Taylor apologized for misunderstanding and misspeaking. The world forgave.
At last nights VMAs, Taylor released the video for her latest single, “Wildest Dreams.” The video, set on the African continent, has a grand total of zero (I repeat, zeroooo) people of colour in it. By releasing this video it shows a lack of consideration surrounding the issue of race and how it is perceived; and it also shows blatant disregard for the emotional and political struggle millions of African Americans face on a daily basis. African Americans aren’t just fighting for equal rights anymore Taylor; they are fighting for equal inclusion. And you created a video and forgot to include an entire race.
Taylor, you might be listening; but you are not paying attention. And that is wildly disappointing!