The video which co-stars Scott Eastwood (Actor/son of Clint Eastwood) is based on the concept of 2 movie stars on the set of a movie in 1950s Africa reminiscent of Hollywood classics including Out of Africa and The English Patient.
An op-ed piece on NPR chides the video – “Taylor Swift is dressed as a colonial-era woman on African soil. With just a few exceptions, the cast in the video — the actors playing her boyfriend and a movie director and his staff — all appear to be white.
We are shocked to think that in 2015, Taylor Swift, her record label and her video production group would think it was OK to film a video that presents a glamorous version of the white colonial fantasy of Africa.”
Joseph Kahn (who happens to be Asian-American), the director of the video has come out to defend his work by saying;
This is not a video about colonialism but a love story on the set of a period film crew in Africa,1950.
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 Scott.
We cast and edited this video. We collectively decided it would have been historicially inaccurate to load the crew with more black actors as the video would have been accused of rewriting history. This video is set in the past by a crew set in the present and we are all proud of our work.
Anyway, you watch and decide for yourself!