Taylor Swift releases first video off new album: does she have a race problem?

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Here ^^ is the new cover for Taylor Swift’s new album. She’s been teasing the crap out of her album launch for weeks now, and every radio station was promoting her “live announcement” on Yahoo about the album, blah, you get the idea. So, what did she announce? Her album is called 1989, the year of her birth, and the album is heavily influenced by the music of the 1980s, according to Swifty. Classic Guns ‘n Roses, I would hope. But think more like Toni Basil’s “Mickey”. Seriously. Swifty also released her first single off the album, a song called “Shake It Off” which reminds me a lot of “Mickey” (only “Mickey” is truly a classic, IMO). Here’s the video:

Florence + the Machine had a great single called “Shake It Out” which, I guess, was about overcoming the bulls—t of life and a tricky past by just shaking it out. Swifty’s single is more Swifty-specific. It’s about what people say about her and how haters are gonna hate and how she’s a player and we should stop saying that she can’t keep a man (even though every man dumps her over the phone). Anyway, the video is cute-ish. But she has the same problem that Lily Allen had – in an attempt to make some sort of “meta” point about the proliferation of music videos showing black women shaking their asses, the “meta” is lost and it just seems like Swifty is objectifying women of color, just the same as all those rap videos. It’s not just the “male gaze” – it’s the “white gaze” too, you know? Oh, and Twitter doesn’t like the fact that Swifty dressed up like old-school Run DMC or something.

Her album will be out October 29th. So, we’ve got like two months full of Swifty shilling coming up. Pace yourselves.

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Photos courtesy of Twitter, Fame/Flynet.

 

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191 Responses to “Taylor Swift releases first video off new album: does she have a race problem?”

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  1. Sammy says:

    I think the quality of the video is great but the content sucks. It’s sloppy and I’m tired of white pop stars putting twerking black women as novelty items in their video.

    To give her credit she did use a lot of diverse people in all the other dances.

  2. Birdie says:

    That what my first thought. Lily Allen already did this.

  3. Franny Days says:

    Ehh see I watched the video and thought it was cute and didn’t think about anything regarding race until I saw the headlines. I think it was just her portraying a different genre, as she portrayed several others in her video. I think she was trying to show that she doesn’t really fit into any genre and she’s just going to shake or whatever. I really can’t say it wasn’t offensive because it might have offended others, however I think any offense she might have made was unintentional.

    • Rice says:

      As a black woman, I have to agree. The video appears harmless. It just seems like a silly, bubble-gum pop video that is typical Swifty. One thing though, I really thought that was Lady Gaga in the scenario where she wore the blonde wig and huge visor-shade thing. Overall it’s not a song that I’d play on a loop.

      • Observer says:

        Well, as a black woman I disagree (imagine that! Two black women with two different opinions ;) ) I’m just sick of the hypersexualisation of the black female body tbh.
        We are so much more than that. I don’t even have ONE black girlfriend who twerks! We didn’t even know what it was until it hit the mainstream and we are in our early twenties.
        You may not realize this but it is damaging to see certain images in the media constantly, instead of a fair balanced portrayal white women get to have.
        It is border line propaganda (remember, propaganda isn’t always as visible to the eye, usually it takes decades to see how f’d up it was).
        Study the media images of black women and there you will find your answer.

      • kri says:

        @Observer…while I agree with your point of view, I am not so sure “white women” get a fair , balanced out point of view either. Women in general are oversexualized in the media, entertainment world.

      • An says:

        @Kri
        I don’t think that’s completely true. Media is disgustingly patriarchal and women are constantly objectified in media, true, BUT white women tend to be portrayed with differing favorable and positive qualities in media (girl next door, intelligent, sporty, girly girl, business woman, rich, mom, friend, girlfriend etc.) whereas black woman are always “ratched”, “hood” etc. and then there are the Asians and Native Americans that are completely shut out.

      • QQ says:

        Observer… Piggybacking off of what you said it pains me to but Earl Sweatshirt had also another aside to that (very valid!) observation you made!:

        “Haven’t watched the Taylor Swift video and I don’t need to watch it to tell you that it’s inherently offensive and ultimately harmful,” Sweatshirt wrote. “Perpetuating black stereotypes to the same demographic of white girls who hide their prejudice by proclaiming their love of the culture.”

        “For instance, those of you who are afraid of black people but love that in 2014 it’s ok for you to be trill or twerk or say n—a,” the rapper continued.”

      • Monksolo says:

        If you think this “hypersexualises the black female body” you should check out Nicki Minaj’s latest video.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      IMO, I don’t think there is really a problem, because all of the twerkers / hip hop dancers weren’t one color. There was a lot of variety among the dancers (which tends to be true of the dancing community), except the ballerinas.

      I liked this video, because it’s really about the different genres of dance, and how Swifty doesn’t fit into any of them. The modern dance section cracked me up.

      • Dani2 says:

        +1 Tiffany, I just think it’s a really fun video and I felt like she was making fun of herself throughout the video. I’m glad she’s able to do that because she was really bad at that even as recently as two years ago, she took herself way too seriously. I like the song and the video, Taylor is my guilty pleasure lol.

      • Mrs. Darcy says:

        I agree she wasn’t trying to do a Lily Allen/make a statement here. I do think she tries hard to oversell her goofiness/clumsiness but it’s better than the alternative (Miley Cyrus). The song itself isn’t her best at all though.

  4. Anna says:

    The song isn’t that bad but is it just me or does it seem like it’s actually 10 minutes long? I swear 3 minutes had played already when really it had only been 1 minute.

    I liked the video until I saw the twerking parts and her “rapping”. People pointed out that the only parts to include more than one black woman were in the rap/twerking parts and otherwise there was the “token black girl” in the rest of the video. I have to say im tired of these pop artists who think twerking is some new thing and want to throw it in their video and somewhat commodify black women and in some cases WOC. They aren’t props stop treating them that way. Twerking has been around for so long and the people in these videos aren’t even doing it properly anyway so I don’t even think we should classify it as twerking.

    Earl Sweatshirt (the rapper) had really interesting tweets about Taylor’s video and this whole culture of pop artists now twerking and being “ratchet”.

  5. wooley says:

    these celebrities need to get over people not liking them.

  6. Lottie says:

    I dont listen to TS. Ever. At all. But this is light and catchy. Not too much to think about. As for the video, yes, she is cringeworthy (except the scenes where shes wearing all black). Other than that, the ‘twerking’ seems current, what the kids are doing these days? Im not cool, or current, so correct me if I am wrong.

    • We Are All Made of Stars says:

      Oh. My. God. That. Was. Horrific. The “song” somehow managed to dream the impossible dream of being more awful than “We Are Never” (I refuse to type out the whole name,) and IT’S TAYLOR SWIFT WITH HER FACE UNDER THE REAR ENDS OF TWERKING BLACK WOMEN. Wasn’t she the one doing the shocked prim ‘n proper princess routine over Miley at the VMAs? Oh, how desperation to stay relevant changes thee.

      And no, twerking is neither new nor current. It was obliterated as a form of street dancing by you-know-who at the VMAs. This video is just flat-out embarrassing.

  7. maybeiamcrazy says:

    I can’t see the racism. Yes, hip hop/r&b segment of the video is majorly black but it is the way it is.These types of dances and music are a bigger part of the black culture than the white culture. And TS proceeds to dress like a ballet after her knock-off Run DMC attire.I thought Lily Allen video was unintentionally a bit racist but this one, I just can’t see.

    • SpookySpooks says:

      I agree. The video is funny, I don’t see the racism. There seem to be a lot of white twerking women in there, no?
      I also don’t think Lily was racist, she had women of all races in her video and she said they focused on one women because she was the best dancer, not because she was black.

      • Josefa says:

        My thoughts exactly. The whole point of Taylor’s video was her navigating through different styles and not really fitting into anyone. The hip hop segment was just another one, just like she didn’t fit in the ballet segment. Lily’s video could’ve been seen as racist at first glance for me, but after she gave the explanation I totally got it.

        The problem I have with PC culture is I think people generally look way too deep into crap that doesn’t deserve so much analysis, Taylor Swift music videos being a perfect example.

      • Mmhmm says:

        Agree peeps. I think no matter what she did, people would say it’s racist. If she had used more whites, people would be all up in arms about ‘offending black culture!’ I see a variety in the video and I wouldn’t have thought anything about race if I didn’t read the dumb headline. They’re having fun, and I’m really liking Taylor and how she’s sticking to a certain pop style for this album. It’s a smart move to shake things up, and it’s also going to make her even more popular when she does return to country.

    • V4Real says:

      Oh please, I’m no Swifty fan or apologist but I agree with you guys. There’s no racism in that video. There are Blacks in a variety of roles. So what, the main twerker was a Black girl,could be because she’s better at it or like my guy friends say, you need a booty to twerk. I don’t see anyone complaining about only White people towards the end of the video doing the oh so popular White people dance as they call it.

      People are much too sensitive over nothing.

      • TX says:

        +a million. It’s a cute video. she positions HERSELF as the “other” in a several styles of dance which include dancers of every color.

      • I Choose Me says:

        I wouldn’t say people are much too sensitive over nothing V4Real. I agree sometimes the reaction can be knee-jerk but we can’t stop having the conversation as for too long things that are insidiously racist have been overlooked or downplayed.

        My reaction to this video is that it’s cute. I actually liked it and I have NOT been a Swifty fan in the past. I don’t only see black women twerking. I saw them engaged in other types of roles too, just as you said. I honestly don’t see anything racist in this video.

      • Grant says:

        I agree, V4Real. People have gotten WAY too sensitive. Some of these threads are totally ridiculous. This video is harmless.

      • maybeiamcrazy says:

        @I Choose Me I agree with you. People shouldn’t stay quiet against racism. Although i watch it from afar,everything that happened/is happening in Ferguson is horrible and it hurts me that in 21. century, we are still not even close to being “there”. But that “incident” is called racist and TS video which is harmless is called racist in the same week. I don’t know… We keep using “racist” word and I feel like the word is losing its shock value. And it is not a good thing at all.

      • Josefa says:

        @maybeimreal

        This so much. I think PC culture is a great thing in general, but there’s aspects of it that bother me and this is one of them. And, mind you, I’m a bisexual latin woman. With all the hate crimes, rape, and discriminatory laws out there I feel complaining about a 3:40 music video everyone will forget in 2 months is silly. I’m more concerned about my country still not allowing us to have therapeutic abortion (yes, in 2014) than a random rapper calling me a “hoe”. And, the sad part is… it seems I’m kinda alone in this among my peers.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        +1 Josefa.

        This so much: ” I’m more concerned about my country still not allowing us to have therapeutic abortion (yes, in 2014) than a random rapper calling me a “hoe”.

      • K says:

        @Josefa

        Just because you, as a bisexual latin woman, don’t see what’s wrong with institutionalized racism and can’t see the point in the concern over the oversexualizing and stereotyping of black women in media and think it’s “silly” doesn’t make it a discussion that isn’t worth having. Believe it or not but media does dictate how people view people that are different from them and the portrayel of people of color in mainstream media is troublesome to say the least.

        And I’m more concerned that as a black person I can’t walk down the street without fearing the very people that have sworn to protect me – yes, in 2014.

      • Josefa says:

        @K
        And that’s a totally valid point of view, too. But I just think there’s stuff out there that’s more urgent to resolve. We can both agree the Ferguson incident is a far worse and more relevant situation than whatever Swifty does, right?

        I’m not saying the topic isn’t worthy of discussion, it’d be contradictory of me to say that while commenting here. I worded that wrong. But, as maybeimreal pointed out, I feel such strong words as “racist” and “misogyny” are being trivialized by having them used to describe stuff like music video, when there’s other horrible things out there I find far more worthy of the label.

      • K says:

        There are underlying issues with this that you’re not grasping that are majorly important to the way black people are viewed on a daily basis (a novelty, objects etc.) by people who may not interact outside of their racial group but I’m not going to keep spelling it out to someone who refuses to acknowledge them.

    • Diana B says:

      I kinda hate swifty’s music but I agree with you. The video was harmless fun. She was portraying different dances and music. It was innocent and fun.

    • Nance says:

      I don’t see the racism too. Beaucoup de bruit pour rien…

  8. Kali says:

    It might just be me not “getting it” but I thought she was quite clearly performing as other people and lifting their “shtick” (ie the twerking backup dancers etc. etc.) – I’m definitely seeing Miley, Gaga and Fergie in there (at a minimum). She’s kinda broken my brain with the ballet dancing bit though… :P

  9. Nashvillegirl says:

    My 10 y.o. has it on repeat and is already listening to it obsessively.

  10. shannon says:

    Meh. I don’t get the hate for her. She ‘can’t keep a man’? Hell, that statement is so archaic. She’s young, nice to her fans, I would assume still finding herself. Plus, there’s white dancers in there, too.

  11. Leaflet says:

    I don’t see a big deal. I’m black and am not offended in the least bit. Dances are made for everyone to repeat. I would have an issue with it if she objectified women or herself as a woman All of the time. Even though I thought the butt shaking was tacky and excessive in the video and the point she was getting across, I think she could have had an equally nice video with that omitted. Here’s my overall point: because of the business that they are in, they sale sex in some sort of way. However, if she objectified herself or them all of the time in dance like let’s say: Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Brittney Spears and so on, putting on the littlest clothes that she can and most of her songs produced are all about sex , then I’m going to think that her image isn’t a good one because of the “over objectification of women” overall. I have no problem with her dressing more of a black urban street chic from the 80′s. It’s fashion, so no big deal. I actually thought it was cute.

  12. Caity says:

    So when Miley Cyrus twerks she’s appropriating black culture.
    When Taylor has a black woman twerk that’s racist.
    What’s the PC way to twerk if you’re white?

    Or this one of those things like saying the n-word, you can only do it (say it) if you’re black?

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I would like to respectfully ask you a serious question. Do you ever read the comments on here explaining why this type of behavior is offensive? I mean appropriating black (or any other) culture or white people saying the N word. If so, do you disagree with the explanations, and if you do, why? I ask because people on here go to so much thought and trouble to answer remarks like yours time after time after time, but then the next time it comes up, someone like you just says it again. No explanation for why you think it’s fine or why you disagree or that you understand the other side. So do you read the comments? Do you have any basis for your opinion other than you should be able to do and say whatever you want without any regard for the feelings of others?

      • Renee says:

        omg, thank you GNAT. I CAN’T with some of these comments when the discussion deals with issues of race or cultural appropriation. I also want to tell you that I specifically come to the comments on a daily basis to find out what you have to say because I laugh my ass off almost every time…except for when you are being serious. Like yesterday, when you wanted to tell your cousin that she should be grateful that she wasn’t dropping her off to work in a coal mine or at jail instead of college??? Priceless. Thanks for bringing mirth to my mornings :)

      • Dame Snarkweek says:

        Way to go, Gnatty! Respectfully on point, as usual :)

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        GNATSTER! Showing these rookies how it’s done.

      • Dani2 says:

        @GNAT 👏 A+ comment. The best example of certain people just dismissing the answers to why something is offensive is the whole debate about the Native American headdress. I’ve seen commenters on this site explain in depth (and respectfully) why it’s not something you should partake in with nonchalance but you still get people complaining that people are too PC.

      • Mrs McCubbins says:

        I live in a free, democratic, multicultural society. I enjoy being able to express myself as I choose. If someone is offended by that it’s their choice. If a person wants to be censored for every single thing perhaps they would enjoy living in a place like North Korea. I watched a Scottish Parade. There was an Asian wearing a kilt, playing the bagpipes. She enjoys the Scottish culture and wants to . participate. Where’s the problem?

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Thank you everyone but Mrs McCubbins, who is an idiot. Oh I’m sorry, Mrs. McCubbins, I was just expressing myself as I choose. If you’re offended, that’s your choice. If you don’t like it, perhaps you should go live in North Korea.

      • Mrs McCubbins says:

        Goodnames, I’m going to choose to not be offended by you calling me a name and just consider the source. Your calling me a name was intended to be derogatory versus having an adult discussion and sharing a difference of opinion in a respectful manner. Shame on you!

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Mrs.McCubbins,
        I can only have an adult discussion with another adult. Adults have the ability to empathize with other people and care whose feelings they hurt, even if they’re curbed in their (according to you) democratic right to say racist things and behave in ways that offend other races and cultures. That doesn’t matter to you as long as you re allowed to do whatever you like, because Mrs.McCubbins is the center of the universe, and that’s all that matters. Just like a child.

        And for the record, ever since I disagreed with you on the Kate Middleton thread, after which I apologized for my poor choice of words, you have had some snippy little remark to make about nearly every one of my posts. Grow up, Mrs.McCubbins. And back off.

      • Mrs McCubbins says:

        Goodnames, you have every right to disagree with me and I really have no idea what Kate thread you are blathering on about but whatever. You are missing my point.
        I appreciate the difference in another woman’s life experience. I place value on that plus our cultural differences. If I value that and I wish to participate where is the harm? Why does the color of my skin matter. I dont see the racism. If the other woman chooses to see it as being racist that’s her choice. If you are doing it to insult or belittle that person then that becomes another issue.
        Take a deep breath Goodnames I was responding to Caity, not you.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Mrs.McCubbins
        The harm is in the fact that the woman is TELLING you, on this site, in the media, all over the world, time and time and time again that she doesn’t see your appropriation of her culture as “appreciation.” She doesn’t see it as your placing “value” on the Native American culture when you choose to wear a sacred Native American headdress as a cute hat. The fact that YOU, who have never been in her shoes, don’t see why she finds it offensive is irrelevant. She DOES find it offensive, and she has told you so and explained why so many times on this site I can’t begin to count. But you don’t care. You want to do what you want to do regardless of the legitimate feelings of other people. And that makes you insensitive, uninformed and self-centered. It perpetuates the misunderstanding and resentment between cultures. It makes a bad situation worse. It replaces caring, listening and understanding with callous disregard and disrespect. That’s the harm. Not that I expect you to care.

      • G. says:

        This comment gives me faith in humanity.
        Most people I know act the same way, thinking they can do whatever they want and cry how oppressed they are because they can’t call someone the n-word. Ugh. Thank you for laying it down for us. It’s not PC culture, it’s choosing to live life without hurting people whenever possible.

      • maggie says:

        GNAT, it comes across as though you don’t care what the explanation is, you don’t like that someone disagrees with you.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Maggie, I’m not sure anyone likes to be disagreed with especially, myself included. And I can see how it might come across that way in this particular thread. But if you read my posts and comments on a regular basis, I honestly think that you would see that your statement isn’t true. I often admit I’m wrong, or that I misunderstood something and I often rethink what I said if someone has a well thought out argument to the contrary. I have admitted many times that I had to change my mind because I didn’t think through my original response.
        In this case, I’m angry because I find Mrs.mcCubbin’s point of view selfish and ignorant, and people like her to be a real problem in the world. People who believe they are so entitled to say and do whatever they want that they can’t hear the voices of other human beings saying “please stop, you’re words or behavior is hurting me, it makes me feel belittled and angry.” It either goes over their heads or it just doesn’t matter to them. And you’re right – I don’t like that and find the explanation to be incomprehensible and totally screwed up in priorities. As a white person, it embarasses me and makes me ashamed that other white people are exactly as uncaring, cruel and entitled as other cultures and races say they are. That they haven’t grown at all and don’t plan to as long as it inconveniences them or curbs their pleasure in slightest. No matter who it hurts.
        So you can believe what you want about me, but I hope you will give thought to the reasons behind my arguments, and the much better ones from other posters on here about this topic.

    • pretty says:

      oh poor you. how oppressed you are for not being able to say the N word because you’re not black, for not knowing what is a Politically Correct way for you poor white woman to twerk! i’m so sorry, man, you are sooo oppressed!

  13. V4Real says:

    So I’m guessing she’s no longer country. I also see she’s trying to up her sexy game.

  14. Barrett says:

    I just met a stylist who worked with her who said she was horrible to work with, just a 100% snobby, creep.

  15. Lucy2 says:

    I watched the whole thing (it does seem longer than it is) and from what I could see, there is diversity with all of the dancers in every scene but one. I also just re-watched part of Lily Allen’s- that seemed vastly more exploitative. Taylor’s just seems more about making fun of herself in comparison with the great dancers backing her up.
    At first viewing I don’t see as much of an issue, but am genuinely curious to hear everyone’s opinion on it.

    • Lee says:

      I agree, on my first view I thought an argument could even be made that she’s putting all of the dances on the same level by showing ballet, contemporary, hip hop, twerking etc and she’s contrasting the skill of the actual dancers with her own lack of skill. Like she’s respecting them all as valid dance forms even though she is incapable of doing them properly herself. I am definitely curious to see other people’s opinions too though since I’m sure there is a side of it I can’t see or haven’t thought of.

  16. als says:

    It helps a lot that Taylor is drop dead gorgeous, especially in the black outfit.
    I love Florence’s “Shake it out” and that song is so above and beyond this one.
    Actually there is no comparison between Florence and Taylor, not in terms of voice or composition, Florence + the Machine are amazing.

    • Amy Tennant says:

      I was surprised to see just how gorgeous she was in the black. Any of the “edgier” looks in fact. I think she does herself a disservice by wearing twee pastels all the time.

    • We Are All Made of Stars says:

      I never understand people who think she is pretty, let alone gorgeous… Why? Is it just because she’s skinny, white, and blonde? I think she has the squintiest, most fugnacious face and the body of a locust. I don’t get the beauty angle with her, I swear it.

      • Dani2 says:

        Lol wow, I know you don’t like her but “fugnacious”, “the body of a locust”, c’mon now, that’s mean and unnecessary. Taylor is skinny, but so are lots of other women and there’s nothing locust-like about that.

      • An says:

        “Fugnacious” is my new favorite word! Hilarious and agree, I don’t see it either.

      • We Are All Made of Stars says:

        Do you know how there will be two women with the exact same body and one of them will be called “curvaceous” and “a bombshell” whereas the other is seen as “dumpy” and “frumpy,” and it all comes down to how they carry themselves? It’s the same with everybody no matter how you look.

        Back when that Samantha Brick lady was making the rounds saying how hard it was for her to be beautiful and everyone was laughing at her, somebody made a really good observation about her. They said that Brick ticked off enough of the boxes of what society considers beautiful-white, blonde/blue, tall, probably skinny in her youth- that she received a measure of privilege and admiration for “being beautiful” even though she kinda wasn’t. That in a nutshell to me is Taylor Swift.

  17. Rachel says:

    The poor girl is so uncoordinated. She is not even trying to be a bad dancer. Otherwise I like the song.

  18. amanda says:

    music videos are irrelevant, and the ONLY reason it made it on a site like this is BECAUSE Swift and her team chose to add a few seconds of darker-skinned women twerking.

    Nobody would care about or talk about the video if there wasn’t SOMETHING like that in it.
    I don’t think it was a great idea, but I think it served it’s purpose. Now people are talking about the video, the album, Swift…

    bam.

  19. Eileen says:

    I watched the video it was funny-she was spoofing all the various styles of music/dance and it showed her attempting to be like the others and failing at it and being awkward while doing so-I think her message is she’s herself can’t be anyone different so be yourself-I am far from a Swifty crazed person

  20. jinni says:

    If this is an ode to the 80′s why even have twerking in it. That dance wasn’t around, she should have done the cabbage patch or running man or moonwalk.

    Anyway I don’t see racism just a done to death video concept for a really bland, repetitive, forgettable, and unoriginal song. No one will be able to top Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” as the best I don’t give a damn what the media/public think of me song.

  21. Jess says:

    People really need to ease up on calling others racist! Their was nothing racist about the video.

  22. Steph says:

    The song and music seem to be targeted to the tween and preteen group as well as their helicopter parents and grandmothers…..this target audience has made Swift a lot of money. I personally thought the song was toooooo pop and too cliche. I have never been a Swift fan….she is just too manufactured for my tastes.

  23. Adrien says:

    Oh Taylor, I love you but why are you turning into Avril Lavigne? I miss Lady Gaga. I forgive you, Gaga.

  24. goldie_two says:

    Something no one commented so far: this video was directed by Mark Romanek! Do you need money, man? Will you lose your house? Are you trying to tell us something? This makes zero sense if you look at the people he normally works with. I don’t even like all the artists but it’s pretty clear they’re not vanilla types like Taylor. You might try to argue that about U2 or even Coldplay but there’s no denying they have an interesting edge when it comes to their videos.

    I was just wondering why bother hiring a creative director to do the same shit video she’s done about 400 times already. She missed a great chance to come up with something cool and unexpected that could reshape her image. Instead, she went for more of the same thing but actually managed to make it all waaay more problematic (by mocking another culture and using people of color as props to her performance).

    That being said, despite the song being quite catchy and light, you gotta say her songwriting isnt getting any better. Which is a shame because i honestly thought she was maturing into a promising artist with Red. I hope this single isn’t a great reflection of the rest of the album because if it is…damn. I just can’t with this girl anymore. Not that i was ever her stan or anything but i could listen to a song or two without wanting to stab my own eyeballs.

    Also: doesnt the album cover remind you a lot of those Andy Warhol’s celebrity polaroid shots? The Studio 54 ones?

    • Allie says:

      I agree. As much as I dislike, there were some songs off her Red album that I liked. I was hoping for more of the same from this but I can’t handle how dumb this song is. How on earth can people listen to this and say she is a talented song writer is beyond me.

      • goldie_two says:

        I think the infuriating thing about Taylor is that she occasionally gives us flashes of hope that she might be growing up as a person and artist, only to flush it all down the toilet the next minute.

        After Red I admit i was curious to see what came next, because she seemed to be channelling her energy to something positive. You listen to Red, Starlight, Treacherous, Everything Has Changed and Begin Again and you think she has a gift, even though she’s not the next Joni Mitchell as she fancies herself.

        But at least its clear her outlook on love, life and even sex was more”young adult” and not just “overgrown high school kid”. Being her age, i could relate to her music a tiny bit more than in the past, even though her genre is not really part of my personal taste.

        Then you see her pap walks in NYC, you listen to this new crap and see the video and you just shake your head thinking: geez, all that little progress sure is gone by now.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Cover reminds me of Vampire Weekend’s Contra cover

  25. OriginallyBlue says:

    The song and video are terrible. I see she’s trying to be “quirky” or whatever, but it falls flat.

  26. Adrien says:

    Wrong timing of its release, Ferguson and all. No appropriation in the vid, just terrible music.

  27. cleveland girl says:

    I think this video is more about showing off her awesome body then anything else. Cute.

  28. EEV says:

    Eh, I don’t see this as racist at all. She’s employing dancers, and it looks like they were chosen because they’re good at what they do, not because they’re a certain colour. On the flip side, wouldn’t she have *more* of a race problem if ALL the dancers were white, black, etc.? I don’t deny there are some offensive videos out there, but this really doesn’t feel like one of them.

  29. joy says:

    So she’s done with country? Like is this the final nail in that coffin?

  30. ang says:

    The only thing this video confirms is that she can’t dance

  31. snowflake says:

    reaching with the racist allegations, i don’t see it. i liked the video.

  32. G. says:

    What is it with white performers and objectifying black women? It’s not cool. It’s insulting.

    I’m already not a fan, Swifty. Please stop. It’s not cute.

  33. poppy says:

    it is official.
    this shark has been jumped.

  34. Tulip says:

    Blah and Ick. The dancers are very talented at least.

  35. Franziska says:

    I’m definitely not a Swifty fan by any means, but I thought this video was really endearing and cute. and catching. DAMN IT SWIFTY.

    plus now I want to cut off my hair, wear black all the time, and get those Zara shoes.

  36. Thaisajs says:

    It doesn’t seem to me like she’s objectifying anyone in this video. It’s clearly an attempt by Swifty to make fun of the fact that she can’t dance — no matter what the genre. There are people of all colors in the various dance sequences, from the ballet and modern dance parts to the twerking bit.

    I liked the song although I can see why others wouldn’t. It just seems like a fun, harmless little video to me.

  37. O.K.P says:

    I’m black and I like swifty. Think she is harmless. I like the song,its catchy but I hope the rest of the album is as good as or better than Red. And as for people saying she is objectifying black women I would like to disagree. Nobody forced the lady to twerk. And I think she was trying to take a break from her usual routine and have some fun. But pls Taylor needs to work on her dance moves, lol. I think the video was cute.

  38. Scri says:

    Huh. For such a songwriter (and she is), I find it interesting that to me this screams KATY PERRY.

    Not production-wise or anything (Katy will attempt most things, sadly), but the vocal line. It sounds like a Max Martin/Shellback song written FOR Katy, or her voice. You know how Florence or Lily Allen or even Rihanna songs (though mostly she doesn’t write them) sound fitted to their rhythm, style of delivery or ‘voice’ as an artist? Yeah. A lot of the melody sounds like Katy Perry should be singing it.

    Another example is Selena Gomez’s Come and Get It – CLEARLY written with Rihanna in mind, though passed-over pop songs are an essay of their own.

  39. Jordan says:

    L O N G E S T 4 minutes of mt life! Seriously, I feel a year older.

    I need to shake it off, lol.

  40. Dre says:

    There is no racism in this video. It’s Taylor Swift for God’s sake. Unclench, people.

  41. littlestar says:

    The song is terrible, the video is cheesy, but Swift looks beautiful in it.

    I am just sick of women in general being objectified in music videos. I don’t care what ethnicity you are, why must women’s bodies constantly be used to sell crappy *ss music videos? The music should stand for itself, but I guess when you are putting out sub-par music like this Shake It Off song, you have to use something that’s considered “shocking” to sell it….. :S

    • TheOneandOnlyOnly says:

      Yes, swifty is not nearly as talented as her fans think – she has a large production/management team behind her. SHe doesn’t come up with this stuff out of her pretty little head.
      Here’s a contrast – most of the musicians at Woodstock were about swifty’s age, but there is no comparison between the talent and maturity and live straight up musicianship; In two generations things have really gone south.
      My son’s friend works for a national video company and was in Nashville last year filming some country crap award show, and was in swifty’s presence – said she was a bitch, and spent hours rehearsing just one song, and without enhancements she cannot sing live. Just an observation.
      Doesn’t the beginning of that crappy song sound like that Hey Nickie, Nickie song from the early 80s.
      This is an example of pop drivel. Give me the young irish rockers the strypes.

  42. JenniferJustice says:

    I heard this on the radio for the first time yesterday – not knowing who it was. I kinda liked it. When they said after that is Swifty, I was so ashamed.

  43. Jayna says:

    I saw this in Rolling Stone yesterday where she discusses the video.

    “The video finds Swift adopting a series of personas, including cheerleader, hip-hop B-girl and Lady Gaga-esque performance artist. “All I think about are metaphors and cats,” Swift said on the livestream. “And life can be greatly reflected in your willingness to dance.”

    “It was so much fun. I woke up every day of that shoot and couldn’t wait to get to set,” Swift tells Rolling Stone about the video shoot. “We had twerking, which was so funny. Those girls were trying to teach me how, and it’s just never gonna happen. I tried really hard. They were teaching me what they do, and there’s like a science to it – they’re like digging their heels into the floor without you seeing their legs move, but their butts’ moving. It’s mind-blowing to me. They were explaining it all to me, and it’s so above my comprehension of how to understand your body.”

    “As for the video’s concept, which finds Swift unable to master the art of moshing and ballet among other dance moves, Swift says, “It takes a long time to figure out who you are and where you fit in in the world. I’m putting myself in all these awkward situations where the dancers are incredible, and I’m having fun with it, but not fitting in. They’re doing the most beautiful things, and I’m being embarrassingly bad at it. It shows you to keep doing you, keep being you, keep trying to figure out where you fit in in the world, and eventually you will.”

  44. Ari says:

    There is no issue here. She is making fun of her inability to dance and showing tons of fantastic dancers and styles of dance. ~signed, captain obvious

    • LevelHeaded says:

      Sure. Its cute little video. But, a white woman crawling between the legs a black woman and gawking at her body isn’t cute, funny, or in good taste. It perpetuates an idea that black women’s bodies aren’t their own, and that black women are meant to be enjoyed physically by others. Its no better than Donald Sterling bringing people in the Clippers locker room and saying “look at those black bodies.” She is treating that faceless dancer like a sideshow. I’m sure she wasn’t trying to make a racial statement, she was probably just being her cute self laughing about how she can’t dance, but she highlighted a big problem in our entertainment industry. From Miley to Taylor to Iggy, white artists are putting black bodies on display for their own gain and its troublesome.

  45. lunchcoma says:

    I guess it’s not as bad as a Katy Perry video, but this still isn’t great on the race front, and it’s all just so juvenile. With Taylor’s latest attempts to change her image, I’d assumed she’d be going for more mature music and lyrics that still related to her life but were a bit more subtle. Instead, she’s dressing up like a cheerleader, talking about haters, using awkward racial imagery when almost anything else would have been better, and pronouncing that she doesn’t care what people think of her when she very obviously cares a great deal and has made changes in response to criticism.

  46. Black Veronica Lake says:

    My opinion may not make this page but here it goes. I’m sick of white and non-white people period using black people for attention. Short, dumpy fake booty Kim started it, than Miley, than Iggy, and now Taylor. However, its a double edged sword. Black people need to STOP participating in these losers lives, and videos etc.. So, its really both parties fault. If you really love black people you would show the ones that act like me!! Who love old movies, I’ve been married to the same man for years, no kids, I have naturally long hair and I work out!! Why always show the same type of black people!!??

    • Patty says:

      That’s my issue too. And it’s something that for whatever reason people have a hard time understanding. If you are white variations of your culture can be found everywhere. You can see a range of behaviors, class, etc. Just look at reality TV. White representation runs the gamut from Honey Boo Boo to The Duggars, to The OC to Duck Dynasty. You get a wide range and a multifaceted view. Most non white people don’t get that. Their representation is a series of the worst stereotypes associated with their ethnic group / culture. And when that is all that is shown it does impact how other groups view them and how they view themselves.

      So yeah, I’m not impressed that Taylor decided to dress up like a rapper or whatever and then have mostly (what appeared to be) black women shaking their asses and then of course all of the ballerinas had to be white. Because you know non white people don’t do stuff like that.

  47. Phie says:

    Here is a thought, maybe they auditioned a bunch of female twerkers and that woman was the best. Which I am assuming is similar to the rest of the dancers portrayed in this video.
    SOMETIMES things are as innocent as they seem.

  48. Gossip.is.for.Fools says:

    i find it funny (not really) every time i hear kaiiser and the other bitchiest/racist gossips (lainey, Dodai Stewart) talking about race…when they themselves are all bitter old on the racist hags.

  49. mg says:

    Love the video and would enjoy seeing it again. The song is catchy (tho’ lyrically very simple) and I suspect people will like it’s positive, upbeat tone. Normally TS isn’t on my radar, so I’m not biased toward liking anything she does, but she did a nice job here.

  50. Hissyfit says:

    The song sucks but the video is cute and funny! She’s having too much fun and she’s very pretty!

  51. Fue McCormick says:

    The song sucks but, damn, Taylor Swift is a pretty woman and she’s got a good sense of humor. (I love the cat picture on her shirt at the barre.)

  52. allheavens says:

    I don’t understand why people take her seriously as a musician. She’s just blah. Her music is completely disposable but I guess that’s what tweens want.

    Also, Catherine Deneuve is beautiful, Taylor is pretty.

    http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m61wswFJAE1qma4ejo1_1280.jpg

    Let’s keep it real.

  53. CK says:

    I hate it. I hate this song and Red was on of my favorite albums. Hell, I still rock out to 22 and Trouble when I hear them. This sounds like the song you release after you put off out the hits of the album and your team is just milking the other songs. Also, the title irks me when attached to this weak song. You can’t call you song “Shake it Off” when Mariah Carey has a bonafide hit w/ the same name. No, you just can’t. Mariah may be …. Mariah, but she left her soul on that record and this barely competes. Talk about the unflattering comparisons this is gonna create. Please let the rest of “1989″ be better much better than this.

  54. lisa says:

    The video was hilarious and a send up of Taylor’s rep as an awful dancer. Loved it and the song is fun.

  55. Bread and Circuses says:

    Okay, I pretty much loved that. She looked great, but she was also relatably adorkable in every single shot,

    That song’s going to stick in my brain and get played everywhere for the next four months, but oh well. That’s par for the course for a new Taylor Swift song.

    Definitely not a country or country-adjacent singer anymore though, is she?

  56. TOPgirl says:

    What’s wrong with having black women shake their bum? Nothing. Stop putting race in the factor. Each group of people have qualities that are needed..and black women happen to have the nice bum. Who put black women’s bums on the map? Sir Mix-A-Lot!

  57. Xantha says:

    I do think that this song and video further shows something I’ve suspected for a while when it comes to Taylor Swift: That she has a superiority complex that doesn’t lie that far from the surface.

    Look at the songs she has where she wants a guy: You Belong with Me, Speak Now, etc. in which she belittles the women who are actually with these men. Those women are sluts/bitches and Taylor’s neither of those so of course she’s better for the men! And when she hates the guys she has to triumph over them because she’s flawless and they’re cheating losers! Yeah she’ll concede ocassionally to being wrong at times (I knew you were Trouble, Back to December) but there’s far more songs about her being done wrong than about her hurting someone. Even in a song that’s not about love “Mean” she still has to be better than the critic(who is a total LOSER AmIRite!?) even while being mean herself. Her “openness” about her flaws feel like something a person writing a Mary Sue character would come up with: A flaw that ultimately does not hurt her because it helps make her seem “relateable”

    And now to this video and song and how she emphasizes her superiority. The song is basically her triumphing over her haters because she’s totally having way more fun than they are cause all they do is hate! And the video itself is pretty halfass the more I think about it, the more annoyed I get when I realized that all of the dances shown require practice and skill. Breakdancers don’t just wake up and automatically know how to spin on their heads. Ballerinas don’t just walk on stage and can perform Swan Lake without ever practicing. Of course she wouldn’t be any good at those styles of dancing because she’s never decide to dedicate her life to these dance forms. As for the black women twerkers: Another triumph for her because if you look closely, you’ll realize she’s not actually twerking. Therefore her Prim and Proper image remains in tact: she gets to sell sex without actually being sexual. And as I black woman I’m pretty annoyed about that. If she’s gonna incorporate twerking, at least twerk yourself and not leave it to the prop dancers. She just took the Lily Allen path instead of the Miley path.

    And that wraps up this book.

    • Observer says:

      “As for the black women twerkers: Another triumph for her because if you look closely, you’ll realize she’s not actually twerking. Therefore her Prim and Proper image remains in tact: she gets to sell sex without actually being sexual.”

      This. So much.

  58. JMS says:

    So the moral of this story? Don’t hire black dancers for your videos. You’ll avoid trouble that way. Yay! What a great message!

    • Xantha says:

      No, the moral is don’t use black dancers in ways that are known to be racist. And don’t act like you’re superior to them either while using black culture to further your own career. Taylor might be on the milder side of this issue but how she used the black female twerkers is a problem.

  59. rudy says:

    I hate this video. Watched it today. It is well made. But…something about the ALL white ballet dancers vs. the hip hop vs. the modern dancers was very off putting. I don’t think it is racist just ignorant and dumb.

    I shoot dance performances. It is my job. Many ballet dancers are white but DEFINITELY not all. There are ballet dancers of all ethnicities. Taylor overplayed the stereotype which is very annoying in this day and age. There were so many other ways she could have shot this video.

  60. ShamfromCanada says:

    The video has great production quality, and they definitely flat ironed the heck out of her hair, since I think it’s naturally curly. She looks great.

    Anyway, seeing both sides to this post. It’s a cute video, it has the theme of inclusivity, kind of like Pharrells happy. Everyone’s happy, dancing, shout outs to all shapes, sizes, and nationalities. Maybe like a gap commercial.

    But it have to agree the scene with the obvious black girl shaking, by her self on it’s more cringeworthy then offensive. I think people wouldn’t mention it, if she was partaking in the twerking too.. But it looks like she’s observing more than participating, in the twerking. That’s why that “gaze” is felt. It would be nice to see some color (anything) in the ballet line too.

    But anyway; can’t complain, she’s a sweetie, and knowing her it was completely. I blame the video director :D

    This songs gonna be on heavy rotation; I’m trying to like it.

    Btw, I love this site, it’s bookmarked, I read this like the newspaper. Plus the comments are so educated and thought out. Commenters are great too. :)

  61. Black Veronica Lake says:

    @Top girl. Some of us have more than just a nice butt! I really hurt so many feeling when people meet me. Because people are stuck on thinking that’s all we have. I’ve reprogrammed so many stereotypes. I’m sick of people acting like they have not met beautiful, intelligent married black women. You are only hurting yourself by lying to yourself. My point is their are beautiful people with various features in every race.

  62. Blythe says:

    People just love being offended by the smallest things. Let’s say all the twerking dancers were white. That would’ve caused outrage, too. “Oh my God! Taylor Swift knows twerking originated in the black community, but she featured no black dancers! How could she? What a racist!” I don’t see a culture appropriation case at all here. Like someone said above, all I see is Taylor making fun of herself.

  63. G says:

    She’s just adorable. Get mad at Nikki Minaj, Miley and JLO if you want to call out women using twerking women in videos.

  64. Marianne says:

    I could see the problem if the only black dancers were in the “twerking” section, but she has actually has a good diversity of people in her video doing all sorts of dances. I really dont see the controversy.

  65. Lola says:

    I am not going to see this video again … it was already painful enough to see it once, but I did see twerking (is that how you write it?) of women of more than one skin tone … I saw all skin tones… so, have no clue about the why behind the headline.

  66. BadAssCompass says:

    I’ve just seen it once and got an impression she was shading Lily Allen at some point, but maybe I just imagined that. I can’t make up my mind about her, her princessy ways are annoying me, and here she’s like all goofy and cute but what I’m suspecting is that she’s some kind of entertaining robot and that she’ll either crack later in life or indeed prove to be first fully functional AI :D
    here’s a hilarious piece about her pop star perfection, http://www.brobible.com/entertainment/article/taylor-swift-apartment-pizza/