Earl Sweatshirt Slams Taylor Swift for “Inherently Offensive” Video, Director Responds

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 08.19.14 in News

Update: Director Mark Romanek, who previously worked on such video’s as Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” and Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt,” has responded. On Twitter yesterday, he wrote: “I’m sorry, but I have to respond. This is just utterly false. The entirety of #shakeitoff is massively inclusive.” Romanek clarified he was talking about Earl Sweartshirt in an interview with Vulture, saying:

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.

Earl Sweatshirt, not someone you want as an enemy in a war of words, has pointed his verbal firepower toward Taylor Swift. In a series of tweets last night, the Odd Future member acknowledged he hasn’t watched the Red superstar’s newly released “Shake It Off” video, which includes twerking, breakdancing and ballerinas. But he said that’s not necessary to determine the promotional clip for October 27 album 1989 is “offensive” and “harmful” through “perpetuating black stereotypes.”

The Doris rapper wrote:

The comments are only the latest accusations of insensitivity toward a pop video in recent months. Lily Allen’s “Hard Out Here” video and Sky Ferreira’s “I Blame Myself” video each faced accusations of racism. Robin Thicke‘s “Blurred Lines” video met with accusations of misogyny and condoning rape. Miley Cyrus‘s entire Bangerz promotion cycle has been hit with charges of minstrelsy and beyond.

Swift’s gestures toward hip-hop have come with mixed results, at best. In 2012, she paired with B.o.B. for the goopy duet “Both of Us.” She beatboxed with LL Cool J in December 2012 at a Grammy nominations concert. In 2009, she joined forces with T-Pain at the CMT Music Awards for a track titled “Thug Story.”

NME notes that Lena Dunham was among those enthusing about Swift’s Mark Romanek-directed video in a tweet, writing “dreams & fantasies.”

Watch the clip again below.