Director of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” Video Responds to Earl Sweatshirt


On Monday, Odd Future rapper Earl Sweatshirt took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the latest video from Taylor Swift, calling it “inherently offensive.” The song “Shake It Off,” takes a more pop route than previous work from Swift and the resulting video—directed by Mark Romanek—showcases a number of dance variations from ballet to twerking. The contention with the video stemmed from the race of the dancers and the claim that they were perpetuating black stereotypes—most of those doing ballet were white and most of those twerking were black.

Today, Romanek has responded to Sweatshirt’s reaction in an interview with Vulture. Read the excerpt below.

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.

I find the structure of it quite moving actually. Because after all this goofy, stylized clowning around, the appearance of these real kids just being themselves is tremendously affecting to me. In a way, the whole video is just a setup for that moment. 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.


  • DoubleStandard

    good thing Earl has never said anything “inherently offensive” on a track regarding white women. oh wait…

  •!/PancakeMcKennz pancakemckennz

    I really don’t see how a video of different types of dancing is satirical of video tropes and cliches, per se. If it’s supposed to be satirical, it’s done in the laziest way. I mean, Marianas Trench’s “Pop 101″ video is way more of an accurate representation of the aforementioned concept.

    And with that said, while I do understand how people can view what was depicted as problematic, and respect those feelings, I really did not get an “appropriation” vibe from the scene as some people have argued. It’s such a benign video in comparison to the issues that people had with the Lily Allen “Hard Out Here” video and lyrics or some of the things from Katy Perry’s “This Is How We Do” video.

  • mac

    shots fired

  • IkeTurnerHitsHard

    Im a huge fan of Earl but I gotta hop on the Romanek train on this one. No need to get all salty over something you “guesstimate” is gonna be bad when you haven’t given it a chance. And if this is offensive in whatever way he’s looking at it, Minaj’s “Anaconda” video isn’t exactly an homage of sorts. I’m not a Swift fan but I was able to suck it up and watch the video. It was kind of funny and I don’t hear the ballerina community getting all angry..

  • jon c.


  • Kendall Walls

    Agreed with you up until you brought Katy in. Like when have we ever seen a video where the white chick was more trashy then the black girl in the background. If that’s not post-racial idk what is.

  • Meyer Lansky
  • TheStreisandEffect

    Let’s see what else this moral luminary Earl Sweatshirt has to say..

    “Stop screaming bitch, you shouldn’t be that alarmed, when Big Lips is in the attic armed, with an addicts arm, Earl puts the ass in assassin, Puts the pieces of decomposing bodies in plastic, Puts them in a pan and mixes it up with scat, then gobbles it like fat black bitches and cafish…”

    “Without a doubt, a surefire way to get your mother fucked, ask her for a couple bucks, shove a trumpet in her butt, play a song, invade a thong, my dick is having guts for lunch. As well as supper; then I’ll rummage through her ruptured cunt.”

    “…she’s in my basement, objecting to sex with me murder spree, surges on with the next spree.” – Earl Sweatshirt

    But yeah, let’s be hypocrites and pretend that a silly music video with people dancing is actually what’s offensive and harmful. Thanks for your guidance Earl.

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