Taylor Swift's video "Shake It Off" offended Earl Sweatshirt to the point that he didn't even watch it. But what if you did watch it? What horrors would the video reveal? What awful stereotypes did Swifty enforce here?
The truth is that she doesn't. Swift doesn't use offensive language. She doesn't show any fear of black people. In every instance, in every dance scene, she actually shows black people besting her in just about everything she tries to do. There are black people in her band, touching her, playing music in her band - on her payroll, and as her fans. Earl Sweatshirt's angry tweets appear uninformed. He didn't watch the video.
The best way of showing that one can't dance or doesn't fit in a music video is visually. And Swift does just that. She's the klutzy Carol Burnett who just can't get it right, which is where the humor lies. She just isn't good at any of it and she doesn't fit in. She can't do ballet, or rhythm gymnastics, or even modern dance, and she certainly can't twerk. She can't break dance. Through it all, her facial expressions indicate she knows she looks ridiculous.
So, to say she's stereotyping really isn't a fair assessment of this video. She has a light-skinned black ballerina, a black rhythm gymnast, several black cheerleaders, black modern dancers, black fans, and girls who look both black and white twerking. If anything, the video shows very talented black people in a variety of situations as perfectly normal, rather than stereotypical. But, "haters gonna hate."
The video's director, Mark Romanek, defended the video to Vulture. “We simply chose 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 of ethnicity.” He continued, “If you look at it carefully, it’s a massively inclusive piece. It’s very, very innocent and positively intentioned.”
How would this video compare to images of black women in videos fronted by black men? They fare far better here. If you don't believe what's in the video, please take a look at it for yourself, and check out the photos which show images of black people taken from the video.