With the release of Taylor Swift’s video for Wildest Dreams, many have voiced strong opinions about the lack of diversity in the Africa-set video. However, the video is based on 1930’s-1940’s Hollywood, where racial equality was even less of a custom than it is now. So, this is the question at hand, is being historically accurate considered racist?
This is a very complicated issue, so the best I can do is give MY OPINION. Honestly, I am not bothered by historical accuracy, even if there are racial or gender inequalities. The media would lose its authenticity and the aura of the era if it wasn’t historically accurate.
However! When it is a fantasy world, even if it harkens to real period of history, is a whole other thing. There is no reason why a fantasy realm cannot be diverse. Same applies for dystopian universes, granted dystopias are the epitome of a world you should not want to live in. So when media, such as films, tv shows, books, or music videos, are in fantasy or dystopian worlds, then the argument for “historical accuracy” falls very flat, since they would have to actually exist for them to be historical or accurate.
So back to Swift. In my honest opinion, the lack of African people in the setting of a 1930’s movie set in Africa/ Hollywood is not racist, because the historical accuracy argument is plausible and arguable. Honestly, it is not Taylor Swift’s fault that the 1930’s were racist.