Taylor Swift is back. Okay, so she never really left, but even so, it looks like she's making her way back into the pop cultural zeitgeist with a vengeance.
After geeking out with Jimmy Fallon and announcing that she will be performing at the MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 24, Swift revealed that her fifth album "1989" will be released on Oct. 27 during her highly anticipated Yahoo! Livestream on Aug. 18. Swift also debuted the video for the first single off of her "first documented, official pop album, "Shake It Off."
While it seemed like the Interwebs blew up with acclaim for the fun, catchy song and video, not everyone is happy about it. Earl Sweatshirt, one of the members of the rap group Odd Future, took to Twitter to criticize the "Shake It Off" video, which features Swift taking on a variety of different dance styles from ballet to twerking to rhythmic gymnastics to breakdancing.
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
— EARL (@earlxsweat) August 19, 2014
perpetuating black stereotypes to the same demographic of white girls who hide their prejudice by proclaiming their love of the culture — EARL (@earlxsweat) August 19, 2014
It seems that Swift's video has once again sparked a debate about cultural appropriation that has been a hot topic in pop music this year. Miley Cyrus faced similar ire with her video for "We Can't Stop" and subsequent twerking antics at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards and on her world tour. Avril Lavigne received intense criticism for her music video for "Hello Kitty," which many thought presented Japanese culture in a stereotypical way. Katy Perry seems to constantly come under fire for cultural appropriation. In this year alone, many have questioned her use of cultural appropriation in her geisha performance at the 2013 American Music Awards, her Egyptian-themed video for "Dark Horse" and her portrayal of a Jewish bar mitzvah entertainer in her "Birthday" video.
Others on Twitter have made similar comments to Sweatshirt on Swift's new video.
— siwan (@siwanclark) August 18, 2014
So yeah, Taylor swift's little "urban" outburst was poorly timed. Black souls are already on edge, don't feed the fire shawty. — Jerry (@CurbsideJones) August 19, 2014
When are Taylor Swift & Iggy Azalea gonna release a song called "Sorry Black People But Using Your Culture Makes Us Money So Deal With It"?
— GROWN ASS ADULT (@airbagged) August 19, 2014
taylor swift tried to play the "quirky white girl who can't fit in!" and all she accomplished was being ridiculously racist — susan (@queerreid) August 18, 2014
Swift hasn't commented on any of the controversy surrounding the video yet, but we're interested to see how the musician and the machine that is her tightly controlled PR team, respond to the criticisms.