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Not even in your Wildest Dreams. An Editorial.

September 5, 2015
(Source: BMGL)

(Source: BMGL)

I can see the end just as it begins, Taylor Nation.

Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who knows this is not a topic to be taken lightly, we wanted to address the recent controversy over the Taylor Swift’s latest music video, Wildest Dreams. You’ve probably stumbled across a few articles that have debated back and forth whether the video is racist (wait, what?!). Here’s where I have to actually describe a few terms that are not popular, but still, necessary for this discussion.

There is a difference between outright hate, discrimination for someone’s color, and there is racial and/or cultural insensitivity. One of them is intentional, one of them is malicious, the other is when someone could do better but doesn’t for some reason. Wildest Dreams is not racist. It doesn’t ever portray or inspire hatred. It doesn’t glorify hatred. It seeks to emulated the golden age of Hollywood, where exotic desert locales and wild animal life were often the background of romantic adventure movie making. In that, it might be actually committing a second-hand slight… Those movies often would use foreign locations as backgrounds but would not be sensitive to racial diversity or culture.

I could easily point out than the sequences could be completely imagined by Tay’s character since as the movie wraps up we see a fake background, but let’s not take the easy way out here. In this music video, the characters played by Taylor Swift and Scott Eastwood are inspired by actresses and actors of the 1950’s. That is the second focus of the film (shocker, it’s a love story plot based on a song). Yes, there’s elements used back then that are romanticized by movie fanatics. It’s a lavish fantasy. So, you can argue that there’s some cultural insensitivity in the sense that the movie chooses to focus on… the song’s central story. Which is what it is supposed to do. Let’s not forget this is a music video.

Could it do better? Could it be more sensitive to the culture of the background it uses? Here’s where this becomes bittersweet, because the answer is yes. But the problem is how… How do you put a culturally and/or racially sensitive message in this video? Again, you could. But it would really get analyzed to death, wouldn’t it? Joseph Kahn chose to focus on his stars, but one wonders if he could’ve added more diversity in his cast. The director did cast at least one black African actor in the background. That’s because everyone else was also in the background.

(Source: BMGL)

(Source: BMGL)

I’ve had my brushes with racism (you’ve been reading a blog written by half latin, half chinese guy). I can’t put that in the same boat than Wildest Dreams. Yes, this video, like a lot of videos out there, could be more racially and culturally diverse. It also could’ve been much worse. It’s also a music video about dreaming that involves exactly two people in the foreground. Is there room to improve? Yes. Then let’s not tear Taylor down and give her some constructive criticism instead of jumping the shark and taking it to extremes.

Coming up in the Calendar!

(Sources: TheSwiftAgency.com)

Inside The 1989 World Tour: The Agency and the Starlights take the spotlight!

September 2, 2015
(Source: Amos Heller via Instagram)

(Source: Amos Heller via Instagram)

One day they’ll tell the story of us, Taylor Nation.

Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who doesn’t get into drama because he already chose writing, we’re glad to actually find some videos that won’t get shut down. XFINITY recently released another video from their series on The 1989 World Tour.

Now it’s The Agency’s turn. The little five-piece touring band that are capable of covering and playing every Taylor Swift song plus have the ability to play the hits that the surprise guests bring along. Amos Heller, Paul Sidoti, Mike Meadows, David Cook and Matt Billingslea (in order from the oldest to the most recent member) are the world-class musicians that tour with Taylor Swift.

Add to that, the lovely and talented vocalists known as the Starlights. Clare Turton, Eliotte Nicole, Kamilah Marshall and Melanie Nyema do the rare honors of harmonizing with the Sparkly Dressed.

As a bonus, this is actually XFinity’s full 1989 World Tour playlist, so you can watch all the videos they’ve posted so far. You’re welcome ;)

Watch on YouTube

Up next! The 1989 World Tour lands in Salt Lake City.

Coming up in the Calendar!

(Sources: Xfinity via YouTube)

Wildest Dreams: Standing in a nice dress, staring at the sunset

August 31, 2015
(Source: BMGL)

(Source: BMGL)

This is getting good now, Taylor Nation.

The amazing music video for Wildest Dreams just premiered before the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. The setting is the romanticized golden era of movie making. The scenario is Africa. Our girl is the lead actress in an adventure film. She has adopted a bit of a classic air here. I know this might be a stretch, but she has a slight resemblance to a young Elizabeth Taylor.

Her leading man, played by Scott Eastwood, is the classic hero with stoic jaw. That’s not an accident, he’s the youngest son of actor Clint Eastwood. The video, which is basically a mini movie about a movie is directed by Joseph Kahn. You might remember him from Blank Space.

Watch on YouTube

It shares some likeness with Blank Space. The characters are different, but it does seem like they could exist in the same universe. That classical fantasy-like hollywood world that we romanticize about from classic movies. I did love the video for its elegant surroundings and lavish sets, but I loved it even more for the final message. All of Taylor’s proceeds from this video will be donated to wild animal conservation efforts through the African Parks Foundation of America.

Coming up in the Calendar!

(Sources: YouTube)

2015 MTV Video Music Awards: The Taylor Swift version

August 31, 2015

This is gonna take me down, Taylor Nation.

(Source: MTV)

(Source: MTV)

The 2015 MTV Video Music Awards were on last night. Here at the Swift Agency, just a guy who is selective about what he watches on TV, we know that this show in particular boasts about scandal and controversy. I wouldn’t mind those if they didn’t come with a high cringe factor of dead silence and bad jokes, but I guess it comes with the “unscripted” territory. Anyhow, I’m not really a fan so if you’ll excuse me I’m basically going to focus on the parts that involve Taylor Swift. I do have to give MTV props for the decision of posting clips of all the acceptance speeches. This will actually keep those clips online rather than taken down.

The pre-show started with the premiere of the Wildest Dreams music video, just after Taylor and her squad were interviewed and T-Swizzle was given the Best Pop Video award for Blank Space.

The show then promptly opened with Nicki Minaj performing. Keep your eye on the stage behind her, she’s going to get some company soon. Taylor Swift actually appeared right after.

Then yada yada yada… Taylor won Best Female Video for Blank Space.

Taylor also presented the Michael Jackson Vanguard award to Kanye West. It was a long and rambling speech in which it seemed at times he was touched, offended, ready to apologize, ready to take back apologies, confessed he might have smoked something before the show and finally he announced he was running for president in 2020. I can’t make this up even if I tried. I’ll spare you the clip.

Some stuff happened, then the award of the night for the Video of the Year was given to Bad Blood featuring Kendrick Lamar who unfortunately could not attend.

So that brings Taylor’s tally of awards to three, however some awards are yet to be announced. I wouldn’t dismiss this list from being updated soon:

  • Video of the Year for Bad Blood featuring Kendrick Lamar
  • Best Female Video for Blank Space
  • Best Pop Video for Blank Space

Now go eat something, everyone!

Coming up in the Calendar!

(Sources: MTV)

The 2015 VMA Swiftlist: What you need to know tonight… in your Wildest Dreams

August 30, 2015

Say you’ll remember me, Taylor Nation.

The 2015 MTV Video Music Awards are tonight on MTV at 9pm Eastern, 8pm Central. The show is delayed three hours (until 9pm Pacific) for the West Coast. T-Swizzle has nine nominations. She also has her own Wildest Dreams video premiering tonight. The video is directed by Joseph Kahn who is also nominated for Best Director for Bad Blood.

(Source: Taylor Nation via Twitter)

(Source: Taylor Nation via Twitter)

  • Video of the Year for Bad Blood featuring Kendrick Lamar
  • Best Collaboration for Bad Blood featuring Kendrick Lamar
  • Best Female Video for Blank Space
  • Best Pop Video for Blank Space
  • Best Director for Joseph Kahn for Bad Blood
  • Best Visual Effects for Bad Blood featuring Kendrick Lamar
  • Best Art Direction for Charles Infante for Bad Blood
  • Best Editing for Bad Blood
  • Best Cinematography for Bad Blood

I can’t call it here. This is MTV. They’ll do what they feel like doing, which is usually spreading the love around. I do expect her to get some, quite a few actually, if we were going by the actual video. However, we all know this is a popularity contest so it’s anybody’s guess. Taylor is attending so chances are good. There’s also a rumor that she may be presenting an award – and that has been tied to the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award that Kanye West is receiving tonight.

Here’s MTV’s All Access link (I don’t think the actual show is streamed here).

For me the actual important part is the pre-show premiere of Wildest Dreams. The pre-show starts at 8/7c.

Coming up in the Calendar!

(Sources: MTV)

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