'Look What You Made Me Do' Video Director Defends Taylor Swift Against Beyoncé Lemonade Comparisons
Joseph Kahn, the video director for Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do," spoke out about those Beyoncé/Lemonade comparisons
The Beyhive may see similarities between a teaser clip of Taylor Swift‘s video for her biting new single “Look What You Made Me Do” and Beyoncé’s 2016 Lemonade visual album, but Swift’s video director Joseph Kahn isn’t having it.
On Friday night, the Grammy-winning director — who shot Swift’s “Bad Blood,” “Out of the Woods,” “Wildest Dreams” and “Blank Space” videos as well as Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” and “Jumpin’ Jumpin'” — tweeted his reaction to fan speculation that Tay was making a dig at Bey.
“I’ve worked with Beyoncé a few times,” he wrote. “She’s an amazing person. The #LWYMMDvideo is not in her art space. Love and respect to Bey.”
One shot in particular seemed to bother fans. It showed the 27-year-old country singer dressed in a black ensemble, lined up in an elegant pose with a row of male backup dancers behind her. The shot looked similar to scenes from Beyoncé’s “Formation” video and Super Bowl 50 performance, in which she donned a similar look with an army of fierce female backup dancers.
Another Lemonade track, “Sorry,” found Beyoncé and Serena Williams dancing in the halls of a lavish Louisiana plantation while wearing black leotards.
“Beyoncé played on being a plantation owner in Formation & now that Taylor Swift is ripping from it she’s trying to be one too,” wrote one critic on Twitter.
“Lemonade and Minute Maid,” someone quipped.
Another echoed: “The song is a poor man’s Britney, the video’s gonna be a poor man’s Beyoncé. Taylor Swift wants to be anyone but Taylor Swift.”
Kahn had responses to that too.
“There’s something to that ‘Formation’ shot I painted out and you haven’t seen yet,” he wrote, teasing the video’s upcoming premiere at Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards. “Stay tuned Sunday 🙂 #LWYMMDvideo #SneakyAsian,” Kahn added.
Hours earlier, he made another comment about the comparisons, joking, “Before video release: Kahn copying Lemonade. After video release: Kahn copying obscure K Pop video made in North Korean prison in 2006.”
Though the song, which samples 1991 Right Said Fred hit “I’m Too Sexy,” is getting mixed reviews, it’s certainly a stunning departure for Swift. Rather than shaking off her haters, the singer/songwriter appears to be taking some direct jabs at her enemies.
“I don’t like you,” she sings in the song’s verse, without naming anyone in particular.
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It may not be a direct attack on anyone, despite rampant speculation. Swift may be once again turning the tables on her haters by poking fun at the media’s perception of her as someone who always plays the victim — the same way her smash hit “Blank Space” (off of her Grammy-winning album 1989) mocked the portrayal of her as a man-eater.
“[From] 2013 to 2013, they thought I was dating too much because I dated two people in a year and a half, but whatever — we’ll leave it there,” she said during an interview with NMEin 2014. “‘Oh, a serial dater. She only writes songs to get emotional revenge on guys. She’s a man hater. Don’t let her near your boyfriend.’ It was just kind of excessive and, you know, at first it was hurtful and then I kind of found a little comedy in it.”
“This character is so interesting though,” she added at the time. “If you go and read these gossip sites and they describe how I am, [it’s] so opposite my actual life.”
Swift’s sixth album, Reputation, will be released on Nov. 10.