B Flow Thanks Taylor Swift For Her ‘Wildest Dreams’

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B flow wrote an open letter to American Pop singer Taylor Swift to thank her for her “Wildest Dreams” music video .

Dear Taylor,
I write to thank you for your new video for “Wildest Dreams.”
The first time I saw it, I thought of my late grandma, and how she would have reacted to it. Like me, I think she would have loved it, because she was proudly African. I love that you showed how beautiful our continent is, and that you recognized that we have the kind of landscapes that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. As a Zambian, I was so proud to see my neighbors, Botswana and South Africa, in a Taylor Swift video.
Grandma would have probably used your video to remind me why I should continue shooting my videos here. A lot of us artists in Zambia and elsewhere on the continent have had this belief that shooting our videos in the same locations as Beyoncé and Jay Z is a symbol of success, and so we aspire to shoot our videos oversees. I’m a culprit myself, having shot my last video in Oslo. I can imagine Granny saying, “You see? Internationallyacclaimed artist Taylor Swift has just showed you that shooting a video in Africa is success too. Appreciate what you have, Brian.”
Before I proceed, I should clarify that I can understand why some people are seeing your video as glorifying colonialism. After all, the characters in your video do not appear so different from Cecil Rhodes and his British South Africa Company (BASCo) counterparts, the colonial masters who scrambled for our minerals and land and ruled my country until 1964.
I think Grandma Matilda would have found it surprising that there are no black people in a video that wishes to portray the Africa of the 1950s. But perhaps if your video did include black people, the criticisms surrounding it would have been far greater. I say so because at that time, black people in South Africa and Botswana were facing inequalities similar to those faced in my country. Perhaps your reason for not including black people was to avoid bringing attention to the brutal past of colonialism — the forced segregation, the servitude, the economic and social exclusion, the beatings, and, sometimes, the disappearances of black Africans altogether. My grandmother, if she were to have been portrayed in your video, would at best have had to play the role of a servant. Of course, we all have the right to choose who we include in our videos, but we must also consider the impact of leaving out some pieces.
May I suggest that what might have been a clever thing to do is to include blacks, and portray us as the masters, so as to position yourself as an ambassador of anti-racism?
That having been said, here is why I’m thanking you for your video. In Zambia, we love to show the world the kind of sights you exhibit in your video. It is important for us to do so because these sights define our tourism, which is one of our most promising sectors for economic growth. If your video was mine, I think the Zambia National Tourism Board (ZNTB) would have endorsed me as their brand ambassador immediately. I could even see your opening lyrics, “drive out of the city, away from the crowds,” becoming our next tourism slogan. But while I appreciate that you show the safari side of Africa, I also feel that you are missing out on a whole other side.
For a long time, international media has portrayed our continent as a place stricken by poverty or famine, or as a playground for animals — like the ones in your video. I will take your video as a wake-up call. It’s my job to show the side of Africa that is missing in your video. Instead of flying oversees to shoot my next video, what I should do is take up the responsibility of showing that we too have cities with streetlights, skyscrapers and shopping malls, like my favorite chilling spot, Eastpark Mall in Lusaka, and that some Africans too have swimming pools in their backyards, and arenas like Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Arena, where the first ever NBA game on the continent recently took place. The other things that you didn’t show in your video — how extraordinarilycool the different scenes are across the continent, how we often party harder than anywhere in the U.S. (at least in Zambia, where we say, “party till we drop,” and that is past dawn!), with some of the most innovative beats, like Zambia’s own Zed Beats, and the new dances the kids are always coming up with.
I understand that you may not have experienced these things firsthand. While I don’t want to pretend that many countries in Africa don’t have serious economic problems, poor infrastructure,and woefully inadequate health services, as the media often portrays, I will be quick to mention that we have at times recorded tremendous progress in dealing with these challenges. In addition, plenty of so-called developed countries also struggle under these very same burdens. It’s therefore my duty to celebrate the multi-fascetedness of our continent that is missing in your video, so that the fullness of Africa is brought to light. Perhaps the world will finally see the side of Africa that has not been internationallypromoted. No one will show the fullness of Africa if I don’t do it myself.
Thank you for reminding me to continue being an ambassador for my country and my continent so that I can bring out the fuller picture.
If you want to help me promote African tourism, you are welcome to collaborate with me and we can shoot a cool video together, in Zambia this time.
Yours Sincerely,
B Flow

B_Flow_in_the_USA
Brian Bwembya, otherwise known as B Flow, is a Zambian musician, gender rights and HIV/AIDS activist, founder of the music for change initiative and a fellow in President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative/Mandela Washington Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter @bflowmusic.

Taylor Swift Wildest Dreams

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21 COMMENTS

  1. Since when did B-flow become our foreign affairs minister. Let alone Ambassador Mulonda? I am really confused by this.

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    • Thats what i like when people travel. it has finally hit you b-flow that no matter how much you want to align yourself nabakuwa, you will always be n.i.g.g.a to them. Its about time you opened your eyes. Umusungu temunobe. Remember this and never forget.

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    • Ba B-flow, no one knows you or herd any of your songs beyond the Zambian borders yet you want to create some beef with the world’s renowned superstar in an effort to try and be relevant…awe nakukanina!

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  2. Hmm. If it inspires you to do better then good for you!

    However, isn’t this just rehashing the current debate over this video. Much of what’s said was on Decoded, MTV with the Ramsey lady. Can’t remember her name. Frankie… Francesca…

    Anyway TS might welcome the PR and give you a shout.

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  3. Nzelu Bflow is ambasador against gender based gender based violence , anti aids…… Hiv and aids…..and a fellow of obama/mandela young african leaders ……. so chill…. we dont lose anything Brian being goodwill ambassador…….

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  4. Just watched the video and I real all do not get the argument he is putting across. If you realize the setting of the video as a 1930’s movie production scene and you also know the history of the absence of a black face (African or otherwise) you would understand why there is no Black person in it. Blacks were not in front or behind the camera till much later. As regards, showing other parts of the continent, I think that is for African artists to pick up. It’s costly to shoot original videos in more than one country in Africa. In short, the financials do not support this view. Good luck

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  5. Our people like this boy B-Flow need to surely wake up…they have been brainwashed to the point they subconsciously promote white supremacy without even relying it. They can not see between the lines even in that video.

    B-Flow wake up from your folly…this is why I encourage people to study about self!!

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  6. This boy is just embarrassing us now. I can’t see the point of the argument.

    He is also free to release his own video featuring Africans if he wants. No one is stopping him

    Brian – think things through before making public pronouncements. That way you will be more relevant

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  7. His trying his best to thr…that’s a good thing..nxt tym try to write a summarized letter…that was a long one..couldnt evn finish reading it..

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  8. This guy wachikwelafye,he just wants links with gelo not knowing that his displaying his lucky of thinking to the world.Colonialism will never end because some still miss it.

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  9. Mwana just go back to school so that you start working or stable business not singing tuna childish songs .ohokkk maybe you relocate to your village in mpika ?????

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  10. Well I haven’t seen Taylor’s video buh I guess ONE FLOW has his reasons. I thnk tht even wen someone is better than you you cant be Objective. This could have been a convasation btwn ONE FLOW nd mamma SWIFT if they had a chance to meet bt since ts one side let’s hop to see th other side of the letter (SWIFT’s reply) before we gt into judging our poor guy…besides its not anyones business being hre reading this letter and repling/judging/critisising watever!!! Ts TAYLOR’s letter si letter ya NYOKO!

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  11. Am glad that you have released that B-flow…….there is a reason why you were born where you are. keep it up….the sky is not the limit you can go higher…..

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  12. Comment:yabar Bfows learn to summerize your letters I dint even finish reading and rushed to the comments Bflows letter has both pros and cons and back to taylor its her video she does watever she likes I dnt see why she shud be criticised naimwe ba Bflow.

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  13. I like B Flows patriotic spirit. If anyone has a problem with this open letter, then they don’t know what they stand for.
    People out there have a very ill impression of what Africa is! It’s about time someone said something about it. Trevor Noah also said something in one of his stand-up shows in America. I liked that he made his point by exaggerating his joke. But the point was made!
    Now, if Taylor makes a video that misrepresents Africa, well a concerned person had better say something.
    Bravo B Flow!

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