"Shake It Off"

"Shake It Off"

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Updated May 07, 2020 at 03:09PM EDT by 3kole5.

Added Oct 22, 2014 at 02:19PM EDT by Molly Horan.

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"Shake It Off" is a 2014 pop song co-written and performed by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift as the lead single for her upcoming fifth studio album 1989. Upon the same-day release of the single and the music video in August 2014, the song was mostly met by positive reviews from the critics; however, some of the dance routines featured in the music video sparked a minor controversy for alleged cultural appropriation of black stereotypes.


On August 18th, 2014, Taylor Swift's official Vevo YouTube channel[1] uploaded the video for "Shake it Off." The video features Swift awkwardly attempting several different forms of dance, including ballet, modern and hip hop, while surrounded by professional dancers. Within 48 hours of its release,[2] the music video gained over 3 million views, and as of October 2014, the video has gained more than 190 million views.

Criticism of Cultural Appropriation

The same day the video was released, Odd Future's rapper Earl Sweatshirt posted several tweet condemning Swift's video for "perpetuating black stereotypes" and for being “inherently offensive and ultimately harmful," while admitting he hadn't watched the video (shown below).

EARL @earlxsweat Follow perpetuating black stereotypes to the same demographic of white girls who hide their prejudice by proclaiming their love of the culture 10:51 PM-18 Aug 2014 11,224 RETWEETS 9,183 FAVORITES 令乜★ EARL @earlxsweat Follow haven't watched the tavlor swift video and I don't need to watch it to tell you that it's inherently offensive and ultimately harmful 10:47 PM- 18 Aug 2014 9,156 RETWEETS 8,678 FAVORITES

The same day, the women's interest blog Jezebel published an article criticizing Swift's video for being a "cringeworthy mess." Also on August 18th, Tumblr[19] user Orhgasm defended Swift in a post claiming that nothing about the video was racist. In the first 24 hours, the post gained over 1,500 notes. Meanwhile, Mashable[14] published a compilation of Twitter reactions to the music video. In the coming days, several other news sites published articles about the video controversy, including The Daily Dot,[15] Daily Beast,[16] Metro [17]and Billboard.[18]


On August 19th, USA Today[6] named "Shake it off" the song of the week. On August 27th, Forbes[7] announced the song debuted at number one on the pop charts. On September 11th, Taylor Swift's Vevo YouTube channel uploaded three videos featuring outtakes from the music video. As of October 2014, the highest performing video has gained over 3 million views.

Notable Examples


On August 21st, YouTuber Miranda Sings[4] uploaded a parody of "Shake it Off" in which she digitally inserted herself into the video. As of October 2014, the video has gained over 6.1 million views. On September 9th, YouTuber KimmiSmile[5] uploaded a parody of "Shake it Off" which focuses on procrastinating. As of October 2014, the video has gained over 320,000 views.

On September 19th, YouTuber lisbug[3] uploaded a parody of "Shake it Off" which replaced the song's lyrics with angry comments her past videos had received. As of October 2014, the video has gained over 3.8 million views. On September 28th, YouTuber Bart Baker[6] uploaded a parody of "Shake it Off" which mocked Taylor Swift. As of October 2014, the video has gained over 6.8 million views.

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