Taylor Swift's dancer flaunts tartan kilt after fearing accusations of cultural appropriation

11 June 2024, 21:08

Taylor Swift's dancer flaunts tartan kilt after fearing accusations of cultural appropriation
Taylor Swift's dancer flaunts tartan kilt after fearing accusations of cultural appropriation. Picture: Kameron Saunders / Instagram

By Christian Oliver

One of Taylor Swift's backing dancers has flaunted a tartan outfit during the Scotland stop on the singer's Eras Tour, but said he wanted to be “respectful to Scottish history” after fearing he would be accused of cultural appropriation.

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Kameron Saunders, 31, said he had “always wanted an authentic kilt” but was concerned he would offend Scots if he were to don his own.

The dancer, from St Louis, Missouri, said he decided to visit a kilt seller during Swift's sell-out shows at Murrayfield, Edinburgh, where he received a crash course in Scottish history and the tradition behind the outfit and its accessories.

Saunders says he has been assured he can now wear the outfit "with pride" - even posing proudly in the red tartan kilt, waistcoat, and sporran along Edinburgh's famous Charlotte Street.

Saunders - who has become popular online with fans - received acclaim from Swift's Scottish fans for his flaunting of the traditional dress.

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Scottish government minister Shirley-Anne Somerville said she would never be able to go to a cabinet meeting in Bute House - around the corner form where he posed - without thinking of him.

In his post on Instagram, Saunders wrote: “I’ve always wanted an authentic kilt but I wanted to be super respectful about the culture

“So prior to purchasing I had an extensive conversation with the salesman who educated me so very wonderfully about kilts, accessories, Scottish history, Scottish last names, tartans, the thistle, etc.

“He assured me that I could wear this outfit with pride. So that’s what I’m doing!”

It comes as Saunders celebrated Scottish culture again by putting his own twist into one of Swift's songs during the three-night tour run.

Saunders - who is the only person other than Swift to speak during the shows - usually responds with the words "like, ever" during the hit We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.

For the 2012 chart-topper in Scotland, however, Saunders said "nae chance", “ya wee radge” and “bolt ya rocket”.

Saunder's story tickled many online, with one saying they wished they could be a “fly on the wall watching this conversation about cultural appropriation between an old Scottish guy in a kilt shop and Kameron Sauders”.

Helen Lewis, a British journalist for the Atlantic who frequently appears on Have I Got News For You, said she had “enjoyed Taylor Swift’s dancer worrying that he might be culturally appropriating tartan”.

After closing out her three shows in Edinburgh - where the singer broke Scottish attendance records after performing to 220,000 fans - she wrote on Instagram: “Edinburgh!!! You truly blew me away this weekend.

“Thank you for breaking the all-time attendance record for a stadium show in Scotland 3 times in a row and for all the ways you made us feel right at home. Love you, all 220,000 of you!!!”

The singer now heads to Anfield Stadium in Liverpool on Thursday for three more shows, then Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, followed by Wembley next week.

She then travels to Ireland and wider Europe before five more shows in London in August.

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