49 years ago Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. The timing is maybe just coincidence but this is just so damn shitty, Pepsi. If you feel it too, I can try to share why my skin is crawling.
We start with a parade of diverse people all advocating for peace — some might say, a march or a “protest” for rights that the should have in the first place — set to the tune of a Marley. The music of the Marleys surely signals that “everything will be alright” and we should feel good.
At the same time, Kendall Jenner — the manifestation of white America in our “post-Racial” country — is posing and making money from her talents of being a privileged, wealthy white woman with no actual discernible “skill.”
The hijab-wearing Muslim woman grabs her camera to join this march of unity, one likely for some “liberal” cause. She grabs a device that distances her — a camera, an instrument that keeps her as an outsider yet “present” at the same time.
We see dancing, melding of classic and contemporary as the guitar and string instrument tell us of the current state of unity in the country.
Again, Kendall remains somewhat unaware (or unbothered) by her surroundings. It’s a joy of wealth to remain unaffected by your surroundings. Suddenly a person of color acknowledges her and maybe then she realizes her privilege and decides to take off her blonde wig.
She’s now in focus, the protagonist and star we’ve been waiting for as the commercial is truly about to start. The gays, the blacks, those who seem to blur typical gendered lines are the props in the scene as she white woman will become “woke” and participate in whatever this movement is.
She glides up to the front of the crowd and it is as if the people who were all protesting something were waiting for her to finally wake up. And she has. She’s grabbed the symbol of capitalism, obesity and oppressors of those in the crowd she’s supposedly part of.
Authentic fist bump with the black with cornrows.
She does some model poses because afterall this is about HER. This is HER moment.
She gleefully uses her white privilege to glide up to authority, the white patriarchy, the system, “the man” as her privilege (class, race, etc) is the only weapon she could ever need.
She hands the officer the Pepsi, he drinks, the crowd roars and I guess we are to believe Kendall is the savior of this movement.
Is this movement just young people bucking up against an oppressive structure (white patriarchy)? If so, is Kendall the symbol for what we need to progress? Or is it the Pepsi? Or is it both?
Is the “working” daughter of a family that has built their fortune on exploitation of black culture really the savior?
I just have a lot of questions about this. What am I supposed to be feeling besides disgust? I don’t feel motivated to do anything but stop consuming Pepsi products.
Unless this is a very raw take on what America currently is right now — in how the forces of (in)equality, race and gender are all playing out. Then I can just look past it as another reminder of the second coming of Rome…