... we are past passive, symbolic gestures from multinational corporations and media conglomerates. We need real dedication to diversity in our newsrooms ...

- Danielle Belton -

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The #PepsiLivesMatter Ad Turning A Protest March Into Coachella Is Exactly Why White People Must Be Stopped

YouTube screenshot
YouTube screenshot

In the first installment of the "White People Must Be Stopped" series, Dolezal, the Goddess of Post-Racial Fuckshit, descended from the heavens and blessed us with the trailer for Same Kind of Different as Me — which ended up being the single most entertaining thing I saw in 2016.

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(Seriously, if you're ever depressed and need a quick pick-me-up, watch this trailer and have the rest of your day filled with smiles and mirth.)

Not to be outdone, Pepsi (obviously jealous that Dolezel didn't bestow that level of favor on them) dropped "Live For Now Moments Anthem" — a two minute and thirty nine second long spot that makes as much sense as the title of it does.

Watching it is like watching a cat take a perfect piss in an empty bottle of Aquafina. It's too bizarre, absurd, and oblivious to be truly offended by it, so you just gawk in awe and appreciation and wonder if the cat bothered to wipe. It's also educational, as this appropriating hodgepodge of deleted scenes from Crash is what happens when performatively progressive Whiteness is given an unlimited budget and a random Marley scion to play with. It allows us a look into the psyche of the Fisher Price: My First Hashtag liberal; showing us what protesting means to them. It's not ducking rubber bullets and pepper spray in Baltimore. It's crushing Pepsi cans and rocking Vans at Burning Man. Protesting is lit AF, apparently.

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You can even envision the diversity checklist on the right hand side of the whiteboard in the meeting this idea was conceived in.

A solemn Asian playing an instrument? Check!

A happy nigga with a kufi? Check!

A woman with a hijab AND a super modern nose ring just to show that Muslims are progressive and shit too? Check!

A sista with an afro and a "You're paying me in cash for this, right?" look on her face? Check!

A Kardashian rocking Reynolds Wrap? Check!

Darth Beckys randomly brunching? Check!

Breakdancing niggas? Check!

Matt Dillon looking-ass cops dressed like cops in pornos? Check!

At the center of this all, of course, is Kendall Jenner. Otherwise known as TOKWAAJ ("The Only Kardashian With An Actual Job"). Who's apparently supposed to be some sort of gluten-free Katniss Everdeen here, but ends up just looking and acting as taylorswiftly as humanly possible. It's impressive, actually. Like the director just whispered "What Would Taylor Do?" in Kendall's ear before each shot.

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And, like with the Same Kind of Different as Me trailer, the most perplexing part of this all is that it even exists. The level of bureaucracy and red tape that exists when a large company like Pepsi attempts to do anything creative is almost Kafkaesque. You're not just grabbing a camera, calling a Kardashian, and asking everyone currently in line at Zara to be in the commercial. It has to go through dozens of edits and rewrites and reshoots, has to be vetted by dozens of lawyers, and has to be signed off on by dozens of different departments. And through all of that, no one thought that the whole #PepsiLivesMatter premise would be an issue? Shit, no one just jumped on Slack or Gchat to just say "lol, this shit is wack as fuck y'all. any other ideas?"

I'm actually glad they didn't though, because I always wanted to know what would happen if I handed a cop a can of Pepsi instead of my license and registration the next time I'm pulled over, and now I know.

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***2:12pm edit: So, apparently Pepsi just pulled the ad. Maybe someone sent that text after all***

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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DISCUSSION

poorrighteousteacher
BrothasKeeper

Pepsi can just show a can of soda for 30 seconds, and it would sell.

As horrible as this commercial was, I know the other ideas that were bounced around the boardroom were 50 times worse.

Ad exec: "Hey, remember that Coors spot with CGI John Wayne a couple years back? Let's have a CGI Martin Luther King hand Kendall a can, and they both toss one back!"

Other ad exec: "Even better, instead of Kendall giving a Pepsi to a policeman, let's have her give one to a KLANSMAN in full regalia! That would show the transformative power of our product!"

Other other ad exec: "How about this: Let's set the spot in the 1950s, and Kendall and Kylie are walking down the street, bobby socks, poodle skirts, saddle oxfords, etc., and then they're approached by two black boys, played by Li'l Yachty and Young Thug. They catcall at the two, they're immediately apprehended by a lynch mob, and taken out into the woods. As they're about to be lynched, a can of Pepsi falls out of Yachty's pocket. With an incredulous look, one of the members of the mob picks up the soda, cracks it open, savors it, and gives a nod of approval to Yachty and Thug. Suddenly, Thug produces enough COLD Pepsi for the whole mob, as Kendall, Kylie, Yachty, and Thug toast each other and toss their heads back in laughter. As the leader of the lynch mob removes their nooses, he gives them the "oh, you!" look. Crisis averted. Aaaaaaand scene!"