Unsettling Sunscreen PSA Puts People In Ultraviolet Light


A recent sunscreen PSA manages to be both enlightening and super uncomfortable…all while managing to keep a healthy hipstery glow and a sense of muted quirkiness made to leave you feeling warm inside. If it makes you feel any better, the puns will be the least stressful part of your next couple minutes.

The video starts off with the phrase, “This is what you look like.” Apparently I look like a blonde White woman—mama we made it! She’s just looking at the camera, smug in her blonditude, but then the reveal happens, and you can see all the terrible things not wearing sunscreen is doing to all of this lily-white skin. Mostly freckles… But also “other stuff,” according to the solemn video text. Like tans. And boy, does one of these White women look horrified at the tan she seems to have gotten.


Everyone’s born with good skin pretty much,” hipster video-text guy goes on to tell us. Well, all these White people, at least. We’ll have to get back to you about anyone else. Oh wait, there’s everyone else, right after the “Healthy skin is easy to spot” text. Okay, okay, so we get the point here. White people can’t be in the sun without haphazardly changing colors, and it’s unsafe. But wait, it gets better. Next, they want to show you what sunscreen looks like under the UV filter and the video essentially becomes a montage of people looking anywhere from extremely amused to silently horrified at how dark sunscreen makes their skin look. Seriously—one of the little girls looks ready to run away.

Stay beautiful.” To be fair, this could have been the video of the decade if they directly followed that up with “Stay black.” But surely, they wanted to avoid being heavy-handed, as most videos with small children in blackface do. We’re all human here, man.

Roll Call is a daily collection of interesting news stories, articles, blogs, and thinkpieces, curated by Tonja Stidhum and Natalie Degraffinried. They both have big hair, but they are not the same person.



That was the best "PSA" I have seen all year…. The crescendo of subtly obvious, enlightening reductions….. The startling imagery of White people in blackfce as a method of protection….. The segregation of people of color as those having "good skin" without any overt acknowledgement as to why that is….. Ah, my soul feels free. -_-