Dear Pepsi, I have one question for you. What in the hell were you thinking?!
I suppose Pepsi was attempting to speak to the current issues of protests in the nation many surrounding the death of Black men and women due to police brutality by…wait for it…getting Kendall Jenner, one of the whitest White women that is born into a world of lily white privilege to pretend as if she has had some profound revelation while she is modeling (something she does in real life). Honey, this is not art imitating life. You have no social justice struggle, and we are smart enough to know that we will never see you at a Black Lives Matter rally or any rally. Your family treats Black people like the jewelry that you wear in your fashion shows – Black people are simply an adornment to be worn for a little while until you want to discard or upgrade them.
Back to the commercial.
After this mind-blowing revelation that people are protesting real issues while Kendall is modeling- as usual, asleep at the wheel- she tosses her blond wig aside to a Black woman, and wipes her sister’s
overly priced might as well buy Maybelline lipstick off her lips and somehow magically adorns a designer jean outfit to act as a leader of a protest. The multiracial sea of humans part and allow White Savior Kendall Moses Jenner to step forth, piss water, Pepsi in hand and graciously give this diabetes inducing can of soda to a police officer. This officer has so graciously decided not to mace, handcuff, billyclub or shoot Kendall Moses Jenner but instead, smiles and takes a sip of the Pepsi. Because you know when White women walk up on the police with something in their hands it is NEVER mistaken for a gun and the police never “fear for their lives”.And after he swallows down the peace, love and light in a can, Blacks, Muslims, men and women, Jews and Gentiles all hold hands, sing kumbaya and cry rainbow colored tears of joy, happy that White Savior Kendall Moses Jenner has cleaned up injustice one soda at a time.
“I totally went to like a march and stuff this weekend and people were getting soooo hype protesting like women’s rights and shit. I completely understand what you have been saying about Black oppression. And I need to do something.”
“Yes. Totally down with the system and screw the man!”
“But didn’t you and most White women vote for Trump?”
“Trisha, none of that matters now. Now is the time for us to do something radical. And I know just the thing. I am going to pitch this commercial idea with Kendell fucking Jenner, and she will be like that lady from The Blind Side where she is saving all the Black NFL players, not the ones that kneel during the National Anthem because that where I draw the line. She saves everyone else but him or whatever. Anyways, Kendall is gonna be like her, a strong woman but with like Pepsi and police.”
“I don’t think that is the best idea. That’s been done before. In. Real. Life.”
“Oh, who cares what you think, Trisha. It is my job to tell you how you should see your oppression in the media. They won’t care if we borrow the idea. We do it all the time. Anyways, it’s going to be great! Trust me; you will love it. We will even have like Black women IN the protest but not like LEADING the protest or anything because you know, loud, Black women fighting for justice don’t really do much for our product. We kind of like you know, diet justice or justice light kinda like a diet Pepsi. Ha! But we will be sure to have some of them dancing in the background, and we will just let Kendall kind of like be the face of freedom.”
There is no way any Black person on your team, if any Black people are on your team and I highly doubt it, thought that this was a good idea. How in the HELL do you PLAGIARIZE AN ENTIRE MOVEMENT? How do you co-opt struggle? How do you Pepsi manage to WHITEWASH OPPRESSION?! How much do you stand to profit off of Black pain? This is not a game to us!
You took decades of sacrifice, struggle, pain and triumph and reduced it to a White woman and soda. Really, Pepsi is that all it takes? An ice-cold Pepsi and the police won’t billy club Black people upside the head? I sure wish I could go back in time and tell John Lewis and Martin Luther King Jr. when they were on the Edmund Pettus Bridge that all they had to do was hand the officers a few cold Pepsi’s, and they could have avoided being assaulted. Who knew the Kendall Jenner School of Marching for Civil Rights could make fighting for justice so easy?
The picture that Pepsi tries and fails to emulate is of Ieshia Evans attending a protest in Baton Rouge after the murder of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old man that was shot at close range in the chest for selling CDs. Let that sink in. A 37-year-old man is now dead because he was selling CD’s outside of a store. And Pepsi wants to trivialize the stand that Ms. Evans and countless others took to speak to this injustice by making a commercial seeking to profit off the struggles and oppression of Black people with some cheap ass fizzy sugar water.What Pepsi doesn’t tell you is while Kendall is dancing and high-fiving in the end of her commercial Ieshia Evans was arrested and spent 24 hours in jail. If you are going to STEAL the STORY tell the WHOLE DAMN STORY! This commercial doesn’t show you Alton Sterling being shot in the chest and just days later Philando Castille bleeding out on Facebook Live. Protesting isn’t about glossed over, high definition, manufactured revolution. Our revolution isn’t whitewashed or ran through a filter. Revolution aint always pretty. It is death and decay. Bullet wounds and blood. It is torture and tears. It is mourning men and women that you have never met, but still, they haunt you like ghosts crying out in the night for their deaths to be avenged.
This commercial doesn’t show you the lifeless bodies of Sandra Bland or Mike Brown. Would Trayvon still be alive if he was buying Pepsi and not tea? Would Alton be alive if he was selling Pepsi’s and not CD’s? How many sodas will it take for someone like Eric Garner to be able to breathe? How many Pepsi’s do I need to purchase for police not to douse innocent protestors in teargas? How many Pepsi’s will it take for our marches to be as diverse as this commercial, for people to actually care that Black people are being killed daily? How many Pepsi’s should I buy to feel safe in my home? How many Pepsi’s do I have to buy for this world to understand our struggle? How much Pepsi must an officer drink before he decides not to shoot an innocent Black male in the back? How many Pepsi’s should we give the officer who put his knee in the back of a young girl and sat down on her with his full weight. How many Pepsi’s should be allotted so an officer doesn’t rape Black women he swore to serve and protect? How many sodas should the officer drink that tossed a young woman across a classroom? How many Pepsi’s do I need to tell the mothers and fathers of those that have buried their sons and their daughters too soon to drink so that they will feel better? Would Aiyana still be alive if she had Pepsi before going to sleep on the couch?
How many Pepsi’s is it going to take to change the world?
Let me know.
Until then, this was a foolish, insensitive campaign and it is the reason why no matter what you attempt to do, you will always be 2nd in this world. How do you expect us to trust you with a vision to change the world when you still haven’t managed to knock Coke from its number one spot? You have one job Pepsi, and you can’t even manage to do that. Focus on Coke and leave the revolution to us.
Featured Photo: Pepsi Co
Article photos: Giphy