The conversation in the United States the last few weeks has centered largely around racism, and specifically what needs to be done to make the country a more equitable place for Black Americans.
A number of celebrities and public figures have been using their platforms to advocate for change and make sure Black voices are elevated in the conversation. And while a lot of that work may be well-intentioned, sometimes allyship — particularly from rich, white celebrities — can cross the line into performative. And when it does, it’s really cringeworthy.
Unfortunately, a new celebrity video about fighting racism has gone viral after crossing that line.
The video, which features a variety of white celebrities from Debra Messing to Aaron Paul to Julianne Moore, is part of a new campaign called #ITakeResponsibility, launched by Confluential Content in partnership with the NAACP. It centers around the idea that it’s up to white people to take responsibility to stand up against racism and decided to use influential public figures to get that message across.
regret to inform you the celebs are at it again pic.twitter.com/pfORBiqvrX
— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) June 11, 2020
“I take responsibility for every unchecked moment, for every time it was easier to ignore than to call it out for what it was. Every not-so-funny joke. Every unfair stereotype. Every blatant injustice, no matter how big or small. Every time I remained silent,” reads a portion of the script, split between different celebrities and taking a full two minutes to deliver.
It’s not a bad message, in and of itself.
White people DO need to stand up against racism, and most of the celebrities featured have already been using their individual platforms to highlight the issues and rally their audiences to help enact change.
The problem, in part, is the overdramatic packaging. The video is all in black and white, features only a soundtrack of silence underneath the spoken words, and edits together far too lengthy, far too earnest line deliveries that make celebs who may actually believe what they’re saying come across as desperate for brownie points in the war against racism.
It also lacks a clear call to action, instead focusing on a general “do better” message to fellow white people, while making it very clear that these specific celebs are not here for anyone’s racism.
The video did not get a warm reception online.
Oh my gosh racism is over thank you actors pic.twitter.com/fyRytfhKWg
— TY$$ (@thatboyrik) June 11, 2020
no but actually who wrote this script and made it sound like all these people were giggling about racism up until *checks calander* last week????? someone did y’all dirty lmao
— ♡ snitchery ♡ (@snitchery) June 11, 2020
just one more step and everything will be solved pic.twitter.com/yY7WCoQCL1
— threepeat (@charlieF_baby) June 11, 2020
Ending Racism: The Musical
— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) June 11, 2020
Yea man this shit is horrible, and the fucking gray filter just sends it. The whole thing comes off as completely detached and missing the point of all this.
— TWODICK BENSON (@bensonburnout) June 11, 2020
— Martin (@marsne93) June 11, 2020
Until a bunch of Hollywood celebrities did a black and white video with sad music over it I thought racism was brilliant but they have really challenged my unchecked prejudices and I am now willing to start a dialogue.
— Lisa 🙏🌧🌍 (@godblesstoto) June 11, 2020
Even those who feel it was well-intentioned are cringing at the results.
No matter how well-intentioned, they always fall back on performative nonsense. They have this insatiable need to come out “good” and righteous in every situation.
— Pam (@Pam37654336) June 11, 2020
Well intentioned, I’m sure; but this is really toe curling. Sometimes it’s good to protest and leave the talking to those who suffer the most. https://t.co/VoCEsI3An8
— TOBY STEPHENS (@TobyStephensInV) June 11, 2020
And many think the best thing white celebrities can do right now is pay up.
How do celebs keep messing this up so badly? Stop making this about yourself and donate $1 million each to a local organization helping Black people!!!!!
— Elizabeth Goodspeed (@domesticetch) June 11, 2020
Take your checkbook to your local bail fund you weird fucks
— Kim Kelly (@GrimKim) June 11, 2020
Why don’t they listen?
I don’t want your sarah-mclachlan-aspca-arms-of-an-angel videos.
I want three things:
-To be hired and empowered.
-Your purse opened.
— LaBlaq, your favorite #ComicBookBabe 💋🌟 (@LoveAndShalom) June 11, 2020
whole lotta “I, me, my”, not a lotta “here’s my money”
— chip / link in bio to donate (@chipoffyoblock) June 11, 2020
Can we leave “Imagine” celebrity singalong-style performative allyship behind for good already?
The only montage I want to see is of each of them opening their purses and displaying donation receipts. https://t.co/Z26esadYmS
— Bradley Stern (@MuuMuse) June 11, 2020
It’s actually shocking no one has layered “Imagine” under this yet. But much like performative allyship from public figures, it will definitely happen eventually.
More unfortunate choices from celebrities:
- Gal Gadot Got A Bunch Of Celeb Friends To Sing “Imagine” And Now They’re Getting Roasted (31 Tweets)
- Woke Teens Are Just Learning About Robert Downey Jr. Wearing Blackface In “Tropic Thunder”
- Olivia Jade’s Instagram Post About Racism And Privilege Isn’t Going The Way I Think She Wanted It To (9 Pics)