Pepsi Solves Injustice?


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Pepsi’s ad aspirations are crushed

Pepsi’s advertisement that was posted on Tuesday, April 4th, was quickly removed from YouTube after receiving a wave of unrelenting criticism for its trivialization of Black Lives Matter and other similar movements.


The ad depicts a gathering of young and multiethnic people that are holding signs with peace signs and other vague messages of solidarity, such as, “Join the conversation”. Then, in the midst of the chaos, Kendall Jenner, a wealthy white woman, interrupts her photoshoot and joins the crowd with a can of Pepsi in her hand. She casually struts towards one of the policeman and hands him the drink, which is followed by a cheer from the crowd.


People took to Twitter to post sarcastic collages of images that compared the ad and actual demonstrations that have occurred in the country. Most famously, the image of Ieisha Evans, a black woman, who was arrested for simply standing in front of the police back in July, in Baton Rouge, LA. Critics have called Kendall Jenner’s encounter with the police in the ad a perfect example of white privilege and ignorance. Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, also took to Twitter, posting a picture of her father standing with arms locked with other protesters while being pushed by the police with the caption, “If only Daddy had known the power of #Pepsi.” Some critics are also pointing out that Kendall Jenner is also to blame, as she was aware of the content of the ad and signed the contract regardless.


Pepsi stated in an announcement, that they had, “missed the mark” and subsequently apologized to Kendall Jenner for placing her in the middle of controversy. However, this is not the first time Jenner has been accused of appropriation. In 2015, the model was criticized for her cornrows, a traditionally black hairstyle.