This Cringe-Worthy Anti-Racism PSA Shows That Celebrities Didn’t Learn Anything From “Imagine” Backlash

Elijah C. Watson Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When…
This Cringe-Worthy Anti-Racism PSA Shows That Celebrities Didn't Learn Anything From "Imagine" Backlash
Screengrab via YouTube

White celebrities are taking responsibility for racism in this new bizarre and cringe-worthy anti-racism PSA.

“I take responsibility.”

These words, uttered by actor Sarah Paulson, starts off a PSA that hasn’t been received well since surfacing on social media. The two-minute-long video finds a handful of white celebrities — Paulson, Aaron Paul, Kesha, Bethany Joy Lenz, Kristen Bell, Justin Theroux, Debra Messing, Mark Duplass, Bryce Dallas Howard, Julianne Moore, Piper Perabo, Stanley Tucci, Ilana Glazer, and Aly Raisman — saying “I take responsibility” for “every not so funny joke, every unfair stereotype,” and every time they “explained away police brutality.”

It’s a strange and cringey PSA that attempts to convey its sincerity and seriousness not only through how the actors deliver their lines (following Paulson, Paul makes his introduction in the video looking down with his hands put together as if he were praying, before raising his eyes to look into the camera and say, “I take responsibility”) but how it’s shot, too. It’s shot in black-and-white; there’s melancholy piano sounndtracking it all. It’s a bizarre attempt at taking a stand for Black lives, and a lot of people aren’t feeling it.


The PSA is for a new campaign called ITakeResponsibility, which aims “to stand up for our Black friends and family in America. Our goal is to rally the white community, to provide education and encourage action. Our mission is to ensure this takes place.”

On the website, users can even make their own #itakeresponsibility video and “share it with the world” and “challenge your friends to do the same.”

Needless to say, it seems as if celebrities didn’t learn from the backlash that that “Imagine” video received earlier this year.

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