A new social media campaign entitled #ITakeResponsibility, in which white celebrities discuss their complicity in systemic racism and challenge others to do the same, is receiving a less-than-enthusiastic response on social media, with criticism that, like the infamous “Imagine” cover released as the coronavirus pandemic was taking off in the West, the stars aren’t quite reading the room in a time of crisis.
Famous performers and influencers launched the #ITakeResponsibility social media campaign on Thursday in collaboration with the NAACP, encouraging the internet to use the hashtag to post their own videos about complicity in systemic racism and donate to organizations fighting injustice.
In the two-minute-long, black-and-white PSA video, celebrities including Stanley Tucci, Julianne Moore, Aaron Paul and Kesha apologize for past direct or indirect involvement in racism and stereotyping.
“I will no longer allow an unchecked moment, I will no longer allow racist, hurtful words, jokes, stereotypes, no matter how big or small to be uttered in my presence,” said Tucci, whose name was temporarily trending on Twitter as people accused him of reading a script while filming the video.
The response on social media has been predominantly negative, with many criticizing the video as requiring little effort and lacking tangible impact.
The video drew comparisons to a pandemic-inspired cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” that was orchestrated by actress Gal Gadot with celebrities including Jimmy Fallon, Natalie Portman, and Will Ferrell; it was widely panned, with some saying the celebrities should have done something more substantial to aid relief efforts.
A number of celebrities and brands have made donations to Black Lives Matter, including K-pop group BTS, which put up $1 million and challenged fans to match it. Basketball star Michael Jordan and the Nike-owned Jordan Brand also pledged to give $100 million over the next 10 years to organizations dedicated to racial equality, social justice and education access.
“This ‘Imagine’ Cover Is No Heaven” (The New York Times)
“Here are the celebrities donating to Black Lives Matter” (The Hill)
“Michael Jordan And Jordan Brand Pledge $100 Million To Racial Equality” (Forbes)