Pepsi’s new “Live for the Moments” video starring model and reality star Kendall Jenner is facing major backlash on social media, with viewers denouncing the commercial as tone deaf and an appropriation of protests around the Black Lives Matter movement.
The video begins with “Lions” by Skip Marley playing in the background. Jenner dons a blonde wig with and dark lipstick and models for a mock photoshoot as protestors walk by outside. Eventually, Jenner rips off her wig, wipes off her makeup and joins the protestors in marching for an unidentified cause. The video culminates with Jenner handing a can of Pepsi to a police officer, and the crowd of marchers cheers.
Reaction on social media has been mostly negative so far, despite Jenner’s being the first model since Cindy Crawford to have a Pepsi Global campaign. Many have called the video tone deaf, while others have accused the imagery of inappropriately mimicking a viral photo of Black Lives Matter protestor Leshia Evans, who was detained when she approached police at a demonstration in Baton Rogue, Louisiana. Evans — who did not have a Pepsi at the ready — was arrested, unlike Jenner.
“You know how teachers in well-intentioned, but unavoidably cringey ‘90s movies starring some nice white lady tried to appeal to the youth by having her rap Shakespeare?” the Huffington Post reviewed the video. “Well, a new Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner is kind of like that, but somehow even more terrible.”