Anti-Racism Celeb PSA ‘I Take Responsibility’ is the New ‘Imagine’

Kesha, Aaron Paul and Bryce Dallas Howard fixing racism. (YouTube)

Remember back in March when Wonder Woman got a pile of celebrities together to fix COVID-19 by singing “Imagine”? And it was impossible to imagine anything more cringeworthy? Well, hang onto your pants everyone, because an even more insufferable celebrity montage just came along.

It’s the I Take Responsibility pledge, and it looks like this:

That's right! Having not learned any lessons from the public annihilation of “Imagine” on Twitter, celebrities I thought were cool yesterday are now getting together to solve racism by dramatically reading words off cue cards. (We can see your eyes moving, Debra Messing and Stanley Tucci!)

I had hoped that Sarah Paulson, Justin Theroux, Kristen Bell and Julianne Moore were far too sensible and self-aware to indulge in this kind of performative nonsense, but here we are.

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In all fairness, if you manage to sit through the clip long enough to get the name of the website, itakeresponsibility.org does have some useful resources. There are links to donate to The Bail Project, as well as the families of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. (Though Breonna’s name is spelled wrong at one point. Ugh.) And there are links to police reform campaigns, #8 Cant Wait, Campaign Zero and Reclaim the Block.

Crucially, however, you're not allowed to look at any information on the website or get to the “Donate” button until you've ticked these boxes:

And if you go back to the website more than once, you have to tick those stupid boxes to “Get Started” every single time.

Raising money for good causes and asking people to hold themselves personally accountable for racism are both excellent things to do. Obviously. But surely enough has happened in the last few weeks to know all of this without having to sit through chest-clutching dramatic readings from well-meaning celebrities.

Being told that Black people “are our friends and family” and “shopping in a store should not be a death sentence”—like we didn't previously know those things—is beyond facile. I for one would have preferred a video in which these celebs discussed concrete plans for being useful to the struggle moving forward. But I’d also have settled for one in which they publicly declared how much money they're donating.