If you’ve seen Rebecca Sugar’s groundbreaking cartoon Steven Universe, you know it’s a show about celebrating differences, being yourself, and love of all kinds. But the show doesn’t stop at having positive messages in its episodes, Cartoon Network also has been making a series of television spots and PSAs to get even more deliberate about the message. The latest spot, now airing on the Cartoon Network, has Garnet reminding kids that denying racism exists is part of the problem.
The new minute and a half long commercial starts with two boys playing in a park holding hands. One of the boys says to the other “hey, when we’re older let’s get married!” This is when a third child appears and she laughs at the boys and says “you can’t get married… Black people cant marry white people!”
This of course is when Garnet, who is voiced by Estelle, steps in. “Kids, don’t be racist,” she says to the excited and surprised children. This is where the ad gets meta.
Suddenly a voice off screen says “cut!” as we see this is just a set with actors filming an anti-racism PSA. The director tells everyone to take five minutes and come back. The kids all break character and the white boy starts to complain about the job.
“This is the cheesiest job I’ve ever done,” he says. “Stuff like this doesn’t actually happen in real life.”The other kids are quick to correct him.
“Are you kidding? It totally does,” the other boy says, “you gotta realize, it hurts to deal with racism, and when people act like it’s not real, it makes it feel worse.” Garnet adds “just because this has never happened to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.” She tells the kid that in order to fight racism, you have to first acknowledge that it exists.
The bright and cute tv spot with wonderful stylized animation ends with the phrase “Don’t deny it, defy it! Be Anti-racist” and gives a link where kids and adults can go to learn more. At crystalgemsspeakup.com you can watch the PSA and find resources to help you become more educated on anti-racism. This is what we love to see kids shows doing.