On April 4th, Pepsi revealed their latest campaign dubbed "Live for Now." The commercial portrays reality TV personality turned model Kendall Jenner as an unassuming negotiator between a crowd of protestors and riot cops. As the story goes, Jenner prevents the imminent protest by offering one of the cops a can of Pepsi. She does this to the soundtrack of Skip Marley's "Lions."
Skip, the grandson of Reggae music legend and activist Bob Marley, recently collaborated with pop star Katy Perry on her tune "Chained to the Rhythm." The socially conscious track has thrusted the young Marley into the limelight, with some proclaiming him to be Reggae music's next big star. That seemed to be an accurate prediction up until a day ago. Now this stinkin' dutty Pepsi commercial is totally undermining the irie vibes the youth is intent on spreading. Throughout the (now defunct) ad you hear the voice of Marley chanting "We are the lions, we are the chosen, we gonna shine out the dark. We are the movement, this generation, you're gonna know who we are."  Indeed Skip, you are and we will, but a can of Pepsi will not be the catalyst for change. I want to believe that the young cub was grossly misinformed about the content of the ad, that his naivete and his will to be an agent of change was exploited by the soft drink behemoth. I mean, what other explanation is there for this out-of-tune collaboration? As ambitious an anthem that it is, Marley couldn't have possibly thought that a privileged supermodel offering a can of Pepsi to a cop could solve all the world's ills. Or did he? What I mean is, though he sings about the hardships of the less fortunate, in actuality he's not subjected to that lifestyle. On the contrary, Skip inhabits that same bubble in which Kendall Jenner dwells. They remain on the inside looking out, sympathizing with the disenfranchised, but not truly understanding the struggle. Now, don't misinterpret my analysis of this debacle as judgement on him. No, I thank Skip for attempting to use his platform to serve the greater good. I am suggesting; however, that he scrutinizes the fine print the next time he considers aligning himself with an international brand.  He has to be sure that his vision will be communicated with integrity, all the while remembering the brand's primary objective is making money. Because at the end of the day, and as his granddaddy Bob sings in his lyrics, "hypocrites and parasites, will come up and take a bite" and we'll all be back at this place again with a bad taste in our mouths.