A new PSA, for which Katy Perry was the executive producer, is addressing Donald Trump’s proposed registry of Muslim Americans. The short film, titled “Is History Repeating Itself?” is as serious as the situation, but it’s not your run-of-the-mill celeb-filled PSA. In fact, Perry doesn’t even appear in the 2 minutes and 42 seconds long ad. It does, however, include a bone-chilling plot twist.
The film jarringly uses history as a warning. It features 89-year-old Haru Kuromiya’s story of being incarcerated in a internment camp simply because of her Japanese heritage. The film opens with this message to set the tone:
Kuromiya’s heartbreaking story about her family’s government-enforced incarceration enumerates the various steps which occurred to normalizing such blatant discrimination. She says,
Listening to Kuromiya tell her story is powerful as is, but towards the end of the video — spoiler ahead — viewers realize that the person telling this tale of horrific prejudice is actually Muslim actress, Hina Khan, who was wearing prosthetics. Watch PSA for yourself:
According to Mashable, Perry’s funding of the PSA allowed for use of the expensive prosthetics. The film was directed by Japanese-Australian filmmaker Aya Tanimura, who took to Twitter to thank Perry for her support.
Although the opportunity to tell her own story was not granted to Haru Kuromiya (whose true biography was used for the film), the film draws similarities between the treatment of Japanese Americans in the past to Muslim Americans today. Islamophobia is undoubtedly rampant, and such widespread fear and discrimination will likely have tragic repercussions in the future. Luckily, you can help by being a ally to Muslims and preventing the spread of Islamophobia.
While the repeated history of Japanese internment seems unfathomable, this PSA indicates that it’s not. In order to prevent the past from occurring again today, the film suggests, we cannot allow fearful rhetoric normalize hatred; a simple yet important message we all need to hear.