Katy Perry's New PSA Might Surprise You, Which Is Exactly Why It's So Powerful

"Don't let history repeat itself."

A new public service announcement produced by Katy Perry takes an artistic approach to a relevant message. it might surprise you — and that's exactly why it's so important.

The video begins with a statistic: in 1942, more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans were forced into internment camps in the United States. One of those many thousands, an old woman named Haru Kuromiya, recalls her father being taken away by the FBI when she was young before she and her family were given numbers to wear and put on a train.

"It all started with fear and rumors, then it bloomed into the registration of Japanese-Americans, and then labeling with physical tags, and eventually internment," Kuromiya explains to the camera. 

But as we soon learn, not everything here is as it seems. The old woman removes her glasses, wig, and prosthetic face makeup to reveal that she is actually a young Muslim woman — Hina Khan, an actress of Pakistani heritage from Los Angeles. "Don't let history repeat itself," she says.

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The PSA, directed by Aya Tanimura and Tim Nackashi, is meant to compare the registration and internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II to recent calls for a database of Muslims in the United States. Kuromiya's story is true, and that's her voice telling it. The video's unsettling twist highlights the shock many people feel when confronted with the idea that something similar could happen today. 

Actor and activist George Takei has shared his own experience in an internment camp to demonstrate the very real consequences of hateful and divisive rhetoric against Muslims, Mexicans, and others. We may think of stories like Takei's and Kuromiya's as a thing of the past, but if we're not careful, they could become a modern reality.

Experience the full message in the video below:

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