Steven Universe’s Estelle Explains Why the Show’s Anti-Racism PSAs Are So Important

Steven Universe’s Estelle Explains Why the Show’s Anti-Racism PSAs Are So Important
Garnet shines on. (Screenshot: Cartoon Network/HBO Max)

While Apple Music’s The Estelle Show tends to focus on music spotlighted by the titular host, the most recent episode shook things up a bit when Estelle was joined by her fellow Steven Universe castmates and creator Rebecca Sugar to talk about the series’ fans and some of the thinking behind those new anti-racism public service announcements.

While discussing Steven Universe’s impact with Sugar, Michaela Dietz (who voices Amethyst), and Deedee Magno Hall (Pearl), Estelle (Garnet) made it clear that while she has heard from countless fans asking whether the original Crewniverse is getting back together to record new content, there’s currently nothing to announce other than that the whole of Steven Universe and Future are now streaming on HBO Max.

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But, as Dietz pointed out over the course of the discussion, the new PSAs Cartoon Network is running on its social media channels feature Steven Universe’s characters and some of its more important core themes that Estelle in particular was keen on seeing explored in situations closer to our own reality.

“I just wanted to find another way, and I’m just grateful that Rebecca and Ian [Jones-Quartey] and everybody up at Cartoon Network said, ‘Yes, let’s do this and let’s do something,’” Estelle said. “Because I think it is all of us, and once we all realise and understand, ‘OK, I may not be Black, but it affects me. It’s going to affect me, it’s going to affect somebody I love, it’s going to affect a friend, it’s going to.’”

Within the show itself, Steven Universe’s messages about growing through and past one’s trauma, embracing difference, and understanding that some people are simply toxic are presented with nuance and care. But it’s still possible to see the show as only telling a story about a bunch of magical aliens fighting an interstellar war, and completely missing the grounded lessons about humanity Steven Universe was always ultimately going for.

We shouldn’t need Garnet to remind children that racism exists simply because they don’t experience it personally, or for Pearl to explain how often our understandings of history are formed by white perspectives that have distorted the historical record. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to have these characters laying these ideas out plainly, both to inform people, and to remind everyone that this kind of storytelling is a big part of what made Steven Universe so strong.

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