Have It Your Way… Unless You’re Black

While the culinary department at Burger King is busy adding healthier choices like salads and fruit smoothies to the fast food behemoth’s menu, the creative minds at New York-based Mother Advertising (the agency responsible for Chevrolet’s centennial campaign) have been trying to find ways to push the notion that the birthplace of something called the “Whopper” is no longer just about burgers and fries. Recently, televisions ‘round the world saw the launch of a campaign that showcased a number of celebrities – like Jay Leno, Steven Tyler and David Beckham – entering the restaurant and ordering the new items. But, perhaps to no one’s surprise (ed. note: you can tell because you’re reading it here), some group of idiots took offense to one of the spots, in particular.

The commercial in question features a regular ol’ customer whose order is interrupted by R&B sensation, Mary J. Blige. The Grammy Award winner proceeds to belt out a tune that could be called, “Ode to a Crispy Chicken Wrap,” and, within days of the ad’s release, someone named Renay Alize (let’s hear it for phonetically-spelled names) of Madame Noir – whose website description begins, “Black women’s lifestyle guide for the latest in black hair care…” – had this to say in an open letter to Mary J.:

This is so beneath you. This harmonizing about chicken is a move I would associate with someone whose glory days were far behind them. You still have so much more to contribute to the arts and entertainment game that there was no reason you had to stoop to stereotypes. And I know you may be thinking everybody, across the world, loves chicken. It’s true, most people get down with the poultry; but as a black woman, singing passionately about chicken is not the move!

And while I’ll be the first to admit, I do get down with the poultry on a near-daily basis, I think what Mme. Alize has failed to acknowledge is something else we all enjoy, probably even more than chicken. I’m speaking, of course, about money. I’m sure Mary J. Blige likes cashing checks as much as the rest of us, and I commend her for not taking herself too seriously. With a little luck and some more people with her sense of humor, maybe the day will come when I won’t feel so awkward about buying a watermelon from the cute, black girl at the supermarket.

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One thought on “Have It Your Way… Unless You’re Black

  1. Jake says:

    I didnt even think about the color of her skin in relation to singing about the chicken until Renay brought it up. I guess some of us still only see color at first glance when looking at people. :/

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