This past weekend Burger King released a commercial featuring Mary J. Blige singing about one of its new menu items -- the fried chicken snack wrap. It's cornier than all get out, but it's also left some flaming mad.
Some in the African American community are outraged that Blige dared to sing about fried chicken, which is stereotypically linked to blacks in this country. I fail to see the problem of a black woman who likes chicken choosing to sing about it, especially since chicken was just one of the ingredients in the wrap, which seems more like a taco than anything else. She sings, "crispy chicken, fresh lettuce, three cheeses, ranch dressing, wrapped up in a tasty flour tortilla," but plenty of others see a BIG problem with it for its promotion of racial stereotypes. A writer at Madame Noire called it "buffoonish."
I suppose we could debate all day whether Black people singing about chicken in any way, shape, or form is offensive, but I think one thing on which most everyone can agree is that Burger King completely chickened out when it came to answering the outcry.
They pulled the ad yesterday, but said it was because it was released "before all of the licensing and final approvals were obtained." In a statement BK continued: "We would like to apologize to Mary J. and all of her fans for airing an ad that was not final."
Okay, but what about the issue of the chicken? NO mention of that at all amidst all of the controversy? What about that huge elephant in the room/chicken that has everyone so fired up? We're supposed to believe that has nothing to do with their decision to pull it? They say the "final" version of the commercial will be released soon, but don't mention if she'll be singing about the same sandwich.
Even Mary J. Blige has failed to address the hot issue at hand here and really chickens out herself. She told TMZ:
I agreed to be a part of a fun and creative campaign that was supposed to feature a dream sequence. Unfortunately, that's not what was happening in that clip. I understand my fans being upset by what they saw. But, if you’re a Mary fan, you have to know I would never allow an unfinished spot like the one you saw go out.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FRIED CHICKEN?
Clearly she knew she was singing about it, so is it just because the commercial is crappy that she's apologizing? That's hard to believe.
With so much unresolved racial tension in this country, you would think that having an open conversation about things like this would be welcome. I would love to hear Mary come out and say why she doesn't think it promotes racial stereotypes, why she chose to do it, or even why she regrets doing it. I'd love to see BK explain what the backlash has meant to them and why they regret or stand by their decision. If we can't discuss issues like chicken, then how are we ever going to move forward on the bigger issues?
Check out the commercial here and see what you think:
Do you think the commercial promotes racial stereotypes? What do you think of Burger King's explanation as to why they pulled it? What about Mary J. Blige's reaction?
Image via TMZ