By now, most of you probably have seen or heard about the Burger King commercial featuring Mary J. Blige singing about their chicken wraps. As a result of this unfinished video clip, an outrage has spread across some of the black community. This outrage was fueled by the black women-oriented website Madame Noire who said the ad was “utter buffoonery,” and the popular TV host Wendy Williams, of “The Wendy Williams Show” who described the video as a “sad day for my people,” with “my people” referring to Black Americans, amongst other sources and commentators. I have watched the video and as a person of color, I cannot say that I am offended by the commercial or upset that Mary J. Blige participated in the video. If the commercial was about burgers would it have made such an impact? According to critics of the video, it heightens a stereotype that blacks like chicken. Well, guess what everyone, most people like chicken. This situation is kind of like the “Streisand Effect” happening right now just in a different sense of the term. By all these people criticizing the meaning behind the commercial as being stereotypical, what they are really doing is shedding even more light on a stereotype that many are claiming they want forgotten.
Mary J. Blige seems like a smart, independent woman to me. She is a mega superstar that has amassed her fame over many years. I think that if she felt the commercial was going to be offensive, she probably would not have done it. In fact we all know the video was not finished. According to CBS news, Blige said that the ad didn’t come across the way it was planned and she would never put out an unfinished spot. Burger King said the ad was released prematurely and it hopes to have the final ad on the air soon.
We know that Burger King is hurting in comparison to other fast food giants. They’re trying to go public again and need as much shareholder support as possible. And yes, they as well as many fast food chains, have been known to largely target black populations and perhaps this is exactly what they were going for by employing a famous, black singer to sing about one of their products. But companies do this all time. They select particular spokespeople to target specific markets. It’s called target marketing.
So before everyone decides to lose their head about the ad, why don’t we all wait for the full video to be released? If you think you’re hurting Burger King with negative feedback, the likelihood is slim. The partially completed video is now viral, meaning more free advertising for Burger King. Now, probably more people than ever, are viewing the Burger King commercial and the chicken snack wraps. In the end I would like to know what is being accomplished from massively criticizing this unfinished ad? The stereotype is being widely aggrandized and we’re making assumptions that Burger King deliberately, played on this stereotype when we really have no basis for those claims, at least not at this moment anyway.
There are so many other factors that we should be protesting when it comes to these fast food giants like the quality or lack thereof of their foods and the fact that they grossly saturate low income areas, thereby, helping to increase obesity, diabetes and heart disease among low income Americans. These topics need a voice and I’d much rather see time spent on these things than on a multi-millionaire songstress singing about chicken.
BTW – Why wasn’t there as much push back on Popeyes’ “Annie the Chicken Queen” commercial, featuring a black woman as Annie the Chicken Queen?