What’s Wrong with Mary J. Blige’s Burger King Ad?
Mary J. Blige recently starred in Burger King’s crispy chicken snack wrap commercial. The ad quickly drew the ire of the African-American community (something about a black woman crooning soulfully about chicken snack wraps just didn’t sit well with folks). Burger King has now pulled the ad.
Mary J. Blige, iconic black singer + a chicken commercial = not a good look. It just hits the wrong notes. But why? As Clutch Magazine observes, “the stereotype about black folks loving chicken is hundreds of years old, yet it seems more rampant in fast food advertising of the past few years than ever before.” An important point. But where do we draw the line between cultural stereotypes and good ol’ hustle?
Let’s be clear on one thing. The commercial itself is hot garbage, with or without MJB. Mary’s voice, of course, still sounds like honey even when she’s singing about a damn chicken wrap (maybe that’s what BK is going for here — the notion that Mary could sing about fast-food and make it sound delicious). But the commercial in general did nothing for me, not to mention that BK’s chicken snack wrap sounds like death. So, aside from the commercial being mediocre, what’s the crime here? If this was Taylor Swift singing about chicken, would it have made a difference?
Funny, Burger King insists it pulled the spot because of licensing issues, not because of the backlash. Riiiiight. The fast-food chain was also swift to point out that it has also released other commercials with Jay Leno (in which he drives one of his classic cars into a BK with a random black dude) and Salma Hayek (in which she slings crispy soft chicken as a Spanish-speaking seductress) that don’t seem to be generating the same uproar.
So, they’re clearly aware of the outrage over MJB’s ad, even if they’re not acknowledging it publicly. Oh, BK is planning to relaunch the commercial, but no mention on whether it will return in its original form.
So here’s my question to Roc4Lifers: What’s wrong with Mary’s Burger King ad?