Mary J Blige Apologizes For 'Racist' Ad
A seemingly innocent Burger King commercial, featuring R&B star Mary J Blige, has invited a considerable amount of backlash for being reportedly racist. The ad is a part of the new Burger King (BK) campaign, which shows a slew of celebrities apart from Blige, including David Beckham, Jay Leno, and Salma Hayek, selling new products on the BK menu. However, the kind of negative publicity generated by the Blige ad is not what BK was expecting. Read on to know more...
When Blige was first offered the change to sing in one of the BK commercials, about its new chicken wrap product, the soul singer was happy to receive the offer. Speaking in a radio interview, she had said, “It (the ad) was sold to us that I would be shot in an iconic way. I did it because I thought it was something that wouldn’t come out like that.” The ad was released in April this year and it shows Blige standing inside a BK outlet and singing about what goes into the new chicken wrap. After the backlash happened, Blige said, “I agreed to be a part of a fun and creative campaign that was supposed to feature a dream sequence. Unfortunately, that’s not was happening in that clip.”
As soon as the ad was released, many said that it showed the Black people in a stereotypical avatar. While representatives of the black community also called the ad stereotypical, a website dedicated to the black woman, Madame Noire, called the ad a piece of “buffoonery” and accused Blige of promoting negative imagery about black women and fried chicken. The ad also invited lot of criticism on Twitter, where commentators bashed it for encouraging stereotypes about African-Americans.
At the outset, Blige was stunned by the criticism that came her way, courtesy the BK ad. She also expressed regret over doing the ad, which the 41-year-old Grammy winner admitted, she was initially excited to be associated with. In an interview published after the fiasco became public, Blige ranted, “I would never just bust out singing about chicken and chicken wings. I want to apologize to everyone who was offended who thought I would do something that was so disrespectful to our culture. I would never do anything like that. I thought I was doing something right.” In a moment of weakness, Blige even “wanted to crawl under the bed.” She said that she was misled about the ad, as she confesses, “The whole debacle hurt my feelings. It crushed me for like two days.” She also apologized to her fans and rest of the public with this statement, “I would never do anything like that. I thought I was doing something right.” However, she was more hurt from the fact that people were targeting her too severely. She said, “I understood the laughter and the jokes and the stuff that was happening – you’re supposed to do that when something like that happens – but the thing that hurt me is when people were starting to say vicious, negative things that didn’t have (anything) to do with that. It exposed everyone and everything in my life and showed me who my friends are.”
The BK Defense
The Burger King pulled off the ad from YouTube just a day after it was launched, on the pretext that the ad was yet not finished. The company release said, “The ad was released before all of the licensing and final approvals were obtained.” The fast food chain said there were some music licensing issues with the ad and it did not admitted that the removal of the ad was because of any criticism over racism. In fact, the BK defense took the licensing issue to a new level by apologizing over the ad, as the company said, “We would like to apologize to Mary J. and all of her fans for airing an ad that was not final. We know how important Mary J. is to her fans, and we are currently in the process of finalizing the commercial.” The company said that it hoped to finalize the ad soon after which it would be aired.
Well, you heard all the sides in this case and though, the BK statement is compelling, it can hardly be called the truth, as there is nothing clearer than this. The Mary J. ad on Burger King reminds one of the time when Ashton Kutcher was looking for love in a ‘racist’ ad. Wonder when these celebrities will learn that there is a simple way to seek publicity, where they don’t have to court negativity.
Video Courtesy: youtube