By now you may have already seen Mary J. Blige sing her heart out on behalf of the “exciting things happening” at Burger King, namely its crispy chicken snack wrap. Or, you may have clicked on a link that was supposed to lead to the commercial but found that the spot had already been removed. The video spread quickly yesterday and was met with a collective “WTF?” from the internet community, so it seems that even Burger King has figured out that there’s something funky about the ad besides Mary’s signature soulful vocals.
But there’s not really one glaring problem with the ad, there are a few problems, each of which contribute to a general feeling of malaise that’s hard to ignore.
1. Yet Another Black Person Singing About Fast Food Chicken. Watching MJB put her whole back into singing a fried chicken carol forces me to ponder how far we’ve come as a people, a contemplation that I just don’t have time for in 2012. Annie The Chicken Queen of Popeye’s fame comes to mind, as does McDonald’s Chicken McNugget r&b love song. 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. We clearly have larger issues to worry about than the proliferation of old myths, but when a legitimate commercial seems to mirror itself after a spoof of its own subgenre, there’s a problem.