“Crispy chicken, fresh lettuce, three cheeses, ranch dressing wrapped up in a tasty, flour tortilla,” Mary J. Blige sings in a new Burger King commercial that premiered on Monday. But after some controversy on Twitter the ad has disappeared from YouTube.
No one knows exactly why the ad was pulled but Gawker’s Rich Juzwiak has his theories:
The stereotype perpetuation of a black woman espousing the virtues of fried chicken is never a pleasant thing to behold, although Octavia Spencer didn’t cause much of an uproar for saying in The Help (for which she won an Oscar), “Frying chicken just tend to make you feel better about life” in a scene that was not intended to make you want to kill yourself. And if the issue is with Blige selling out, well, that’s been happening for years. In 2010, she used her soul-bearing rep to shill fragrance on QVC, and last year she released My Life II…The Journey Continues (Act 1), crassly capitalizing on her revered 1994 sophomore album despite her career-long shtick depending on her portrayal of her life through song. (In that sense, her tenth album, My Life II, was actually My Life IX.)
According to rumors, Blige earned an estimated $2 million for the ad. Other celebrities in the campaign (who’s videos are still live on YouTube) include soccer star David Beckham, Jay Leno and, in Spanish-language ads, actresses Salma Hayek and Sofia Vergara.
Award-winning campaign writer and producer Thembisa S. Mshaka also points out Burger King gave Blige the “short end of the chicken strip” making her “rude” and having her sell the unhealthiest item on the menu. (Other celebrities are pushing items with lower calorie counts.
Of all the endorsers, Mary is the only one who is rude, terse, and invasive. She interrupts the store manager with a sound-check type mic squeal-from ATOP a restaurant table. Leno, Salma and Beckham have sweet, fun dispositions-and are ALL at the counter, like normal people. Mary appears out of nowwhere, mad for no reason, over the contents of a chicken wrap, which she proceeds to outline in a song where she’s not so much singing as belting.