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ENTERTAINMENT 18 • the mississippi link

April 12 - 18, 2012

BK’s surprising reason for pulling Mary J. Blige chicken ad The Mary J. Blige Burger King chicken wraps ad that’s got black folks on the net buzzin’ has been pulled. That’s news most of you may already know. But what you may not suspect is why it was pulled. Conventional wisdom says it was because of the negative reaction from black folks, it’s intended audience. However, according to Burger King, it was pulled because of music licensing issues - not criticism of the ad. The spot debuted this week and in it, Blige sings soulfully about chicken snack wraps. Burger King said Arpril 3 the commercial was pulled because of a licensing concern. The company, reports The AP, said it hopes to have the Blige “ads back on the air soon,” though a spokeswoman would not comment on whether the ads would be the same. As the video went viral, some in

the black community criticized it as stereotypical. Madame Noire even posted an open letter to Blige titled, “Her Buffoonish Burger King Commercial.” The letter/ blog criticizes Blige for participating in the commercial, say- Blige ing that the advert was a purposeful blow about black people. “Having a black woman sing about chicken was no mistake,” writes Renay Alize, “they’re trying to reach the ‘urban’ (aka black) demographic and they used you.” The VP of North American marketing Alex Macedo attempted to explain the move and justify the ad campaign. “The big challenge is how do you really grab people’s attention?”

Mary J. Blige finally speaks out on her controversial BK chicken ad As far as Mary J. Blige is concerned, Burger King ran with the now controversial chicken wraps ad, featuring her, before it was ready to be seen. Blidge said she never signed off on the production … at least not the version that went viral (if only briefly before it was pulled) on the Internet. “I agreed to be a part of a fun and creative campaign that was supposed to feature a dream sequence,” Blidge told TMZ in a statement. “Unfortunately, that’s not what was

happening in that clip.” The spot - which Burger King has since yanked from its YouTube site - features Blige singing about a new crispy chicken wrap. The ad drew tons of criticism on Twitter for playing off a stereotype about AfricanAmericans and chicken. She also said, “I understand my fans being upset by what they saw. But, if you’re a Mary fan, you have to know I would never allow an unfinished spot like the one you saw to go out.” Burger King confirms the ad was released prematurely … “before all

CNN’s Don Lemon: Stop calling me racist on Twitter…Twitter: Go work at BET video By Tommy Christopher

Macedo said, “And, most of all, how do you get them to taste the product? We chose celebrities to get people’s attention faster and to show the diversity that we have with our brand.” Burger King’s new ads come in direct response to its declining sales. Last month, food industry research firm Technomic announced that Wendy’s had dethroned the Burger King for the first time ever, becoming the country’s second most popular burger chain.

Blige of the licensing and final approvals were obtained.” The fast food giant also said, “We would like to apologize to Mary J. and all of her fans for airing an ad that was not final.” Burger King said the final, approved version will be released soon.

The coverage of the Trayvon Martin story, like the incident itself, has been a case study in microcosmic illustrations of larger themes in our society. One such instant cable news parable occurred Sunday night, when CNN’s Don Lemon was interviewing commentatorabout-town Goldie Taylor about the social faultlines this case has exposed, and casually said, as an aside, “please don’t send me any more tweets that by having this conversation, I’m a racist.” After a commercial break, Lemon revealed that someone on Twitter had responded by saying, “Don Lemon, you are a racist. You are fixated on this one issue over and over. We want to hear the news, not your personal agenda. Go work for BET.” Aside from the obvious contradiction inherent in calling Don Lemon a racist while telling him to go work at BET, it raises the question of what the inverse of that tweet would be. Go work at…pretty much anywhere else on TV? It could have been worse, I suppose. Just ask Soledad O’Brien, who unleashed a torrent of attacks when she asked for people to “stop the crazy tweets” about Critical Race Theory. Lemon added, “That was the nice one. He didn’t call me the n-word.” Goldie Taylor offered her own

amusing Twitter exchange. “I”ve been called the n word more, c o l l e c t i v e l y, over the last 72 hours than I have my whole life,” she said. “It’s amazing to me what people will say with the anonymity of a tweet.” Lemon asked, “What did they say?” “I was checking my Twitter, and someone Lemon said, ‘I’ll shoot you,’ and my response was, ‘You better be a quicker draw.’” Taylor and Lemon also made a great point about recent criticism by Fox News contributor Liz Trotta that black journalists “hurt their credibility” by talking about personal experiences with racial profiling. “When we talk about race in these stories,” Lemon said, “this is the only place where some people - I saw a story about a journalist who had been profiled, shared their experiences, but they shouldn’t do that because it takes away from their credibility. This is the only subject matter where experience doesn’t count.” Goldie added, “I’m an opinion writer, so I’m not a journalist, a reporter, I tend to share my personal experience, put context around a story, especially those

I’m most passionate about. But to say that working journalists don’t have the right or platform to speak from their own experiences and put a context around the story, I think that’s really an unfortunate indictment to be made.” While a certain segment of the population, the ones who are telling Don Lemon to go work at BET, seem to think that the media has been focusing too much on the racial aspects of the Trayvon Martin story (the undeniable racial aspects, by the way), a new study from Pew shows that coverage of the Trayvon Martin killing has actually not been focused on race. On cable and talk radio, race comes in a distant seventh place in the media’s focus, trailed only by “sympathy for Trayvon.”


By Tommy Christopher Lemon of the licensing and final approvals were obtained.” The fast food giant also said, “We would like t...