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Mary. J. Blige referred to her infamous Burger King commercial as “buffoonery”  during an interview with Hot 97 in New York, reports

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“I want to apologize to everyone who was offended or thought that I would do something so disrespectful to our culture,” said Blige. “I would never do anything like that purposefully. I thought I was doing something right, so forgive me.

“I got this sweat and I said real calm, ‘This too shall pass’,” Blige continued. “But it kept getting worse and worse and worse…and all I can see is ‘Burger King’ and ‘chicken’ and ‘buffoonery’. It just broke my heart.”

See Mary J. Blige BK ad below:

Ms. Blige continues: I would never just bust out singing about chicken and chicken wings. It hurt my feelings and crushed me for two days. My heart dropped down to my stomach.

Though she admitted that the commercial was a “mistake,” she said that she thought it would be shot in a “ironic” way. She did, however, admit to taking it as a “branding” opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Mary. “Not Gon Cry” and “Missing You” got me through some rough days. But I’m really not understanding how she wants anyone to believe that editing or strategic cinematography had anything to do with the commercial. No one edited in her singing about “crispy chicken and fresh lettuce.” That was all M.J.

I defended her choice when the manufactured controversy initially broke. In an article for Clutch Magazine, I discussed how historical stereotypes were the race-traitors, not Mary J. Blige:

It would be different if the outcry was because fast food restaurants are as much a part of the urban landscape as pawnshops, nail shops, bail-bondsmen and pay-day loan establishments, all of the aforementioned symptoms of a post-traumatic slave syndrome that often find our people broke, striving for conformity, dodging prison and/or eviction – only able to afford the dollar menu at a Burger King or McDonalds. If the anger was overflowing because Black people have higher rates of mortality, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, often brought about by our above-average ingestion of fatty, salty and processed foods, then I’m joining the chorus right along with the masses.

But to be mad at Mary and BK over a jingle about chicken in a tortilla wrap because it’s racist? Stop it, people. Right now.

It’s not like she’s shuffling around like Step-n-fetchit, wearing blackface with a plate of fried chicken thighs in her hands, offering massa his dinner. She simply says “crispy chicken” and you would have thought she was as much of a sell-out as George Zimmerman’s friend, Joe Oliver, or Allen “Harriet Tubman” West, both men, by the way, who would be so afraid for white people to see them eating chicken, they probably close all their curtains and blinds and lock all doors before taking the first bite.

In the end, though, Mary J. would like us to believe that she was bamboozled into singing about fried chicken by The White Man, and that she would never do something so damaging to her people. Instead of using this as the perfect time to talk racial stereotypes in a contemporary narrative, she instead chose to play heart-broken victim.

I had a lot more respect for her before she made this statement and to make matters worse, as Indiewire so aptly pointed out:

She never did say if she was returned the $2 million she allegedly earned from the commercial.

So, who’s really being bamboozled here?


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