Mary J. Blige Cries “Fowl,” Blames Burger King For Chicken Controversy
Mary J. Blige has finally released a statement about the Burger King commercial that roused critics who called out the singer and the fast food company for portraying stereotypical images.
“I agreed to be a part of a fun and creative campaign that was supposed to feature a dream sequence,” Mary J. Blige told TMZ.com. “Unfortunately, that’s not what was happening in that clip.”
Blige found herself in hot grease earlier this week when Burger King released a commercial that showed the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul singing the praises of crispy chicken wraps. The video was removed after critics called out Mary J’s performance for what was classified as stereotypical depictions of African-Americans.
“I understand my fans being upset by what they saw,” she said in the statement. “But, if you’re a Mary fan, you have to know I would never allow an unfinished spot like the one you saw go out.”
In the commercial, a Burger King manager asks Blige to explain to patrons what’s in the new chicken wraps. The place turns into a club atmosphere,and Blige can be seen in the ad standing atop Burger King tables, singing the praises of the new crispy chicken snack wraps. A group of kids start dancing as do the customers.
“Crispy chicken, fresh lettuce, three cheeses, ranch dressing wrapped up in a tasty, flour tortilla,” the nine-time Grammy winner croons.
As CBSLocal previously reported, the ad was part of a new celebrity-driven Burger King campaign designed to revive the fast food brand, that has fallen to second behind Wendy’s, a recent report said. Mary J. Blige was not the only celebrity on hand to shill for BK. Jay Leno, David Beckham, Salma Hayek, Sofia Vergara and Steven Tyler also dropped commercials.
While Tyler also “gets things rocking for Crispy Chicken Strips,” according to the press release announcing the campaign, much of the criticism surrounding Mary’s performance has to do with stereotypes concerning black people and fried chicken.
In usual pile-on fashion, the Twitterverse reacted with scorn. The most notable critique came from Steve Stoute, founder of Translation, an advertising company that built a reputation for marrying hip-hop culture and Wall Street in an authentic way.
The issue is the burger king commercial is thT these agencies visit culture and then do work that is so in authentic it’s embarrassing
— Steve Stoute (@SteveStoute) April 3, 2012
While many speculate that Mary J. Blige’s spot had been removed by BK execs in an attempt to dampen the controversy, the company representative released a statement to CBS Local.
“The Mary J. Blige advertisement has been pulled due to a licensing issue,” the statement said. “BURGER KING® expects to have the Blige ads back on air soon.”
Blige has not released a statement regarding her involvement in the ad. Judging by the reaction to the removal, fans will be starving for more information for days to come. See video [here].
–Erik Parker, CBS Local