Taco Bell: It's all about the Roosevelts (Baby?)
The minstrel show has gone white. What's up with all the blackface as done in boldface and blatant in advertising these days? There has been a slew of commercials with the same premise of white people acting out, mocking, replicating, biting, pretending to be black people. I suppose it's a homage to make Puffy proud as opposed to just a culture grab, but it's still over done. This 2:00 spot takes every rap video cliche and casted a few white guys and some iron thighed white women to shake their best video garden tool parts to cause a stir in the young white male hearts. At least I believe that's who the target is and these days it doesn't hurt to get a little negative press to mask insensitivity as edgy. See Burger King's square butts for children video and a myriad of burb babies-cum-hoody.
But hey it's not like Black people don't borrow from White culture sometimes too. It just seems that when Black people do it we own it. We change it, we know it implicitly, dare I say we master it. In a sense there is an unspoken respect and adherence to the codified language of whiteness. I think if general market agencies want to continue to borrow so heavily from Black culture it's fine, but do something greater with it. Flip it, change it. Take it somewhere new, like many other cultures do. See M.I.A. and her brand of rap music. She implores us to listen by loving hip hop and her own culture so much that the marriage feels genuine and authentic. Not just as shallow or thin as a dusky coat of black face make-up. Not just to repeatedly say, "Look at me, I'm doing something sorta like what Black people do, duh, aint I funny?" Hip Hop culture is not funny just because it has a White face spitting into a mic. The key is to truly appreciate, honor and respect the culture. Study it to see and understand it's virtues. I guarantee the homework will show up on the test, that is to say; the earnest appreciation will translate well in your final advertising work. Oh and by the way, not meaning to harp here, well yes I do, hiring a more diverse advertising team would not hurt you. In fact it may save you a few hospital trips if the wrong people find out who keeps making these ads. But I jest, like a jester, not a minstrel.
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