Chicken and Checks

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So says the people at Burger King to those folks frying poultry at Popeye’s: I see your Annie The Chicken Queen and raise you a Queen of Soul. By now you’ve heard about this campaign launched by BK starring MJB. Or former campaign I should say. The fast food chain has quickly axed the ad, citing “licensing issues.”

Or as they put it: “The Mary J. Blige advertisement has been pulled due to a licensing issue. BURGER KING® expects to have the Blige ads back on air soon.”

If you believe that, you probably also believe Mary made the crispy chicken and topped it with fresh lettuce, three cheeses, ranch dressing and wrapped it in a tasty flour tortilla herself.

What really got them to can this commercial is the onslaught of criticism led by The Coon Police. If you’re unfamiliar, the Coon Squad does it best to make sure one of our own isn’t embarrassing the fuck out of us on some bullshit. I suppose you can say I’m an occasion volunteer, but I can’t ever be a full-fledged member given I’m not always willing to hand someone some off brand tap dance shoes in a fit of disgust. Part of that stems from the realization that in some cases I am just as culpable.

To wit, time for a confession: I sometimes sing while baking hot wings. Or lemon pepper wings. Or some sesame wings. Or Hawaiian wings. Or whatever sort of wings I make with the ad of Lawry’s seasoning.

Yeah, I said it: Lawyr’s.

Want to know how the song goes?

Chicken wings/Chicken wings/Oooh, oooh, oooh, chicken wings

I sometimes add a “nigga” at the end for dramatic effect. I have also been known to jig, get it big while frying some fish. Eating sushi even. Maybe I’m just greedy or perhaps I just ain’t shit. Whatever the case, I can’t condemn Mary J. Blige for singing about a crispy chicken snack wrap for a reported $2 million when I do the same shit for free in a rented kitchen.

Y’all know I love Mary J. Blige (if you weren’t aware, catch up here) so it’s hard for me to go in on someone I have such appreciation for. Plus, this “Don’t Mind” remix about the new Burger King menu item has probably been her most requested song in God knows how long. And really, when is the last time you’ve heard so many people talk about Burger King? The only time I can recall was when I had baby teeth and rocked their paper crowns.

Had Mary literally tap danced while sucking the breading off her strip in a close up, then I’d be more inclined to join in on the criticism. Otherwise, it’s not so much the issue of Mary crooning about chicken as it is the concept just being unintentionally hilarious. Getting Mary J. Blige to offer a “dynomite” like quip about “What’s in the new chicken wrap” and proceeding to sing the answer wasn’t the greatest concept. Like, this is a bad, bad idea for a commercial. It will rank as an all-time viral favorite if the Internet has its say and for good reason.

Even still, some of you out here are doing the absolute most. “Is it racist? Is Mary cooning? Isn’t she supposed to be the queen?” To all that I say: Not really. That’s pushing it. She still is.

Some Black people still have an aversion to publicly admitting a fondness of fried chicken. That’s understandable, though while I do still protest some stereotypes about us perpetuated by the mainstream, I’ve learned over time that in some cases it may be best to let it ride. People will think what that want and this issue just feels rather minuscule as opposed to what else is out there.

I honestly find the McDonalds commercials more insulting. Not necessarily because the spots are awful, merely that the company seems to think that’s the only way to advertise to us. Conversely, this BK ad is multi-racial and goofy for all.

I will give critics one thing: Mary J. Blige ought to be more selective about her side hustles. Then again, times are hard and artists aren’t the big bank rollers everyone fancies them to be. For the record, if Burger King offered me $2 million to do this ad, I’d not only do it, but I’d throw in a clause for free crispy strip wraps for a year in exchange for me Josephine Johnnying in the commercial. I’d likely give the food to the needier, however. BK, outside of their onion rings, got hella nasty.

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