Mary J. Blige Understands Why Her Fans Are Upset By Burger King Chicken Wraps Commercial
The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul Mary J. Blige is being criticized for her depiction in a new commercial for Burger King that has been removed from the fast food restaurant's YouTube page just one day after its release.
Blige joins David Beckham, Jay Leno, Steven Tyler and Salma Hayek as one of the celebrities in Burger King's star-studded national advertising campaign to promote the restaurant's new menu.
In Blige's 30-second clip, a customer enters the eatery and asks for the ingredients in the crispy chicken snack wraps. Blige interjects, "What's in the new chicken wraps?" and launches into a hip-hop R&B song about the food item as the table she's standing on turns into the stage in a disco. She sings, "Crispy chicken, lettuce, three cheeses, ranch dressing, wrapped up inside a tasty flour tortilla."
Blige's fans expressed outrage online. Music journalist Jayson Rodriguez said he was confused about Blige's involvement in the spot. "Where's the Funny or Die! bumper at the end of the clip?" he wrote via Twitter.
Black Enterprise writer Janell Hazelwood said the commercial looked like a skit from "Saturday Night Live." Hazelwood noted that the endorsements from Leno and Beckham, which are still available on Burger King's YouTube channel, were not demeaning.
"Late-night talk show host Jay Leno and oh-so-fine soccer superstar David Beckham both have recent Burger King commercials, yet those do not include them making a mockery of their brands," she wrote.
Blige explains her concerns about the commercial in a statement released to TMZ. "I agreed to be a part of a fun and creative campaign that was supposed to feature a dream sequence. Unfortunately, that's not what was happening in that clip," she said.
Blige added that she knows why her fans are angry."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."
According to spokesperson for Burger King, Blige's commercial was removed due to a legal matter. "A spot featuring Mary J. Blige aired yesterday prior to final music approvals and has been pulled," the spokesperson said in a statement released to Yahoo! Music. "BURGER KING looks forward to putting the advertisement on air very soon."
The statement added that the corporation was proud to launch the campaign with Blige, Leno, Tyler and Hayek. "The celebrities were chosen to represent the many faces of the American melting pot to introduce the newest menu items in a variety of fun, lighthearted scenes."
Blige is rumored to have been paid $2 million to appear in the commercial. A spokesperson for Mary J. Blige said her record company did not have a comment.
I am not personally bothered that Blige teamed with Burger King. But I do think she is portrayed as a caricature. The thought of a black woman standing on top of a table singing about fried chicken is stereotypical.