By// S. Tia Brown
What do four Black men and a goat have in common? Well, according to the PepsiCo brand, they’re all usual suspects for criminal activities. The beverage company recently released a controversial commercial featuring members of hip-hop group Odd Future, which includes Tyler the Creator.
In the spot for Mountain Dew the young Black men and goat are placed in a police line-up, all accused of brutally beating a middle-aged White woman. Behind a police precinct glass the victim, led by a White male officer, is asked to point out her attacker, while the goat, spews statements such as “snitches get stitches.”
The video has been widely panned for perpetuating negative racial stereotypes about African-American males. Well-known social activists Dr. Boyce Watkins deemed the failed comedic attempt as, “arguably the most racist commercial in history.” A spokesperson from PepsiCo stated the video would be taken down.
While the company’s quick response is understandable, the participation of Odd Future is not. While Black consumers are quick to point the finger at producers and executives—who are assumed to be highly whitewashed—we must also question the choices of our entertainers.
Is it comical to poke fun at the fact that stop and frisk laws, and racial profiling target Black men disproportionately? Moreover, the latent impact of supporting the idea that Black men are accepting of being vilified by those who are supposed to serve and protect is appalling.
As a community we must hold the businesses and celebrities we support accountable for how they portray African-Americans and invest in our community. Let us know what you thing by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below.