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Popeye's Ad Deemed Racist For Featuring Southern Black Woman

You know, we have enough racism and intolerance in the world without people blatantly looking for it where it doesn't exist. Like in a totally boring Popeye's commercial that some bloggers have taken upon themselves to decide is super-racist. Because it's a black woman talking about fried chicken. Oh come on already.

Posted Mediabistro:

What he really should have said is that the brand is trying to highlight it's myopic view of the world. He should also be fired (hasta pronto) for not understanding a damn thing about his target demo. Basically, Popeye's is trying to woo black folk. And hey - that's fine except when you start dabbling in stereotypes, messing around with "Mammie" imagery and turning off your target market.

The title of this post was "GSD&M Shucks and Jives, Catches Some Heat for Popeyes." Wait, rewind. What shucking and jiving? I totally missed that part of this tone-deaf but otherwise nondescript commercial.

Is this ad targeting a certain demographic? Definitely. Is it offensive to African-Americans because it plays on the "Mamie" stereotype? Um, doubtful. That's like saying UPN is racist because not every actor on that network talks like Barack Obama. Unfortunately, "demographics" exist in a huge way when you are trying to market a product. Maybe that's wrong, but it sells. (Side note: And who the fuck are bloggers to judge, anyway? If people find this ad offensive, boycott Popeye's. Don't add fuel to the fire by throwing loaded terminology like "shucking and jiving" around!) Right now, getting butt-hurt over imaginary racial slights (Obama Chia pet!) is hurting our economy. So STFU and go eat some Popeye's.

Comments (57)
No. 1 · Grrr

Does anyone else find it odd that when it comes to perceived racism, Jossip tends towards "chill out guys! Let's have some perspective," but is willing to storm the barricades at a moment's notice when homophobia pops up. For reals though, I almost cried laughing at the "who the fuck are bloggers to judge, anyway?" part…

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 11:19 am · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 2 · bam-a-lam

Popeye's is good stuff. It would be impossible for me to boycott them. Not that I would anyhow. Just saying..

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 11:27 am · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 3 · bam-a-lam

Does Mediabistro have any Black Southern women quoted for the article, or is this just one of those PC people with nothing better to do than look for stupid arguments?

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 11:31 am · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 4 · Nate

I agree with GRRR and have noticed the same attitude here.

There might be people of all races who find this ad inoffensive, but my gut reaction the first time I saw it was disgust - the stereotypes persist. And why is it that so many ads with black folks seem to feel it necessary depict them dancing when the product they're endorsing has absolutely nothing to do with boogeying?

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 2:02 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 5 · Rhonda

I hate when I go to Chinese restaurant and see Chinese people, talk about stereotype, they always talk fast and speak Chinese!

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 2:18 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 6 · anon

ah, since your joke fell flat on another thread, you'll post it here?

the problem with your analogy, Rhonda, is that while Chinese food historically did come from China and the Chinese people (so aptly named, eh?), fried chicken did NOT originate with southern black people.

I, myself, always wondered why McDonald's ads were "segregated" when I was growing up. Some ads featured ONLY white folk, and some featured ONLY black folk. There were never any integrated ones until recently.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 2:29 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 7 · Rhonda

My point, why make it racist at all, I prefer KFC, what does that mean in racist talk, you seem to speak it quite well

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 2:32 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 8 · anon

no, rhonda, that was clearly not your point.

your point was trying to equate chinese people selling chinese food to a black person hawking fried chicken. I'll spell it out for you since I know you have trouble in this area…as in, it makes sense for black people to sell fried chicken because, just like chinese people selling chinese food, that food item originated with them.

not-so-thinly veiled racial stereotyping. of course, when someone points out how illogical your comparison is, you back track.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 2:42 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 9 · Rhonda

most companies know their demographics, you silly, wabbit.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 2:46 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 10 · anon

is that why KFC uses a white "chef" in their ads?

what you say may be true, but that wasn't your point. I'm surprised you don't just walk backwards considering how much backtracking you do.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 2:51 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 11 · Rhonda

@anon: I've never spent time thinking about the "chef" being white, but perhaps your on to something. I see white people at KFC!

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 3:12 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 12 · Rhonda

I see white people and black people at Chinese restaurants but do we ever see Chinese people at Popeye's or KFC, NO!

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 3:14 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 13 · anon

I don't spend time "thinking" about the chef being white…I just saw an ad to that effect, similar to the Popeye's one posted here. a "chef" talking about the recipes used in their food. I see white people who eat at soul food restaurants, and chinese restaurants, and thai, and indian, and every other kind you can think of.

what I don't see is what post #12 has to do with any of this.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 3:24 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 14 · Jackie Joyner Heresy

"Is it offensive to African-Americans because it plays on the "Mamie" stereotype? Um, doubtful. That's like saying UPN is racist because not every actor on that network talks like Barack Obama."

i LOVE it when white people tell people of color how to feel about racism.

and Cord's statement that it's merely a matter of black people being the standard fried-chicken spokespersons for the past several decades is truly truly alarming: does anyone at jossip wonder why that is?????

you're seriously saying you've not heard of the black people, fried chicken stereotype before?!

cmon!

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 3:45 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 15 · drew

So because it's a stereotype, black actors/actresses should be banned from any commercials involving fried chicken? Yep, that should solve the problem! Only white people selling us chicken, please!

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 3:54 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 16 · Rhonda

Now, I'm getting hungry, should I go to KFC or Popeyes, decisions, decisions!

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 4:02 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 17 · Shane

Once I saw a black guy on the street hawking rap cd's and I cold knocked him the fuck out for damaging America's racial transcendence. Don't black people know not to fuck up our attempts to make them equal? It's like they've never even heard of Tropic Thunder.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 5:49 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 18 · sinam

@Drew you need a better argument than that. no one is saying that black actors shouldn't take roles in these commercials because it's advertising fried chicken. what's being said is that black people shouldn't be the majority of the people in these commercials. commercials are shown to sell you something while making a connection. if you constantly see black people in fried chicken commercials what connection do you think is being made? it's basically that mostly black peopel eat fried chicken. not only that, these types of commercials are always sensationalized. why can't it be that a black person goes into this restaurant orders the chicken and just sits down and enjoys it like everyone else? instead they are dancing and hooting and hollering (or there's some funky hip hop playing in the background). most of these commercials border on bafoonery. there would be no problem if this only happened occasionally but black people are mostly depicted in this manner.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 5:50 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 19 · sloane

her name is "annie the chicken lady", DREW. it might as well be "mammy the chicken lady". no one is saying that southern black women should be barred from being in commercials for fried chicken, people are stating that the stereotypical mammy figure shouldn't be selling fried chicken, because it kind of hearkens back to slavery and jim crow era imagery of black women. kind of like aunt jemima and uncle ben. buy a clue for f**ks sake and see racism when it's slapping you across the face. i mean you certainly have no issues being up in arms about the mere suggestion of homophobia.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 6:01 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 20 · Shane

@sinam: I'm sure the millions of black people who are employed and visit Popeye's chicken ever year appreciate your worldview. You're saving them! Yes you can!
But seriously, your entire post reads like the fantastical worldview of someone who only reads books about TV.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 6:04 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 21 · Shane

@sloane: No, I think they should be barred. I suggest a new law that bars all black people from any job that can be construed by white people as racist. American Idol should be whites only. Oh, and since it's a harmful stereotype that black people can't swim, we should throw them all in the ocean. Take that, racism.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 6:09 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 22 · sloane

@stfu

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 6:13 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 23 · sloane

i meant @shane-stfu and please stick your head in the deep fryer at popeye's.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 24 · Chris

As a person of color, I'm going to put out that I didn't pick up on any sort of mammy incorporation. I still thought it was a phucing boring commercial, though. Is Annie supposed to be from Lousiana b/c they brand themselves as "Louisiana fast." That would probably explain her southern accent. Is that the one degree seperating her from a mammy? Honestly, tweeters and bloggers might want to get a life. Slow news day..

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 6:21 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 25 · Shane

@sloane: Does that mean I win? Also, if you're Caucasian, being named Sloane is a woefully stereotypical white girl name so please change it for the good of progress.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 6:25 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 26 · bam-a-lam

I think you guys are mostly full of yourselves. You're a bunch of outsiders looking in and finding fault with something that HAD NO FAULT in the first place. If you honestly think black people should be offended over a black lady advertising a chicken restaurant, then you are doing nothing but perpetuating a goddam stupid stereotype yourselves. It would never have occurred to me to even think of associating fried chicken specifically with black people. God. YOU guys and your craptastic attitudes are the problem.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 6:34 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 27 · akaRuthie

@anon:

Please define "recently"? I was a child actor from 1975-1982. I was in 2 dozen commercials, most of which were multi-racial. McDonald's, Coke, Chevy, you name it - they loved the rainbow coalition ads; they aired during after-school specials, ball games, and holiday programming eg Charlie Brown movies.

I've no doubt these companies had segregationist policies over 30 years ago, but their commercials were not.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuYW0DEuavA

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 28 · getreal

@Rhonda: I see white people and black people at Chinese restaurants but do we ever see Chinese people at Popeye's or KFC, NO!

The largest Kentucky fired chicken in the world is in China Beijing actualy that's a fact. As someone who loves asia and has been to Hong Kong and Shanghai I was mystified at how many KFC"s are there. There seemed to be one on every other block in Hong Hong. Anyone on here who has been to any major Chinese city will tell you they are CRAZY for KFC.

As far as looking for hidden racism in Popeyes commercials I think it is b*llshit.. I'm not sure why but there are a lot of these articles lately it is a formula. 1. Pick some absurd not racist thing and pose the question "is it racist" 2. Sit back and let people post ignorant things and argue 3. Result make black people look like overly sensitive idiots who are constantly looking for racism where it does not exist.I have said it before there is enough real racism,sexism, homophobia, and anti-semitism in the world these articles belittle that.

Popeyes restaurants tend to be located in lower income neighborhoods so they picked a spokesperson who they felt would speak to people in those neighborhoods.I am sick and tired of these fake white guilt "is it racist" articles. If Jossip was really concerned with racism they would pick real examples to discuss not these silly ones.

For the person who said some posters are "outsiders" this site is for everyone who has an opinion so no one here is an insider or outsider. You sound a bit puffed up with your own imaginary importance here.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 7:48 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 29 · getreal

I only meant part of that post to the idiot. So I am reposting the rest for the non zenophobics on the thread.

As far as looking for hidden racism in Popeyes commercials I think it is b*llshit.. I'm not sure why but there are a lot of these articles lately it is a formula. 1. Pick some absurd not racist thing and pose the question "is it racist" 2. Sit back and let people post ignorant things and argue 3. Result make black people look like overly sensitive idiots who are constantly looking for racism where it does not exist.I have said it before there is enough real racism,sexism, homophobia, and anti-semitism in the world these articles belittle that.
Popeyes restaurants tend to be located in lower income neighborhoods so they picked a spokesperson who they felt would speak to people in those neighborhoods.I am sick and tired of these fake white guilt "is it racist" articles. If Jossip was really concerned with racism they would pick real examples to discuss not these silly ones.
For the person who said some posters are "outsiders" this site is for everyone who has an opinion so no one here is an insider or outsider. You sound a bit puffed up with your own imaginary importance here.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 7:51 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 30 · Rhonda

@getreal:

Geez, you crack me up, did you call the Chinese Embassy?

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 7:55 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 31 · Rhonda

You must be a lot of fun at a party!

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 7:57 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 32 · getreal

@Rhonda: Just been to China. Some people actually (clutch the pearls) TRAVEL. I know it is a scary concept but if you saw more of the world perhaps your world view wouldn't be so narrow. I'm great at a party but you couldn't get into anywhere I would party so you don't have to worry about it.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 8:01 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 33 · bam-a-lam

@Rhonda: Can you just imagine the parties? Dear God. It is amazing how far some people can travel yet still stay in their own little world.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 8:10 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 34 · Rhonda

@getreal:

With all your world travel you still take time out of your busy schedule to join us daily on Jossip, (Clutch the pearls)!

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 8:14 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 35 · Rhonda

Bam,

I'd rather have a pig roast, how about you? Clutch our pearls lol

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 8:16 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 36 · weezy

wtf? why are there 2 chicken posts today?

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 8:16 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 37 · getreal

@drew: Your articles are always funny I don't understand these fake racism articles. If you are really interested in racism is this the article that addresses that. Or is it just there to cause arguments not dialogue?

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 8:19 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 38 · bam-a-lam

@Rhonda: Oh, hell yes. I'm telling you they would ALL drown if the sprinkler system came on.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 8:24 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 39 · bam-a-lam

@weezy: I believe they are passing on to us what 'those' people are up to - you know, the alleged liberals who have no idea what the heck they are talking about but insist on making a big deal out of it anyway, then shoving it down everybody's throat.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 8:27 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 40 · remywill

OMG, moving forward they should only feature really up type WASP types in their ads. Like there is not enough stuff going on to worry about……I'm sure this woman is an actor and not some complete idiot who would do a racist ad…

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 8:28 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 41 · getreal

@Rhonda I'm done arguing with you it is silly I only address you when say something really outrageous. If your fear of not traveling the world is based on not being able to post on Jossip (how sad) then go somewhere and bring a laptop. It is funny how when some one proves an opinion of yours as wrong your only defense is to make fun. Most people on here work on their computer and skipping over to sites occasionally breaks up the work day. If being here is so bad why are you here? If it is strange to be here why is it whenever I come to this site you are on it posting. Your posts never have anything to do with the subject just your imaginary vendettas and friendships with other posters. Stick to the subject or post to someone else.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 8:29 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 42 · bam-a-lam

@getreal: Kiss my white grits.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 8:31 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 43 · getreal

I am ignoring my stalker she is so busy chasing me from thread to thread desperate for me to post at her. Sounds like someone needs to get laid and get a life LOL.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 8:35 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 44 · Rhonda

Me and laptop travel all around the county but alas no China:(

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 8:56 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 45 · Rhonda

Maybe, Real Man can help you out with that, he's hot for you! Just saying, Someone!

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 8:58 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 46 · getreal

@Rhonda: My stalker and you obviously need to get laid that is why you are always looking for attention from people who are ot interested in dialoging with you. Stop being so desperate post to people who are interesting in you, I'm not.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 9:01 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 47 · bam-a-lam

@getreal: Your stalker is your shadow.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 9:12 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 48 · getreal

@bam-a-lam: I know you live in a fantasy world but we don't actually know each other. We are not in a vendetta. If you are so obsessed with my posts that you constantly have to try to get my attention go ahead. Really if you need that to get through the day more power to you. I will go back to not reading your silly posts.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 9:15 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 49 · bam-a-lam

@getreal: I leave you and your shadow with these words:

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

- A. Einstein

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 10:21 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 50 · getreal

@bam-a-lam: I agree God is laughing at you.

Posted: Apr 14, 2009 at 10:24 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 51 · drew

@getreal so is Annie the Chicken Lady. Which is sort of an anagram for "Lady, Nannie, then chick(e)." Which is really, really racist.

Posted: Apr 15, 2009 at 1:53 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 52 · bam-a-lam

@drew: Yeah, laughing all the way to the bank. She's a professional, and you guys are showing her no respect at all. Drew, the correct term is Mammy, not Nannie.

Posted: Apr 15, 2009 at 2:11 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 53 · getreal

@drew: This is not racist in my opinion. This is faux-outrage this woman looks nothing like mammy, isn't acting like mammy, and does not evoke a mammy like character. If you were really concerned with racism you would be writing about the Klu Klux Klan's activities since the election or the many racist plots to kill him. This article is offensive not the commercial. What the hell is racist about the name Annie? Oh it rhymes with Nannie. There is nothing racist about Nannie. This article was meant to stir people up and get them arguing and to make black people look stupid. Even your explanation of why the commercial is racist makes no sense.

Posted: Apr 15, 2009 at 3:59 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 54 · Rhonda

Did you just get home from your Gay and Lesbian TeaParty? How was it?

Posted: Apr 15, 2009 at 4:03 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 55 · bam-a-lam

@getreal: It's MAMMY, not Nannie. God. The KKK here lashed out at Italians when they were shipped here to farm. Today they are the most successful and rather powerful group in the region. AND they didn't demand the government or anyone else step in to protect them from the Klan. They tucked their heads and kept on working, regardless of the harassment they were subjected to. They dealt with it old school and independently, and it worked.

Posted: Apr 15, 2009 at 4:59 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 56 · getreal

I'll post it again.

@drew: This is not racist in my opinion. This is faux-outrage this woman looks nothing like mammy, isn't acting like mammy, and does not evoke a mammy like character. If you were really concerned with racism you would be writing about the Klu Klux Klan's activities since the election or the many racist plots to kill him. This article is offensive not the commercial. What the hell is racist about the name Annie? Oh it rhymes with Nannie. There is nothing racist about Nannie. This article was meant to stir people up and get them arguing and to make black people look stupid. Even your explanation of why the commercial is racist makes no sense.

Posted: Apr 15, 2009 at 5:02 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 57 · jondoe

if i watched a commercial about a gun or outdoor fishing program i usually see a white guy in camo with a country accent is that racist … truth be told i think she did a perfect job of making an average black american feel like she was talking to "us": not at us. i think the producers idea was that most people that buy popeyes are black and relation to the character is a key selling point. just as rappers speak of things urban black youth went through or seen themselves to sell records. target audience is all it is people are mad about? kids promote cereal and toys white people promote golf clubs and boat fishing and mexicans promote tequilla and condoms … well maybe not condoms lol jk… but if i saw any of these scenarios on tv i wouldnt question them one bit. i would prefer to get diamonds from antwerp, wine from paris and clothes from italy … is there anything wrong with that or am i racist??? are those stereotypes??? or just the truth.. and to be honest i have never seen a white person fry chicken… seriously

Posted: Apr 16, 2009 at 5:48 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
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