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Mary J. Blige Calls That Notorious Burger King Commercial 'Buffoonery'

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by Sergio
June 28, 2012 10:30 PM
38 Comments
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So you remember that controversial Burger King commerical with Mary J. Blige? You know the one for which she got paid $2 million to sing about chicken wraps? The one that got people all upset, calling her a sellout, with many being bitterly disappointed with how she could have stooped so low (I still remember one commenter saying she sounded like "an old slave"). And just in case you've forgotten the commercial, it's posted below.

Well, Ms.Blige wants you to know that she's not happy about it either, and, in an interview today on radio station Hot 97 in New York, she spoke out for the first time, telling her side of the story and letting us know what the hell she was she thinking.

According to her, the commercial wasn't supposed to turn out that way, and she apologized to her many fans: "I want to apologize to everyone who was offended or thought that I would do something so disrespectful to our culture. I would never do anything like that purposefully. I thought I was doing something right, so forgive me."

As she said in the interview, she was shocked and "my heart dropped down to my stomach," when she first saw the ad.

But it got even worse, adding, "I got this sweat and I said real calm, 'This too shall pass'. But it kept getting worse and worse and worse...and all I can see is 'Burger King' and 'chicken' and 'buffoonery'. It just broke my heart."

And still further: "I would never just bust out singing about chicken and chicken wings. It hurt my feelings and crushed me for two days."

In the interview, she explained that the reason why she stayed silent for so long was because: "There was too much going on for me to stick my head out there and say anything. So I just pulled back and watched everyone and everything."

Now as for what exactly went wrong, she explained that she was originally convinced on the idea that the commercial "would be shot in an ironic way." What she meant by that, she didn't explain. But she added that she also saw the ad as a "great branding opportunity."

In the end, she said that "it was a mistake when you look at it at the end of the day, because people look at it as a mistake. But I did it because I thought that it was something that wouldn't come out like that."

She didn't say though if she was going to return the $2 million.

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38 Comments

  • C0nflikt | July 2, 2012 5:32 PMReply

    I'd do this any number of times for 2 million, and wouldn't apologize.

  • Orville | June 29, 2012 5:33 PMReply

    This is damage control and Mary doesn't seem too upset why didn't she give back the $2 million dollars? We all make mistakes but this was a big mistake by Mary J Blige. Another poster said it is okay to like eating chicken and that's true. But didn't Mary know the history and all the stereotypes about black people and fried chicken? Why doesn't Mary give Burger King back their money if she's so upset? Give me a break.

  • Africameleon | June 29, 2012 2:49 PMReply

    Thank you Comment Police! Why are we claiming racial offense b/c of the commercials stereotype reference, and then turning around and referring to MJB as at "bitch" and former prostitute? That doesn't make any sense. And it's very disrespectful to black women, especially those who share Mary's background - which should be (and is) irrelevant.

    Again, I am actually not offended by the commercial. Other commercials have been more overtly offensive and demeaning to black peoples history and musical traditions. So leave MJB alone, really. Some of these comments are very shallow. The "bitch" / prostitute thing, not cool!

  • Realdiamond | June 29, 2012 12:30 PMReply

    Mary's commercial wasn't the only one that was offensive. If you look at the Selma Hayak commercial it has various stereotypes of Mexican women , the call it "role play" . Burger King knew exactly what they were doing stirring controversy. Mary's commercial was the only one pulled from viewing . There are 30+ channels for Latin audiences where they see various images of themselves, maybe that's why they didnt get upset. Black folks don't even have 5 so when we see this portrayed for everyone to see , it's hurtful. And if you think the commercials' not that big of a deal , you need to go take a college course or go to a seminar on black , Latin or other minorities images in film.

  • troy | June 29, 2012 12:20 PMReply

    Come on she is a former prostitute, we cant expect her to be an enlightened individual with her lack of education just because she is a celebrity. Singing for money is what she does. That is not a noble profession. Just be glad she is not selling ass.

  • ALM | July 5, 2012 10:44 PM

    Troy....wow......super, super judgmental and rough. Since when is professional singing "not a noble profession"? So Sade, Anita Baker, and Luther should be/should have been ashamed? Here's a seat __/. Please take it.

  • COMMENT POLICE | June 29, 2012 12:47 PM

    THE WAY ALL MEN TALK ABOUT WOMEN IS A CAUSE FOR CONCERN. NO NEED TO SINGLE OUT BLACK MEN, THOUGH YOU CAN MOST CERTAINLY POINT ONE (BUT NOT ALL) OF THOSE FINGERS AT RAP CULTURE, TO WHICH ALL BLACK MEN DO NOT BELONG.

  • Melissa | June 29, 2012 12:37 PM

    I am not African American but it concerns me the way black american men talk about their women, especially when outside of America, they show us that black american women are more financially stable and educated than the men in their communities. It is truly an embarrassment, with all those statistics. And bizarre! Usually men are the breadwinners, in other races like mine.

  • Marie | June 29, 2012 10:52 AMReply

    My problem with the whole set of commercials was that you have David Beckham/Salma Hayek being portrayed as sexy and desirable, but the Black woman was... singing about chicken. I mean, unless she's saying that somebody dubbed "chicken" into the commercial without her knowledge and that's NOT what she sang, I don't get how she was so surprised.

  • artbizzy | July 5, 2012 11:04 PM

    @ALM I am so with you. I don't know what people are talking about but to me Mary J is sexy as hell. But because she's from the hood people don't know how to think about her. And back in her musical heyday when she was more out there in the public eye guys I knew were on her ish. Lots of people wouldn't know sexy if it was kissing their ass. Just my opinion, though, lol.

  • ALM | July 5, 2012 10:47 PM

    People keep saying that Mary doesn't have sex appeal. I disagree. Sex appeal, like beauty, is a matter of opinion. When I was growing up to her music in the '90s I remember guys loving the daylights out of MJB. She may not be your sex symbol, but someone else loves her. Also I noticed that "The Black Police" only mentioned fair skin people as sex symbols within the community of African American women. SMH Black Police, here's your seat: __/ Use it.

  • the black police | June 29, 2012 12:25 PM

    Also, being SEXUALLY OBJECTIFIED as Beckam was is nothing to desire... SMH

  • the black police | June 29, 2012 12:24 PM

    I dunno why ppl keep comparing her ad to Beckham and Hayeks!!! If Beyonce or Halle did the ad, of course they would play on their sexiness. MARY J BLIGE IS NOT SEXY TO THE GENERAL POPULACE! HER THING IS HER VOICE AND HER SURVIVAL THROUGH THE STRUGGLE. CLEARLY STRUGGLE CANT BE USED TO SELL A PRODUCT LIKE CHICKEN WRAPS SO SHE SANG. WHATS THE BIG DEAL? If this didnt get the public reaction it did, this bitch wouldnt be saying anything about how she didnt like what the final result looked like!

  • Ali | June 29, 2012 11:36 AM

    Mary J. Blige is not and never really was considered a sex symbol. David Beckham and Salma Hayek are. They used what the celebrities are known for. They used Jay Leno for comedy and Steven Tyler was just...crazy. Mary was going to do what she does best. She's going to sing. Now maybe she could have sang about smoothies but she was always going to sing.

  • Nadell | June 29, 2012 11:36 AM

    I thought I was the only one who noticed that. Hayek is the sultry, multi-dimensional figure and Beckham is the desirable, debonair figure and Leno is the comic-relief. While Blige fits right into the stereotypical character. Now, don't get me wrong EVERYBODY loves chicken! It is not delegated to just black folks.
    And basically, MJB is claiming herself to be a buffoon. If you agreed to it in full knowledge of what the commercial ad would entail, then support it 100%! Don't back down from what you agreed upon simply because of the controversy.....I just don't understand

  • Arnold Drummond | June 29, 2012 7:29 AMReply

    And then the check cleared...

  • Dumb Haters | June 29, 2012 6:52 AMReply

    Mary J is the Queen .. I support her. She don't need to return the money ! Stay out of her bank account Indiewire !
    And all you dumb haters .. Go throw your worthless self into speeding traffic

  • lauren | June 29, 2012 1:58 AMReply

    Where's the beef?

  • ronette | June 29, 2012 1:17 AMReply

    I honestly don't get what the issue is with the ad. Peace.

  • Man-Over-Bored | July 2, 2012 6:51 PM

    What a surprise: "Ronette" and "Rashidah: don't get it!

  • Rashidah | June 29, 2012 8:42 AM

    I agree, I think people are offended because she is black and singing about chicken. I honestly don't think its that bad. Now if it were like the commercial for General Fried Chicken in the movie Undercover Brother....we would have a problem.

  • Field negro | June 29, 2012 12:31 AMReply

    For 2 million, I'd sing 'bout chicken too boss.
    Got a song for ya, wanna here it? Here it go..

  • Marie | June 29, 2012 10:17 AM

    Or like in the movie "The Drop Squad" when clueless Eriq LaSalle proudly shows his family the commercial he did for a chicken joint, staring an overweight gospel singer growling that she's "HUNNGREEE!"

  • Africameleon | June 29, 2012 12:29 AMReply

    The only thing offensive about this commercial (to me) is Mary's intonation, phonation, and pitch. Wow.... The fast food industry has used black aesthetic and music for years. I'm actually more offended by the Cadillac-GMC-Chrystler commercials with Gospel choirs, "Imported from Detroit," than this. Why does this get the negative attention and those do not? Both are disturbing. Probably b/c of MJB's fame. But if we call her out, let's also call out the Popeye's Chicken lady. She does everything except sing "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" while hocking those chicken tenders.

  • ALM | July 5, 2012 10:49 PM

    I have also wondered how Popeye's has escaped the same wrath that befell Burger King.

  • troy | June 29, 2012 12:16 PM

    Paul Mooney talked about it saying... Who is this bitch? Even funnier after his comedy special came out the white female CEO was on Undercover Boss. To that I say, who is this bitch?

  • Dr. Boogie | June 29, 2012 1:49 AM

    AFRICAMELEON has said it aaaaalll!!! EXACTLY!!!! The Popeye's Lady swears she's cooking all the chicken in the country in her kitchen and all the church going Negroes in this country should be lined up outside Chrystler trying to figure out how exactly is anyone making cars in choir robes. MJB got paid, now she wanna talk? The campaign isn't over, if she really was concerned, why not go back and re-do it or better yet give back that $2 million dollars. She wasn't too embarrassed to take it or sing those lyrics in the studio.

  • Tinz11 | June 29, 2012 12:18 AMReply

    O___o. Mary j have a seat boo boo

  • Miles Ellison | June 28, 2012 11:06 PMReply

    If she's looking for sympathy, she'll find that in the dictionary between shit and syphilis. While the book is open, she can look up ironic.

  • ALM | July 5, 2012 10:50 PM

    Whoooo.....Miles, tell us how you really feel.

  • Michinle | June 29, 2012 12:27 PM

    yikes!

  • the black police | June 28, 2012 10:48 PMReply

    Bullshit! You climb inbed with devil now hold your stained bed sheets high, wave it and be proud! Why cant people just own their decisions???

  • Laura | June 28, 2012 10:45 PMReply

    OK. I am usually very sensitive to stereotypical portrayals of Blacks in the media. But what was the problem? Because I see nothing offensive about the spot per se? Was it the fact that she Black and sang about chicken? Was that the problem? If that's case then there will always be problematic when Black public proclaim certain food stuff for fear of reinforcing stereotypes. I can understand that because of the historical association with Blacks and the "yardbird". But will we always be offended when we do things that are viewed as stereotypical. I am more offended by those 1990's McDonald's commercials targeted to Blacks than this.

  • Cortez | June 28, 2012 11:48 PM

    I agree, my family and I said this same thing. It's time to get over the stigma of chicken.

  • Laura | June 28, 2012 10:47 PM

    Her statement was definitely damage control.

  • Ali | June 28, 2012 10:35 PMReply

    Oh, okay Mary. Is it just me or did she not really make any sense?

  • Junebug | July 1, 2012 10:25 PM

    To paraphrase Paul Mooney, it's TOO late in the day...niggas want to sing for chicken, they gotta get called on it.

  • Ali | June 28, 2012 10:42 PM

    Maybe some of that nonsense is rubbing off on me because my question doesn't even make much sense now that I read it. LOL But, seriously, she doesn't make sense. I don't see how you can make that commercial any less obvious so she clearly is only saving face because some of her "fans" trashed her. I still don't think the commercial is THAT bad...

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