We’re about to get a true blue “Ice Cream Paint Job” thanks to RZA and Good Humor. The Wu-Tang superstar partnered with the ice cream company to work on a new jingle to replace the current well-known ditty for frozen delicacies, “Turkey In The Straw.” Not only is the 19th century tune an extension of the racist, blackface minstrel shows popularized during the time period...it doesn’t even slap.
According to a press release obtained by Rolling Stone, RZA’s new jingle “drew inspiration from his childhood memories of chasing after ice cream trucks on Staten Island—blending traditional ice cream truck sounds with jazz and hip-hop elements.” Instead of singing about “A monkey sittin’ on a pile of straw, A winkin’ at his mother-in-law,” RZA’s tune hopes to make everyone—regardless of the color of their skin—feel excited and energized.
“We can change the dynamics,” RZA says in a behind-the-scenes video about the making of the jingle. “We can make a new ice cream jingle for a new era.” A snippet of the song is featured in the video, and it boasts pleasing chimes, tender drums and light cymbal work. It’s sweet, it’s different and it’s definitely not racist.
“We wanted to make a melody that includes all [communities], that’s good for every driver, that’s good for every kid,” RZA continues. “And I’m proud to say, for the first time in a long time, a new ice cream jingle will be made available to trucks all across the country, in perpetuity. That means forever—like Wu-Tang’s forever. And I can assure you, this one is made with love.”
“RZA’s jingle will be available to ice cream trucks in the U.S. via music boxes produced by Nichols Electronics starting this month,” reports Rolling Stone. Nichols Electronics, a manufacturer of electronic music boxes for ice cream trucks since 1957, announced on their website that they would no longer sell music boxes with the song “Turkey in the Straw.”
These changes come months after calls for racial justice and equality after the killing of George Floyd and a string of ongoing Black Lives Matter protests over the past few months. Nichols Electronics is based in Minneapolis, the city where Floyd died at the hands of police this past May.
Amazing job to RZA and Good Humor. Let me get a Creamsicle bar, please.
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