Celebrities find themselves in all sorts of controversies and scandals throughout their career, but Mary J. Blige probably never guessed one of her major controversies would involve Burger King and Chicken Wraps.
But it did.
Back in April, someone leaked a Burger King commercial to YouTube featuring Mary J. Blige singing a jingle about their new chicken wraps to the melody of her song “Don’t Mind.” Before Burger King could yank the commercial for copyright issues, people were accusing MJB of buffoonery, damaging her brand and making black people look bad.
The singer has kept quiet about the controversy for months, but finally opened up to Hot 97′s Angie Martinez about the whole thing.
Mary J Blige admitted to Angie that she has been quiet about it for months because everyone was crucifying her and it broke her heart. She also revealed that the commercial was very different than what was sold to her by Burger King and she says that the infamous ‘What’s in a Chicken Wrap’ line was a question she was actually asking during filming, because she forgot the words. Long story short, she thought this was an amazing branding opportunity but Burger King did her kind of dirty. Mary’s artist Starshell also spoke up during the interview and said that Burger King had told her that the commercial was suppose to be about a guy dreaming, ‘like OMG! Imagine if the icon Mary J. Blige was singing to me’
For those that saw the commercial, we know that it definitely wasn’t a guy dreaming…and we’re not sure if that would have lessened the negative impact anyway.
It’s unclear if MJB saw the commercial before it was on Youtube for the world to see, but in her interview it sounds like she didn’t. NecoleBitchie.com says that when Angie asked her what her first reaction to the video was, she responded:
I went online to listen to the remix I did with Fat Joe and I’m looking for that and all I see is Burger King, chicken, buffoonery and I’m like, “What the heck?” It just broke my heart that people were going crazy and I understand the laughter and the jokes that was happening. That’s all good! You’re supposed to do that when something like that happens . It made people’s website [hits] go up. It made people get more ratings on their radio stations. Cool. Whatever. Hehe Haha, but the thing that hurt me is when people were just starting to say vicious and negative things that didn’t even have nothing to do with that. What it did was expose everyone and everything that was in my life and it showed me who my friends are.
When I saw it, it hurt me so bad. It looked like soft Adult Videos. On the part where it says “What’s in the chicken wrap?” How about this, I was asking them a question for real. I couldn’t remember the words so I was like, “What’s in the chicken wrap?” They sped it up and made me look ridiculous. It was like I wanted to crawl under the bed. It was crazy how I felt, you don’t even know. I had to go to the airport the next day when it was hot off the press. It was a mistake! People look at it as a mistake but I did it because I thought it was something that wouldn’t come out like that.
Celebrities definitely are not oblivious to criticism and Mary says the negative comments certainly affected her.
It hurt my feelings. It crushed me for like two days but after those two days I got up and I kept going. Andre Harrell, my real family members stood up for me but all those fair-weather friends, and suckas that were online poppin’ junk. People were jumping out saying “Uh-Oh, I didn’t do that, not me.” It’s like who asked you? And that’s the type of stuff that hurt my feelings so bad and I want to apologize to everyone that was offended or thought that I would do something so disrespectful to our culture. I would never do anything like that purposely. I thought I was doing something right so forgive me and now I’m moving on.
When she was making the commercial, she didn’t feel that it was a mistake.
Now I feel like I did. I didn’t know I was making one honestly. First of all, as a kid I always wanted to do something like a Burger King commercial, or ‘have it your way’ or even a McDonald’s commercial. When we were kids, my father, who is a musician wrote us a jingle to McDonalds, which is crazy. At the end of the day, it’s something that I always wanted to do and dreamed about and that’s why I did it. No, they didn’t pay me $2 million dollars. It was about an branding opportunity.
The prolific artist will certainly bounce back from this incident. It’s just unfortunate that it had to happen in the first place. She just thought she was living out a childhood dream when others accused her of playing into racial stereotypes in order to please “The Man”. I hope that she gets another (decidedly less controversial) opportunity to promote products in a Burger King or McDonald’s commercial like she wants to.
Here’s the entire interview and another look at that suspect commercial. Are you buying Mary’s explanation?
Alissa Henry is a freelance writer living in Columbus, OH. Follow her on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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