No one seems to know why the Mary J. Blige Burger King commercial above has been scrubbed from the internet. We spoke with someone who worked on it (he didn't know). We reached out to Burger King for a comment
and have yet to hear back.
Blige's spot is part of BK's highly touted rebranding effort. Celeb-centric commercials featuring Jay Leno, Salma Hayek, David Beckham and Blige all appeared online yesterday. The commercials of the first three remain on BK's official YouTube channel; Blige's does not.
The Blige backlash was swift, though, with mocking approaching meme levels over the ridiculous spot, in which the people's diva stands on a table and rhapsodizes, "Crispy chicken, fresh lettuce, three cheeses, ranch dressing wrapped up in a tasty...flour...tortilla."
The stereotype perpetuation of a black woman espousing the virtues of fried chicken is never a pleasant thing to behold, although Octavia Spencer didn't cause much of an uproar for saying in The Help (for which she won an Oscar), "Frying chicken just tend to make you feel better about life" in a scene that was not intended to make you want to kill yourself. And if the issue is with Blige selling out, well, that's been happening for years. In 2010, she used her soul-bearing rep to shill fragrance on HSN, and last year she released My Life II...The Journey Continues (Act 1), crassly capitalizing on her revered 1994 sophomore album despite her career-long shtick depending on her portrayal of her life through song. (In that sense, her tenth album, My Life II, was actually My Life IX.)
Selling out was once the scourge of hip-hop; now it is an ideal. This commercial is a product of that sea change. The world we live in is one in which the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul gets a rumored $2 million to sell fast food, indulging in unsavory behavior for the sake of savory chicken sandwiches.
UPDATE: We heard back from Burger King: "The Mary J. Blige advertisement has been pulled due to a licensing issue. BURGER KING® expects to have the Blige ads back on air soon." So that's boring!