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RZA revealed he got involved with the brand after learning the popularized ice cream jingle “Turkey in the Straw” had “racist roots.”
“Remember that ice cream jingle? Of course — we all know it. I’m not gonna play it right now, though, because we come to find out that it has racist roots,” the rapper said in a video announcement for his new jingle.
The “Turkey in the Straw” is a melody with British and Irish folk originations.
The tune initially didn’t have racist connotations, but when it was popularized in America, several performers used the tune with overtly racist lyrics, according to NPR.
“Throughout the 19th century, minstrel songs like ‘Turkey in the Straw’ were commonly played in ice cream parlors, and later, adapted as ice cream truck jingles. While these associations of ‘Turkey in the Straw’ are not the only part of its legacy, it is undeniable that this melody conjures memories of its racist iterations,” Good Humor wrote on their website.
In RZA’s video announcement, he added: “We can change the dynamics. We can make a new ice cream jingle for a new era.’”
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The Wu-Tang Clan member and the ice cream company are offering ice cream trucks their new jingle for free along with music boxes made to specifically fit in the trucks' existing systems.
“We wanted to make a melody that includes all communities — that’s good for every driver, every kid,” RZA said. “And I’m proud to say, for the first time in a long time, a new ice cream truck jingle will be made available to trucks all across the country in perpetuity.”
He concluded: “That means forever, you know what I mean? Like Wu-Tang is forever. And I will assure you that this one is made with love.”