Get ready to scream for ice cream — with a brand-new song.
RZA, of the Wu-Tang Clan, has partnered with Good Humor to write a cheerful new ice cream truck jingle in place of “Turkey in the Straw” — an earworm with a troubled history long criticized for being racist.
“Remember that ice cream jingle?” the rap legend, 51, said while introducing his new song. “Of course — we all know it. I’m not gonna play it right now because we come to find out that it has racist roots.
“But check this out — Good Humor, they called me up and they was like, ‘We gotta do something about this, Riz. We can change the dynamics. We can make a new ice cream jingle for a new era,’ ” the rapper added.
In 2014, NPR documented the history of the tune, which was used in racist minstrel shows and became popularized in 19th-century ice cream parlors that played “popular minstrel songs of the day” and eventually ice cream trucks.
“[The] melody originated from British and Irish folk songs, which had no racial connotations,” Good Humor wrote of “Turkey in the Straw” in a statement on its website. “But the song itself was first performed (and gained popularity) in American minstrel shows in the 1800s. Some songs using its same melody contained highly offensive, racist lyrics.”
“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 added.
The new jingle will be added to music boxes in standard ice cream trucks, according to the video.
“I can assure you that this one is made with love,” RZA said at the end of the clip.
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