The Surprising Reason Why Ice Cream Trucks May Drop Their Famous Song
Aunt Jemima. Uncle Ben's. Eskimo Pie. Ever since the tragic death of George Floyd in May and the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, countless popular food brands have acknowledged—and ultimately retired—their racially insensitive names, packaging, and imagery. But the latest food company to address racism in its own DNA may surprise you, as the source of the controversy is something you may have viewed as sweetly innocent your entire life: the ice cream truck song.
The official name of the tune is "Turkey in the Straw," and it's been used by countless ice cream truck companies for decades. However, according to announcement from ice cream maker Good Humor, the tune first became popular in minstrel shows in the 19th century, which featured white performers wearing blackface and mocking African-Americans. It's also why Good Humor publicly challenged all existing ice cream truck companies to literally change their tune.
"Good Humor has not owned ice cream trucks since the 1970s, nor did we create 'Turkey in the Straw' or any other jingles," the company notes on their website. "However, as a leader in the industry, and the creator of the original ice cream truck, we want to be part of the solution on this issue, particularly since we work closely with so many ice cream truck drivers across the country."
Good Humor even took the step of offering up a new alternative to the "Turkey in the Straw." The company partnered with music producer RZA, also of the Wu-Tang Clan, who produced this new jingle:
Now, we're no music reviewers, but we'd have to admit that that's a big improvement. And for more on the intersection of Black Lives Matter and the food industry, make sure you're aware of these 8 Fast-Food Brands Supporting Black Lives Matter.