Wu-Tang Clan’s frontman RZA has partnered with ice cream company Good Humor to create a new ice cream truck jingle, replacing its current tune “Turkey in the Straw.” The collaboration comes after the dessert company discovered the song’s origin was rooted in bigotry.
The “C.R.E.A.M.” rapper, whose real name is Robert Fitzgerald Diggs, made the announcement on Thursday, Aug. 13, via Twitter, explaining the reason behind the change. “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 explained. He continued, “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.’”
Good Humor released a statement as well on its website, saying, “Turkey in the Straw’s melody originated from British and Irish folk songs, which had no racial connotations. But the song itself was first performed (and gain popularity) in American minstrel shows in the 1800s. Some songs using its melody contained highly offensive, racist lyrics.”
The statement continued, “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.”
The team behind delicious vanilla cones and strawberry shortcake-flavored cream bars called on “ALL drivers to STOP playing ‘Turkey in the Straw’ immediately” in favor of R.Z.A.’s new jingle, which has been released for free this month.
R.Z.A. also noted that “We wanted to make a melody that includes all communities — that’s good for every driver, every kid.” He added, “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. 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.”
Check out R.Z.A.’s new ice cream jingle below.