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"Nigger Love A Watermelon Ha! Ha! Ha!" merits the distinction of the most racist song title in America. Released in March 1916 by Columbia Records, it was written by actor Harry C. Browne and played on the familiar depiction of black people as mindless beasts of burden greedily devouring slices of watermelon
I wondered how such a prejudiced song could have become the anthem of ice cream and childhood summers. I learned that though Browne was fairly creative in his lyrics, the song's premise and its melody are nearly as old as America itself. As often happens with matters of race, something that is rather vanilla in origin is co-opted and sprinkled with malice along the way.
For his creation, Browne simply used the well-known melody of the early 19th century song "Turkey in the Straw," which dates to the even older and traditional British song "The (Old) Rose Tree." The tune was brought to America's colonies by Scots-Irish immigrants who settled along the Appalachian Trail and added lyrics that mirrored their new lifestyle.
The first and natural inclination, of course, is to assume that the ice cream truck song is simply paying homage to "Turkey in the Straw," but the melody reached the nation only after it was appropriated by traveling blackface minstrel shows. There is simply no divorcing the song from the dozens of decades it was almost exclusively used for coming up with new ways to ridicule, and profit from, black people.
The ice cream crossover happened concurrently: 19th century ice cream parlors played the popular minstrel songs of the day. After World War II, the advent of the automobile and the ensuing sprawl required parlors to devise a way to take their products to customers. Ice cream trucks were the solution, and a music box was installed in them as a way to announce their presence in neighborhoods. Naturally, the traditional minstrel tunes of the previous century were employed to evoke the memorable parlor experience.
And this is the story of why our beloved ice cream truck plays blackface minstrel music that sends kids dashing into homes in a Pavlovian frenzy searching for money to buy a Popsicle.
Music scholars discovered that the popular ice cream truck melody, “Turkey in the Straw,” appeared in a racist 1916 song. This spring, as protests spread across the country, Mark decided to pull it from his music box.
“We don’t want a single child walking away from the ice cream truck feeling bad because of the song they were hearing,” he says.
He’s replacing it with a new 45-second jingle written and produced by Wu-Tang Clan member, RZA, which blends “traditional ice cream truck sounds with jazz and hip-hop elements.”
SIMON: Well, how did a music maker of your eminence get drawn into the world of frozen desserts?
RZA: Well, the Good Humor team reached out to me. They wanted to do something about the negative energy that "Turkey In The Straw" had out in the world. And they felt like, let's do something about it. And I was like, wow, why not? It's better to do positive than negative, baby.
SIMON: How do you write a good ice cream truck jingle? I mean, what's the creative process?
RZA: The first creative process, I would say, is think about joy. You know, look; I'm a kid that chased ice cream trucks (laughter). I'm a kid that used to pack bags to make a dollar and wait for the ice cream truck to spend a dollar. So for inspiration, I just thought of joy. I actually kept repeating these three phrases in my head. It's good for me. It's good for you. It's good for us.
And if it's good, it's good, baby. Took about eight different tries to finally end up on the melody that was, I think, simple enough as well, 'cause I can be complicated. But I think simple enough, good major scale notes with a minor 7 jazz chord in there to, you know, to twist it a little bit, you know, and have some fun....then there's this piece of equipment called a Mellotron that has a lot of analog samples. And so they have a new version of it that came out about five years ago - have all these great, great old sounds.
And I used sounds from that to, you know, emulate this ice cream truck sound and those high bells you hear. Of course, the drums is hip-hop, too. I had to turn to my old MPC (laughter).
originally posted by: Cancerwarrior
Racist this, Racist that.....
Who gives a sh_t at this point.
People are all equally retarded.
whitesasians are good at math and blacks love watermelon.