It could be entirely possible the once cherished ice cream truck tune could adopt a new sound in the future. A collaboration from Good Humor and Wu-Tang Clan’s founder RZA, has recently teamed up to create a new ice cream truck theme for a “new era, ” after learning the classic jingle holds racist roots.
What We Know:
- One might immediately recognize the iconic melody from the song, “Turkey in the Straw”, when an ice-cream truck comes rolling down a street on a nice summer day. The tune was popular at minstrel shows around 200 years ago, which often depicted white actors participating in Blackface or other racial stereotyping acts. Good Humor only just now learned of the unfortunate history.
- Much of the public weren’t aware that this childhood jingle for many, actually held a discomforting tone and meaning. Theodore R. Johnson wrote a piece for NPR in 2014 explaining exactly how racist lyrics were added to the tune from minstrel shows in the 1800s and onward. It originally came to the United States as a tune British and Irish folk played on the fiddle.
“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,” stated Johnson.
- Senior director Russel Lilly of the parent company of Good Humor, Unilever, made a note that they haven’t used or owned ice cream trucks for a while now but wished to be a part of the change nonetheless.
- Although they haven’t operated trucks since the ’70s, Good Humor is known for being the inventor of the ice cream trucks in a time where the company first thought about bringing their products to customers. “We wanted to be part of the solution and offer ice cream truck drivers a jingle that can bring joy to every community,” Lilly said in a statement.
- RZA took a trip down memory lane in a statement by saying, “I remember the days when I would hear that iconic ice cream truck jingle outside, and I would drop what I was doing to chase it down for a treat”.
- Check out the new jingle below:
In a behind the scenes making of the new jingle, Good Humor shared its initiative to make it the new industry standard for music boxes in trucks.