When a company produces an advert that is clearly racist, such as the H&M monkey jumper shoot or Dove’s “Clear Skin” campaign, there are two appropriate reactions if you are not a trash human. You either believe that a largely white board of execs or advertising team has blindly missed the blatant racism due to their white privilege, or, if you’re wise to the evil workings of capitalism, you suspect the company has done it on purpose to stoke controversy and get more people talking about their product.
Chicago musician Chance the Rapper clearly falls into the second category (preach, comrade). On Monday, the rapper called out a blatantly racist advert from Heineken, accusing it of using racism to drive publicity.
In a tweet, Chance wrote, “I think some companies are purposely putting out noticeably racist ads so they can get more views.” The rapper, who has been heavily involved in campaigns for better funding for schools in Chicago, explained in another post that he wasn’t encouraging people to boycott the brand, but simply noting the fact it was “terribly racist,” and that he couldn’t help but tweet about it.
The advert, which aired earlier this week, shows a bartender opening a bottle of Heineken beer for a light-skinned woman. He then slides the beer across the bar, past three people of colour, towards the woman. The tagline is, “Sometimes, lighter is better.”
In a statement to NBC news, a Heineken spokesperson said, “While we feel the ad is referencing our Heineken Light beer, we missed the mark, are taking the feedback to heart and will use this to influence future campaigns." The Dutch beer company has now removed the advert.
Maybe just don’t be racist next time?