Popeyes makes delicious chicken. It is one of the better options for fast food fried chicken. But we need to discuss their recent campaign featuring Jerry Rice. Popeyes has done a great job over the past few years convincing us that their black auntie spokesperson is really in the kitchen every Sunday making fresh biscuits and special spices for the fried chicken. She has enough of a southern accent where it feels comforting and entertaining but not too much where it seems like she should be in a minstrel show. In case you do not know, a minstrel show is entertainment in which black people are made into stereotyped caricatures. Minstrel shows featured white and black performers in blackface. Actors would literally put black grease paint on their face, bright red paint on their lips while singing, dancing, and speaking in exaggerated plantation dialects for laughs.
Companies have used slapstick subservient black characters to sell products for years.
This still holds true today. America loves being entertained by any means necessary.
Hall of Famer, Jerry Rice is one of the greatest NFL players of all time. He played in the NFL for 20 seasons, made the pro bowl 13 times, won three Super Bowls, and currently holds over 100 league records. His on the field accomplishments make him the perfect star for this chicken bonanza.
America has a weird relationship with the black athlete; a fascination on and off the field. We don't really like when athletes take control of their brand, body and money, offer thoughtful social commentary, or express views that challenge our conventional thinking. We like them to run, jump, bend, stretch, win games, smile and sell stuff.
Anyway, this is a happy post. This Popeyes commercial has it all. An NFL legend, fried chicken, innovation, even a great side-eye.
99% of the world's population loves fried chicken. But for some reason, black people are given the honor of having a special affinity for it. Well in this commercial Jerry loves fried chicken so much Popeyes creates a "taste mask". This helmet rotates a chicken drumstick across the face mask so Mr. Rice can catch footballs while eating his chicken. Duh! Why had no one thought of that before?
Ms. Popeyes, A.K.A. black auntie, brings the black woman sass component. Black women must always have a bit of an attitude. This scene is hard to watch because it's life imitating art. I think the actress actually steps out of her character for a couple of seconds and is side-eyeing this entire commercial. The way she looks at Jerry's animated antics is priceless. She can't outwardly express her true feelings. The camera lights must have briefly flashed her out the sunken place. If you don't get that reference, please go see Get Out.
Finally at the end of the commercial, Rice is seen wearing the Popeyes napkin shirt. A strong athletic man like Jerry doesn't need a prissy napkin. Nope, Popeyes invents something even better. A napkin shirt! This way Jerry can wipe his greasy barbecue drenched fingers across his shirt in a reasonable way.
The commercial is a lot. I still support Popeyes and their beautiful food.