You're Not So Sweet Duncan Hines
I never thought that I'd be writing about racist cupcakes. But there's a first time for everything. If you follow me on twitter, you've seen the back and forth between many food bloggers today about Duncan Hines Amazing Glazes video.
Take a look here. I think that people are getting distracted by the cute voices and music. Which isn't hip-hop at all. But that's not the point.
Watch it with the sound turned off. Then think about the history of blackface in America and look at the images in this video of black stereotypes. The googly eyes and big pink lips are very characterstic. I didn't watch the whole thing, but needless to say, it is offensive to me and to many others.
The Hip-Hop Cupcake ad is cupcakes in blackface. Many don't see it that way and may say, "Get over it. Stop thinking about the past. It's just cupcakes."
Well sometimes things that are very simple and seem benign end up having a very negative effect in the long run. These images get in our subconscious. Remember Joe Camel who got kids thinking about cigarettes? Targeting kids with cigarettes is wrong and deadly.
I cannot imagine that the creative and management teams that approved this video were comprised of many people of color, if any. A diverse team would have nipped this in the bud. Looking at the Management Team of Pinnacle Foods, I do not see any racial diversity. Not much gender diversity either. Only one woman.
Pinnacle Foods owns Duncan Hines. Their
To inspire creativity during the height of baking season, Duncan Hines partnered with Filmaka to tap four professional filmmakers for their one-of-a-kind vision. Each director offers their own interpretation of the passion, creativity and fun behind baking that the Amazing Glazes toppings inspire. The first video in the series, called "Hip Hop Cupcakes," launched today at YouTube.com/AmazingGlazes.I would have thought that if they were going to leave the press release up, they might have issued an apology there too. They have not, but did pull the video from their website.
Created by Josh Binder, a Chicago-based director, "Hip Hop Cupcakes" portrays how Amazing Glazes make any delicious dessert "sing." Binder's inspiration for the video was bringing to life the joy of baking. "I wanted to create an entertaining and engaging way to show bakers that this glaze makes everything you top taste better and more exciting."
According to the website, Pinnacle Foods’ purpose is to “[M]ake an impact. Through innovation, inspiration and renovation we create value and strive to make a difference. We’re driven by an entrepreneurial spirit that pushes us to challenge ourselves and conventional thinking. … Before Zagat’s and Fodors, the real man, Duncan Hines, was the original traveling food critic, placing his “Recommended by Duncan Hines” certificate of quality on restaurants throughout the country.”
I don’t know what the real Duncan Hines would say about “Hip Hop Cupcakes” but in my opinion, the thinking that allowed this commercial to represent a very important brand was far from innovative or inspired. Below is a list of posts by other bloggers who I suspect would agree.
DuncanHines-Gate (Tale of the Hip Hop Cupcakes)
Duncan Hines & Their Hip Hop Cupcakes! #Fail
Chrystal & Amir
The Duncan Hines Debacle
Duncan Hines Can Kiss My Brownie … Insidious Racism In Harmless Cupcakes
How can you say a cupcake commercial is racist??
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