That's a pretty fucked up ad. It's a web ad for Mountain Dew, and it was created by Tyler the Creator, center of the Odd Future collective. The guys in the line-up are all Odd Future members. There's a little tag at the end for their Adult Swim show, Loiter Squad, which is a fairly juvenile mix of Jackass and sketch comedy.
I mention all of that because I think the ad is pretty much in line with Odd Future's general aesthetic - childishly offensive, playing with words and stereotypes in ways that are sure to push the buttons of the mainstream and tickle the funny bones of the initiated. The whole thing is like a big in joke - Felicia The Goat is Tyler's Instagram name.
It's also predictably caused some outrage. Dr. Boyce Watkins at Your Black World was fucking FURIOUS about it. His thoughts are smart and well articulated, so I'm posting most of them:
Of course, in the world of Mountain Dew, every single suspect is black. Not just regular black people, but the kinds of ratchety negroes you might find in the middle of any hip-hop minstrel show: Gold teeth, “mean mugging,” sun glasses wearing, white-t sportin, hard core n*ggaz ready to “get into some ol gangsta sh*t.” Apparently, this is the kind of ad you put out if you want to appeal to the black male demographic.
On the other side of the one-way glass is an innocent, feeble, traumatized white woman, standing next to a detective telling her to “nail this little sucker.” The woman is shaking, wounded and crying in fear over whatever these scary black men have done and might do to her in the future. Black men are frightening and violent, that’s well established in the first few seconds of the commercial. There is also another white officer, and a black man standing in the back corner. One side of the glass is mostly criminal, 100% black. The other side of the glass consists of the “good guys,” nearly all of whom are white.
Throughout the video, the woman is trying to decide whether to identify the suspect, and is being threatened by the goat who is telling her that you “betta not snitch on a playa.” The goat also starts out by saying, in a scruffy voice, “You shoulda gave me some more….I’m nasty.” So, I guess that means that the woman was s-xually assaulted by the goat, maybe Rick Ross style.
As the woman is shaking, crying and trying to decide what to do, the goat says, “Snitches get stitches fool.” After that, he says, “Keep ya mouth shut. When I get outta here, I’m gonna do you up (translation: Probably beat and s-xually assault you again).” Shaking in fear, the woman runs screaming out of the room, worried that testifying is going to get her killed by this demonic negro goat and his thugged-out sidekicks.
Mountain Dew has set a new low for corporate racism. Their decision to lean on well-known racial stereotypes is beyond disgusting. This doesn’t even include the fact that the company has put black men on par with animals. The holocaust of mass incarceration and the glorification of violent prison culture has taken a tremendous toll on the black community. Corporations are making it cool for black men to murder one another, while gun manufacturers ensure that the streets are flooded with the weapons necessary for us to complete our own genocide.
I don't know why he had to cut the 'e' out of 'sexually,' to be honest.
As a white male I'm not fully qualified to speak about a lot of the stuff that Watkins is saying, but I can say that my interpretation of the commercial is different from his. I think Tyler is playing with those stereotypes on purpose, and I think he's doing it as a way of sticking it to PepsiCo. I mean, imagine the suits who walk up to Tyler and ask him to make them an 'edgy,' 'hip' commercial, and imagine this skatepunk rapper just smiling knowing that he's going to try and be utterly subversive.
Mountain Dew is having a hard time with the rappers with whom they team up. Lil Wayne, whose tour is sponsored by the company, released a song with what might be one of the most astonishingly offensive lyrics of ALL TIME:
Yeah, beat that pussy up like Emmett Till
Hahaha, HOLY SHIT. That's a goddamn nuts lyric. Till's family is trying to get a Mountain Dew boycott going; Lil Wayne just apologized to them.
Meanwhile, Mumford and Sons is playing a Starbucks someplace, quietly soothing white people.