When most children hear the classic tune “Turkey in the Straw” blaring from speakers coming up the block, they instantly think of ice cream and run to their homes to grab a few bucks in order to cop a snowcone or bomb pop of their own.
Seldom has anyone thought about it meaning anything but frozen delectables and an occasional bag of chips or candied confections. People have been finding delight from it for decades. It has signified a coolness for all of those hot, Summer souls trying to beat the heat with a chilled out treat.
However, the song has a soiled past rooted deep in the heart of racism.
The song, was a regular tune added to American minstrel shows in the 1800s. Ice cream parlors featured minstrel shows routinely that performed the song which often times contained over the top racist lyrics. Although the original melody was not accompanied with such lyrics, the American minstrel performers rewrote and sang them that way.
It was the familiarity of the melody of the song and its link to ice cream that landed the song into the sound systems of all of the iconic ice cream trucks that we’ve come to know and love. It’s shameful history was slowly tucked away into obscurity as it became the symbol of Summer not of sin.
But recently, its shame was drug back out and put on full display once again. Enter The Rza. Good Humor, in a sweet attempt at redemption, tapped the Wutang founding member to recreate it’s jingle for their trucks!
Check it out below!
Says Good Humor,
Since 1920, Good Humor ice cream has been a staple of childhood. Almost everyone has a fond memory of chasing after their neighborhood ice cream truck for their favorite frozen treat.
Good Humor has not owned ice cream trucks since the 1970s, nor did we create “Turkey in the Straw” or any other jingles. However, as a leader in the industry, and the creator of the original ice cream truck, we want to be part of the solution on this issue, particularly since we work closely with so many ice cream truck drivers across the country.
As we mark Good Humor’s 100th anniversary this year, we must acknowledge the history of the ice cream truck jingle, and take action to ensure ice cream trucks across the country continue to spread joy to everyone for the next 100 years.
So, we’ve teamed up with legendary rapper, music producer and founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, RZA, to reimagine the ice cream truck jingle for a new era – a melody that brings joy to every community. We’re making this song available to ice cream truck drivers nationwide and providing education on how to replace “Turkey in the Straw” in their music boxes. Listen to RZA’s new track here, or hear it blasting from an ice cream truck near you!”
We have one word for this collaboration … cool!