For decades, ice cream trucks carrying Good Humor products have traveled through American neighborhoods with the folk song “Turkey in the Straw” playing at full blast. Unfortunately, though, this more than two-century old tune has a sinister history outside of its long association with frozen treats. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, “Turkey in the Straw” was a standard number in minstrel shows that relied heavily on racist caricatures.
“While these associations of ‘Turkey in the Straw’ are not the only part of its legacy, it is undeniable that this melody conjures memories of its racist iterations,” said Good Humor in a statement. As a result, the company asked its truck drivers to remove the song from rotation and sought out a new tune to replace it. For that task, Good Humor turned to RZA, a hip hop legend and de facto leader of the Wu-Tang Clan.
In a promotional video for the jingle, RZA said that he sought to create “a melody that includes all communities” that is “good for every driver, good for every kid.” (Listen to the new tune here.) Good Humor provided the song to all drivers for free and will also include it in all industry standard music boxes. “Good Humor has not owned ice cream trucks since the 1970s, nor did we create ‘Turkey in the Straw’ or any other jingles,” said the company in a statement. “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.”
- Why did Good Humor remove “Turkey in the Straw” from ice cream trucks and replace it with a new jingle?
- Do you think Good Humor ice cream trucks will make more sales as a result of the new song? Why or why not?