Culture

RZA Produces a New Jingle For Ice Cream Trucks Amid Racial History

RZA replaces the well-known jingle “Turkey in the Straw,” which has racist origins.

On Thursday, Minneapolis-based ice cream company Good Humor announced that it’d be partnering with RZA to create a new jingle. The change comes after the original song, “Turkey in the Straw,” was revealed to have a history of being played in 19th century minstrel shows.

“Turkey in the Straw” is one of the most iconic ice cream truck jingles today,” the company said in a statement. “However, many people don’t realize that this familiar tune has racist roots. [The song’s] melody originated from British and Irish folk songs, which had no racial connotations. But the song itself was first performed (and gained popularity) in American minstrel shows in the 1800s. Some songs using its same melody contained highly offensive, racist lyrics.”

The company hasn’t owned ice cream trucks since the 1970s. However, the brand is attempting to acknowledge the jingle’s origins and turn over a new leaf for its 100th anniversary. Listen to RZA’s new jingle, below. The legendary beatsmith also released a video explaining the collaboration.

“We’ve teamed up with RZA to reimagine the ice cream truck jingle for a new era,” the statement reads. “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.”

RZA is fresh off an Emmy nomination for the theme song to the biographical series Wu-Tang: An American Saga.

Torry Threadcraft

Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and culture. You can find his daily ramblings and culinary takes at @dreadcraft.

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