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Following PepsiCo’s decision to pull the plug on his absurd Mountain Dew commercial after reputable scholar Dr. Boyce Watkins dubbed it to be ‘the most racist commercial in history,’ rapper Tyler the Creator of Odd Future took to his Twitter page to contact Dr. Watkins and let him know he’d like to talk to him. “I Would Love To Have A Convo With @drboycewatkins1” reads Tyler the Creator’s Twitter message. Hours later, Dr. Watkins replied to the rapper’s tweet: “@fucktyler – let’s make it happen. My daughters love your music, so I respect your brilliance and creativity. DM [direct message] me. We’ll talk.”
The rapper’s commercial exudes virtually every stereotype about African-American men, including mass incarceration, violence, and inarticulation. Shortly after Dr. Watkins published his article condemning Mountain Dew for giving the commercial a greenlight, the company pulled the plug on it and issued this statement: “We apologize for this video and take full responsibility. We have removed it from all Mountain Dew channels and Tyler is removing it from his channels as well.”
Tyler the Creator’s manager took to Tumblr to write a lengthy message to defend the artist’s intent for the commercial. “It was never Tyler’s intention to offend, however offense is personal and valid to anyone who is offended,” Clancy began. “Out of respect to those that were offended, the ad was taken down. For those who know and respect Tyler, he is known for pushing boundaries and challenging stereotypes thr[ough] humor. This is someone who grew up on David Chappelle. This situation is layered with context and is a discussion that Tyler would love to address in the right forum as he does have a point of view. As someone who hasn’t had the experience of being discriminated against I choose to respect the opinion of those who have. What I can speak to is Tyler, who represents much more than the current narrative this story suggests.” Clancy also admitted the commercial was ‘absurd.’ Tyler the Creator rapped controversial lyrics about rαping ‘a pregnant bítch’ and calling it a threesome. Dr. Watkins challenged PepsiCo for choosing to partner with controversial rappers, as Lil Wayne has a major endorsement deal with the Mountain Dew brand as well.