STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

RZA came up with a new ice cream truck jingle because the old one was used in minstrel shows

A popular ice cream truck jingle called "Turkey in the Straw" has a racist past. So Good Humor ice cream company tapped Wu-Tang Clan's RZA to create a new one.

Posted: Aug 16, 2020 2:30 PM
Updated: Aug 16, 2020 2:30 PM

The ice cream truck jingle of your childhood is about to get an upgrade -- and RZA is behind it.

The hip-hop icon of Wu-Tang fame has teamed up with the ice cream brand Good Humor to re-imagine the signature "Turkey in the Straw" jingle played by ice cream trucks all over the country. Because as it turns out, the tune has a problematic past.

"Do you remember that ice cream jingle? Of course, we all know it," RZA said in a promotional video for Good Humor, which is owned by Unilever. "I'm not going to play it right now, though, because we come to find out that it has racist roots."

"Turkey in the Straw" originated from a traditional British tune brought to the American colonies by Scots-Irish immigrants, according to scholar Theodore R. Johnson in his 2014 article for NPR.

The original song has no racial undertones. But the melody to the "Turkey in the Straw" was used by minstrel show performers in blackface and set to very racist lyrics -- and that is how it rose to prominence in the US, Johnson wrote. Ice cream parlors throughout the 1800's commonly played minstrel songs, which were eventually turned into ice cream truck jingles.

"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," Good Humor said in a statement.

Good Humor called on all ice cream truck drivers to stop playing "Turkey in the Straw," and said the new jingle created by RZA will be made available to ice cream trucks across the country. The jingle will also be added to industry standard ice cream truck music boxes, the company said.

"Good Humor has not owned ice cream trucks since the 1970s, nor did we create "Turkey in the Straw" or any other jingles," the company wrote 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."

Listen to the new jingle here.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1670716

Reported Deaths: 48049
CountyCasesDeaths
Queens2149058858
Kings2143669200
Suffolk1645393105
Nassau1505382935
Bronx1465595920
Westchester1090382116
New York1054913954
Erie660591610
Richmond578951590
Monroe52990993
Rockland39149895
Orange37631730
Onondaga32606634
Dutchess22678410
Albany21030333
Oneida19829480
Niagara15404312
Broome15169336
Saratoga12095145
Schenectady10946178
Ulster10206229
Rensselaer9124132
Putnam846086
Chautauqua7379123
Chemung6454130
Oswego606089
Ontario585889
St. Lawrence562289
Steuben5545138
Cayuga540689
Jefferson485263
Sullivan482260
Herkimer4578107
Wayne451065
Cattaraugus445876
Genesee4450118
Madison386985
Clinton370426
Livingston357656
Tompkins348942
Columbia342596
Fulton338984
Montgomery3219107
Cortland319260
Allegany291381
Warren287255
Wyoming285349
Tioga282656
Greene268271
Orleans246381
Chenango246170
Otsego240243
Washington236652
Franklin212012
Lewis208030
Seneca163253
Delaware154333
Essex135626
Schoharie122913
Yates101726
Schuyler87012
Hamilton2852
Unassigned182118
Out of NY0193
Rome
Partly Cloudy
20° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 10°
Feels Like: 3°
Binghamton
Clear
19° wxIcon
Hi: 25° Lo: 11°
Feels Like: 3°
Rome
Partly Cloudy
20° wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 12°
Feels Like: 3°
Rome
Partly Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 17° Lo: 3°
Feels Like: 7°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Foodie Fridays Rosa's 50% 0ff - Now thru March 18
Submit your Mutt Madness Picture through March 10th
March into Beautiful Skin Giveaway
Under 100 2021 Golf Cards left!
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve