Yes, I’ve been gone a LONG time. I’ll address that in a moment. Right now, there’s this:
I spent a week in Detroit at the beginning of the month. The relationship between Detroit and its non-white residents is something I have a lot of thoughts about. Little did I know that Seagram’s offering me the chance to buy my gin with a du-rag needed to be one of those things.
Oh, Seagram’s. Oh poor, misguided, unambiguously racist Seagram’s. Apparently this gin is “Urban Elegance” … that’s what I learned by checking out the Seagram’s Gin Live site. And, as we all know by now and as the ads on the Seagram’s site confirm, “urban” is a way of saying “black.” Yeah. Should I comment on their “Gin & Juice” line of pre-mixed drinks? You know, the eight-mix collection with names that are almost all notably violent or aggressive (Red Fury, anyone? How about a Blue Beast or some Purple Rage?). Should I comment on the 2011 model calendar with eleven months of scantily clad black women and one Asian woman, each associated with a drink (at least they didn’t make the Asian woman pose for “Singapore Bling” or “Raspberry Twisted Kamikaze” … I guess that shows something)?
And of course, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission has under its fingernails the dirt of approving this ad campaign. Really, people?
Ok, so I’m not actually surprised. In my neighborhood, I am bombarded with offensive ads all the time. The most offensive of these are usually for alcohol.² But this giveaway still amazes me. And it amazes me for a reason that has nothing to do with how disgusted I am. My disgust is a given. Let’s think about this from the Seagram’s side of things. You’re creating an ad campaign for your big fancy client, Seagram’s Gin. You know they have a whole “Urban Elegance” thing going on … and you think a du-rag has anything to do with elegance? Do you? And clearly there’s a crazy-pants, drinks-too-much-of-the-gin staffer at Seagram’s who shares that ridiculous notion. There is nothing remotely “elegant” about a du-rag, people. Just know this. Know it.³
Let’s get back to my righteous indignation. You know what would be true urban elegance? If all the “urban” people Seagram’s thinks they’re targeting with this giveaway turned their backs on this crap and shopped for Tanqueray or Beefeater instead. So much classier than me pouting in a corner (in my du-rag).
¹ Though, I could have found it in plenty of other places. For example: The Milwaukee Drum (and yes, I’d love to get that “Uppity Negro” t-shirt from the sidebar).
² How happy was I when a Sean Coombs Ciroc ad replaced the awful Captain Morgan billboard I used to have to pass every morning? I may not be a Diddy fan, but I much prefer his ad to the image of a black woman looking drugged and unfocused as she sprawls on the ground in a bikini, her skin dripping oil. Every morning for about six months. Feh.
³ And, while it sounds as though I have all kinds of bad feelings about du-rags, this is really not the case. I am, in truth, wearing one right now, protecting my curls so I can be all cute tomorrow. I’m just saying there’s a time and a place for a du-rag, and when I’m stepping out and thinking I’m all the ish, there is narry a du-rag in sight.