Tyler, the Creator opened up to Billboard about the ad he developed for Mountain Dew. Social commentator Dr. Boyce Watkins called the 60-second spot "arguably the most racist commercial in history" and it was subsequently pulled from the brand's YouTube channels. Tyler removed it from his channel as well.
When asked about the concept of the commercial, Tyler said race had nothing to do with the casting, portraying stereotypes wasn't his "intention" and, at one point, even offered the "I got a white friend" card.
"I was focused on that first zoom shot over their shoulders. That's what I was stoked on. You know why? Cause I like film, and I like directing, and that's where my heart was set. I wasn't thinking, “Oh, let's use all black [people]” or whatever. I wanted to use my friends. You know why? ‘Cause I don't like using other actors. You can look at every one of my videos, and my friends are always in it. Saying that I'm racist — every video I got, Lucas is in it! He's a little scrawny white kid. So what is this dude talking about?"
The Odd Future frontman also said that he considered Watkins' perspective. And, while his generation experiences race differently, he was offended that he was getting backlash from a fellow black man.
"I look at it from his perspective. He's an older black man. It's a generation gap. He's older than me. So the things that he had to experience with racism and stereotypes and being a black man in this country is different from mine … But I also don't understand why in life are you trying to point out the negatives. It's a young black man who got out of the ‘hood and made something of himself, who's now working with big, white-owned corporations. Not even in front of the camera acting silly, but directing it ... But instead of looking at the positivity from that, he's trying to boycott Mountain Dew."
When asked if the planned fourth installment of the commercial series will be released, Tyler's manager told the outlet to defer such questions to the beverage maker.
There's been no word as yet from the company on the status of Tyler's endorsement deal, but a PepsiCo rep did offer an apology to anyone who was offended by the commercial when they announced they removed the ad.
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(Photo: Winston Burris/WENN.com)