Five years ago, Pepsi came out with this commercial during the Super Bowl.
Many of us were outraged with the horrible depiction of a dark skinned, weave wearing shrew that emasculated her partner and was prone to violence when he did not behave according to her whims. It concludes with the angry shrew of a woman throwing a can meant for her partner that hits the cute blond white girl that was smiling at him.
Make no mistake about the messaging here. The woman is dark for a reason. She fits into the narrative that dark skinned women are the black community’s special kind of ratchet…a woman that no one loves and barely tolerates, and as soon as dude can get up under her, he’ll jogging right alongside the blond.
Contrast that messaging to the current Coke commercial.
The cute white guy bypasses all the white girls in pursuit of his quarry–a dark skinned, natural-haired beauty to smile sweetly as she hands him a Coke. The attraction between them is undeniable, and they spend their time at the party together having fun.
I bring these two commercials up to display the power media messages have over how the public at large sees a minority group. In the first ad, the black woman is so repulsive that even her boyfriend can’t wait to get away from her. In the second promo, a handsome man goes to considerable effort to get to a sweet and feminine black woman he wants to spend time with.
Which is better for our collective image? Need I even ask?