Tyler, The Creator has broken his silence regarding his controversial Mountain Dew commercial.
In the clip, directed by Tyler, a battered white woman attempts to identify her abuser out of a lineup of five black men and one talking goat. The goat, named Felicia, threatens the woman, who then flees the scene. The commercial was promptly pulled by Pepsi Co. after facing accusations of portraying racism and abuse against women. In an interview with Billboard the Odd Future member addresses the backlash.
“I guess people are claiming that it’s racist, which… you know, that wasn’t even portrayed in that commercial, there’s no type of hate being portrayed in that work of art at all – which I’m confused by,” he said.
One of the harshest criticisms of the commercial came from author and activist Dr. Boyce Watkins, who regarded the ad as “arguably one of the most racist commercials in history.” Though Tyler did respond to Dr. Boykin’s comment via Twitter, stating he “would love to have a convo” with him, the rapper expounded on their varying points of view in the interview.
“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. I grew up in a generation where there’s white kids listening to rap and black kids playing hockey, breaking the norms and everything,” he said. “He comes from a whole different state of mind when he sees that stuff. He probably was getting fucked with by white people when he was my age. So for him to always have to break the [stereotype] of being a ‘black thug’ when he was growing up, and for him to see that in a commercial, it probably hurts him.”
In the end it seems for Tyler, fearless creativity trumps being criticized. With confusion and even some slight annoyance, he vowed to continue his approach to his work.
“It’s not gonna change my art in any way. I just hope that somehow, if it gets bigger or if it disappears tomorrow, that it just opens people’s minds up. I just actually can’t believe that somebody sat there and pointed out that it was all black people, instead of being confused that it was a freaking goat talking,” he said. “That’s mind-blowing. That’s mind-blowing that people still think like that. I’m standing here in the freaking sun, burning up on a freaking conference call when I could be out skating, all because of some black dude’s opinion that other people who can’t think for themselves followed.”