The original song has no racist undertones. But the melody for “Turkey in the Straw” was used by minstrels in black letters and set on very racist texts – and that’s how it became known in the USA, wrote Johnson. Ice cream parlors often played minstrel songs in the 19th century, which eventually became ice cream van jingles.
Good Humor urged all ice cream truck drivers to stop playing “Turkey in the Straw” and said RZA’s new jingle would make ice cream trucks available across the country. The jingle will also be added to industry-standard ice cream truck music boxes, the company said.
“Good Humor hasn’t owned ice cream trucks since the 1970s, nor have we created ‘Turkey in the Straw’ or other jingles,” the company wrote in a statement.
“However, as the industry leader and developer of the original ice cream truck, we want to be part of the solution to this problem, especially as we work closely with so many ice cream truck drivers across the country.”