The original song has no racial undertones. But the melody to the “Turkey in the Straw” was used by minstrel show performers in blackface and set to very racist lyrics — and that is how it rose to prominence in the US, Johnson wrote. Ice cream parlors throughout the 1800’s commonly played minstrel songs, which were eventually turned into ice cream truck jingles.
Good Humor called on all ice cream truck drivers to stop playing “Turkey in the Straw,” and said the new jingle created by RZA will be made available to ice cream trucks across the country. The jingle will also be added to industry standard ice cream truck music boxes, the company said.
“Good Humor has not owned ice cream trucks since the 1970s, nor did we create “Turkey in the Straw” or any other jingles,” the company wrote in a statement.
“However, as a leader in the industry, and the creator of the original ice cream truck, we want to be part of the solution on this issue, particularly since we work closely with so many ice cream truck drivers across the country.”