Words by Nick Slay
The Eagles’ 41-33 win over the New England Patriots wasn’t the only nail biting, anxiety fueled reaction to last night’s game.
The NFL may have had a more controversial season with Colin Kaepernick taking a knee than when Will Smith played African Dr. Bennet Omalu and blew the lid off of the concussion conspiracy. The spectacular end to the season was no different. During last night’s Super Bowl, a Dodge Ram truck commercial rubbed people rubbed people the wrong way.
During a 30 spot which appeared to a homage to American patriotism, the soundtrack for the commercial featured one of Dr. King’s famous last speeches. King’s 1968 speech “The Drum Major Instinct,” was the backdrop for a spot that ultimately was used to sell trucks. Dodge created the ad as part of their, “built to serve” campaign that even features a soldier in camouflage uniform returning home from the battlefield. Despite their best intentions the ad even received rebuke from the King Center.
Neither @TheKingCenter nor @BerniceKing is the entity that approves the use of #MLK’s words or imagery for use in merchandise, entertainment (movies, music, artwork, etc) or advertisement, including tonight’s @Dodge #SuperBowl commercial.
— The King Center (@TheKingCenter) February 5, 2018
Black Twitter responded in similar fashion.
For many blacks who felt that the NFL and the President debuted a lack of respect for the civil rights struggle demonstrated in the kneel felt round the world, the commercial felt like a smack in the face. For many, Kaepernick’s actions aren’t a sign of disrespect for the nation’s military but a cry for help after a tumultuous year that was filled with black and other unarmed men of color being shot by police. Not to mention the racist words and actions that have been seeping through the cracks during the Trump Administration. For many on social media this felt like a little too much. Dr. King’s message and voice should never be used to support blatant commercialism.
ARE THEY USING MLK TO SELL RAM TRUCKS?!
— The Righteous Playa From 79th (@FlowsAndolini) February 5, 2018
Black people cant kneel and play football but MLK should be used to sell trucks during the super bowl. Unbelievable.
— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) February 5, 2018
The King family has vehemently defended MLK's likeness, voice, speeches, etc. FOR DECADES. To hear him now… on an ad… to sell… trucks…. is unsettling.
— April (@ReignOfApril) February 5, 2018
It’s incredibly disgusting for Dodge to exploit Martin Luther King’s words to sell Ram trucks. Tone deaf as hell.#SuperBowl
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) February 5, 2018
The full ad can be seen here: