Mary J. Blige: Burger King Backlash 'Broke My Heart'
Mary J. Blige was ridiculed and criticized when her commercial for Burger King went viral. But while others were having a laugh at her expense, she was quietly dealing with the fallout. Now the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul reveals how the backlash “crushed” her, while making her realize who her true friends were.
In the commercial, Mary sings a jingle about the fast food chain’s new crispy chicken snack wraps. But when it hit the net earlier this year, the ad was heavily panned and even labeled racist by some.
During an interview with Angie Martinez, she explained why she took so long to address it. “I felt there was no need for me to say anything because everyone was running with it and crucifying me,” she said. “So I just pulled back and I watched everyone and everything. It’s just something that I thought would have been great for my brand.”
The 41-year-old singer went online looking for her remix to Fat Joe’s “Another Round,” and ended up discovering the video. “It just broke my heart. People were going crazy,” shared Mary. “What this did, it exposed everyone and everything that was in my life.”
She was surprised and embarrassed when she saw the final edit. “I wanted to crawl under the bed,” she said. “It was a mistake, but I did it because I thought it was something that wouldn’t come out like that. It was sold to us that I would be shot in an iconic way. I was looking for someone to have mercy, but no one had mercy. It was a learning experience. It hurt my feelings. It crushed me for like two days.”
The painful experience made her realize who her true friends were. “All those fair-weather friends that were online popping junk… That’s the kind of stuff that hurt my feelings so bad.”
She offered a heartfelt apology to those who may have been offended. “I want to apologize to everyone that was offended or thought that I would do something so disrespectful to our culture. I would never do anything like that purposely. I thought I was doing something right, so forgive me.”
While there were reports that she earned $2 million for the campaign, she insists that was not the case. “It was about a branding opportunity,” explained Mary, who was offered over $2 million to be a Proactiv spokesperson, but turned it down because she didn’t personally use the brand.
Her childhood dream was to be in a Burger King or McDonald’s commercial. “At the end of the day, it’s something I always wanted to do and dreamed about and that’s why I did it.”