Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This Week's _____ Please Award Goes To...McNugget Love TOO

Actually, I won't be giving any McNugget love today. Just bewilderment and pure disgust at McDonald's lack of parameters in marketing their food filth to the masses.

McDonald's should not receive all the blame for misguided and shameless promotional activities. Everyone does it, and mostly without any reprimand (my own company for example created a rap to encourage consumers to read nutritional labels as a part of a strategic communication package for FDA, one of our clients...Shameful <--Insert sarcasm font here).

So, R&B and Rap, while both relatively mainstream now due to Viacom owned MTV and BET (MTV's baby cousin with cornrows), still hold a cultural significance to me and many other Black Americans. More than anything, I believe this connection is due to the fact that they represent the sounds we grew up on. I remember my Mother jamming to Stevie upstairs in the living room while my Dad played MC Hammer albums in the basement. For all they both did wrong and right, I know that without a shadow of doubt, my parents both provided me love & support, and nourished my soul with good music as much as they nourished my physical with the Cream of Wheat (Mark Sr.) and morning wheatgrass juice (Lorrie) they provided (or forced down my throat) each morning. To me, R&B and Rap go hand in hand with delicious & nutritious food, and a well supported and well fed body & soul.

The other night, I found myself nostalgically revisiting those times where my parents were my primary sources of growth and development. TV One (God Bless You Cathy Hughes!) now airs "A Different World" and it has spun me into a world of appreciation for the role it played in my childhood, in 30 minute increments. As I once did as a child, I now can not do anything unless I've had my does of Dwayne Wayne, Whitley and the gang at Hillman College. It even occurred to me that I probably dreamed of college with as much fervor and determination as I did because I had this show as a significant part of my formidable years (my lovely maternal Grandmother once recorded all the episodes of the series on VHS tapes for me...Love that lady!)

While on this train of nostalgia, we took a break for a word from our sponsors. Who do we find at the top of that sponsor list. Ol' Mickey D's. RED FLAG #1. TV One, a part of Cathy Hughes' African-American focused media empire should be leveraging it's role and power to sponsor groups working against the over-saturation of McDonald's pushing their saturated fat filled food to a community already riddled with heart disease and diabetes almost to the point of hereditary and habitual demise.

To boot, the commercial was second in a series of McNugget Love R&B themed McDonald's commercials seeming to encourage me and my counterparts to get coital with a McNugget that is made of chicken parts...RED FLAG #2

African-American empowerment and community development goes hand in hand with the recreation of our collective views towards health and our bodies. We can't build wealth if our hearts are gonna give out on us in our late 40's or early 50's. As the descendants of slaves and economically marginalized peoples, we are at risk for many of the residual physical and mental ailments that come from limited resources that have forced the consumption of "parts" covered and coated in saturated fats. One of my personal callings (and that of many friends) has been to strike a more clear balance in what we put into our bodies. Not to say that I don't indulge in practices that are less than healthy at times. I like bacon dammit and don't plan to stop eating it anytime soon. And hold that turkey ish. I'll do that every now and then (when I'm feeling particularly EBP), but game recognizes game, and sometimes there's no replacement for the rich, salty taste of the divine swine.

Not every day though, and never without enough green vegetables throughout the day to counter the heart unhealthy effects of that pork. Herein lies my McDonald's beef (PUN!). There are far too many communities lacking access to resources beyond a McDonald's, a Taco Bell, or a Jack in the Box. With our national economic resources dwindling for an unknown period of time, there is even less incentive to seek out healthy and revitalizing food sources. This is compounded greatly if the nearest non-711 or bodega style grocery outlet is miles from one's neighborhood (no one shopping for a family wants to carry groceries on a bus or a subway train, God forbid if they have to switch lines in the travel process!).

McDonald's is a business though, and will seek out profit margins in the most efficient way possible. It's no surprise then that you will find their outlets in abundance in the neighborhoods that also lack quality grocery stores with safe and fresh produce and foods. Those same neighborhoods are within the fold of Cathy Hughes' media empire targets as well. TV One might have a gap in their sponsors if they booted Mickey D's, or at least countered each McDonald's commercial on their station with PSA's to organize members of the African-American community around food access issues. Someone has got to do something....This problem has persisted for many decades now (see the Good Times episode where Florida has to protest a grocery store that served bad meat and got everyone pregnant)

McDonald's is good for upgrading their menus and business practices based on widespread backlash against the undisputed negative health and environmental effects of over-consumption of their food. What they are not good at doing however, is not engaging in predatory proliferation of their restaurants within vulnerable communities suffering from a dearth of food access. Since they won't do it, TV One should help them out by refusing to allow McDonald's advertisement during their peak viewing hours. In fact, they should replace that advertising with information and education that builds up healthy communities and finally turns the tide in the Black-American community towards what is realistically healthy and what is downright inarguably killing whole sectors of our community.

If you want my McNugget love, you'll have to tell me what the hell is in a McNugget first.

Glossary: EBP = Educated Black Person (aka Uppity Negro)

Y'all better Real Eyes.

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