Published May 03, 2013Odd Future lynchpin Tyler, the Creator sparked controversy with one of his recent commercials for Mountain Dew, showing a injured woman trying to identify her attacker out a police lineup that includes several black males and a goat. The ad has been called racist and sexist, and now Tyler has spoken out to give his side of the story.
Much of this controversy surrounds a blog post written by social commenter Dr. Boyce Watkins, who called the ad "arguably the most racist commercial in history." Speaking with Billboard, Tyler explained that he wasn't attempting to comment on racial stereotypes by including only young black men in his lineup.
"This older black dude, Dr. Boyce Watkins, I guess he found it racist because I was portraying stereotypes, which is ridiculous because, one, all of those dudes [in the lineup] are my friends," Tyler said. "Two, they're all basically in their own clothes. It was originally supposed to be just two dudes, but Garrett from Trash Talk came with his friend and other people had showed up, so I just put all of them in that lineup, if you really wanna know the truth."
He explained that the commercial isn't intended for social analysis, and said, "I just think a goat is funny. It's no deeper meaning."
Tyler added that Watkins' criticism is indicative of an age gap, noting, "I look at it from his perspective. He's an older black man. It's a generation gap. He's older than me. So the things that he had to experience with racism and stereotypes and being a black man in this country, is different from mine. I grew up in a generation where there's white kids listening to rap and black kids playing hockey, breaking the norms and everything. He comes from a whole different state of mind when he sees that stuff. He probably was getting fucked with by white people when he was my age. So for him to always have to break the [stereotype] of being a 'black thug' when he was growing up, and for him to see that in a commercial, it probably hurts him."
Dr. Boyce Watkins seems to have backtracked somewhat on his initial criticism, and yesterday tweeted, "studied your music, I have an altered perspective. Still could do without the ad, but I think you were well-intended. #respect." That said, he's still critical about the ad, and he posted a 22-minute video response to Tyler's latest interview. Watch the clip below.
The good news for Tyler's fan base is that this controversy won't change the Odd Future leader's one-of-a-kind approach to art. He said, "All my music is about being awkward and not fitting in," and added, "it's not gonna change my art in any way."