Pop Culture, Race & Politics

Pepsi Max Commercial: Everything’s Racist, Nothing’s Racist and You

I’ve seen the Pepsi Max commercial and it made me laugh. In fact every time I’ve watched (and I’ve watched it numerous times in my attempts to make sure that I wasn’t just being a douche), I’ve laughed.

I’m aware of the hullabaloo in the Black community behind this commercial. Here’s my synopsis: Black man needs to watch what he eats and his wife makes sure he does by being an overbearing woman who refuses to let him be great, even going so far as to place soap in his mouth instead of a burger. But alas,  he is allowed to drink Pepsi Max because there are no calories and she drinks one too. Well that is until she throws her can at the white devil woman who gives her man the googly eyes that he apparently enjoyed, knocking her the f*ck out. Realizing what just had done happened (Cornbread), they bone the f*ck out.

Something like that happened. And I’m aware why Black women especially are upset. This corporate entity places standard stereotypes about Black woman on front street. And at the end of the day, a blonde white woman comes along and all of a sudden the Black dude loses his sh*t, hits his dougie, swoons, and the Black woman goes all Black woman on his medieval arse. How dare Pepsi employ racial stereotypes aplenty in an ad.

Because that’s what it boils down too. Can I kick it?

Yes you can?

Can I kick it?

Yes you can.

Can I kick it?

Yes you can.

Well, I’m gone.

I get it. It’s f*cked up for them to even go that route, KNOWING how provocative it is. And provocative it is. I’m guessing there was at least one Black person on the team of writers like, “Hey guys, I’m not sure we should do this. My mom knows I work here.” And that’s fair. They played up on at least 5 different stereotypes in one 30 second commercial, which is pretty impressive if you think about it: nagging Black woman, emasculating Black woman, b*tch ninja Black man, white woman wanderlust, violent Black woman. And I’m sure I missed a few by not focusing on exactly how the woman looks, etc.

Except, I honestly think that to be offended by it, you need to be looking to be offended. There wasn’t a single Black woman alive who couldn’t relate to that. It was basically a Tyler Perry movie reduced to 30 seconds because if you notice, at the end, them two ninjas broke out…together. Black love like a motherf*cker. In fact, I’m sure this is how the commercial would have ended if they added an additional 30 seconds:

Him: Damn baby, you ain’t have to nail that white chick like that?
Her: She was eyeing my man. She needed to know what was up.
Him: You know I’m your baby. You know I love you.
Her: I know…but if I catch you lookin’ at that white b*tch again, it’s over.
Him: Baby, I only have eyes for you, and my Pepsi Max!
Her: Mmhmm.
Him: Can I have a kiss baby?
Her: No. Go on somewhere, I’m still mad.
Him: Awww, come here baby.
Them: Raw sex.

Black love wins out every time when there’s a common enemy, which in this case was the white girl who might press charges.

While I realize that there were definitely reasons to be offended, I also recognize that this same commercial could have been done with white people. Even down to the blonde eyeing the man. Of course, we have different issues in the Black community when it comes to Black men and white women, but is it Pepsi’s responsibility to worry about those? No. It’s not. Further, it’s a commercial, the folks at Pepsi made her a caricature of any overbearing woman with a 30 second window to show how lazy her husband is about his eating habits and her need to make sure he’s doing right. All of it could be done with any cast of any characters. It just hit home because there was a white woman involved, assuming it hit home at all.

Point is, everyone’s a little bit racist. And I look for racism everywhere I can find it. But there’s a time to chill and a time to kill. You can be offended by this commercial, but realize you’re choosing to be offended. It wasn’t a Black sociology commercial, it was a nagging/motherfigure woman commercial making sure her lazy husband did what he’s supposed to do who caught a wandering eye when a hot chick showed up. If anything needs to be questioned, its why the random running blonde is even in the commercial in the first place, that was just gratuitious and potentially put there to piss off everybody who found it racist. Perhaps Pepsi decided to be a douche. Me no know. But I wasn’t offended.

But I haven’t been a Black woman very long so maybe I’m just missing the point.

Oh and by the way, it was definitely funny. Funny is about execution. And it was executed perfectly. Unlike Christina Aguilera’s rendition of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” at the Super Bowl. Didn’t she know she was supposed to do the Star Spangled Banner??

Anyway, what say you? Talk to me.


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Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • i wasn’t offended. actually, i ain’t even think much about the white woman till you brought it up. #kanyeshrug

  • Shorty McShortstuff

    I was sorta offended because it was all very lazy. Welp…..

  • Passion

    I am black woman and I thought the commercial was one of the best. It was a 30 second commercial. I really don’t see why it’s being over-analyzed. People are just getting to sensitive these days.

  • ComicBookGuy

    I love the approach you took on this, Panama. I was rolling at that commercial when I saw it and the blonde haired white girl waving at him bout killed me. You can be offended by this commercial if you choose to be offended but racist overtones are what they are, plus sh!t like that happens. Plus ol boy hulled himself by looking a bit too hard with a kool aid smile on his face. Come on, now, you know that ain’t fly with a sista no matter race the girl was. Good synopsis, my man.

  • EngrGirl

    I finally watched the commercial and just thought it was dumb. I was more offended by her poorly sewn-in than anything else. And if I did hit a white girl with a can I would stand over her and say gotcha b*tch. LOL
    Bottom line drink coke. Taste way better & doesn’t leave a film on your teeth

  • bumilla

    (black) people are offended by this? really? i missed that memo due to a shot of rum i was taking at the time but watching it now, i’m still more interested in my shiraz. do folks know that there is a new country in africa? i mean, really. just because basketball wives wasn’t on this week doesn’t mean should this be a hot topic for folks.

  • LoveJones

    Yea I can definitely see the racism but the way I see…at least it wasn’t a sista gettin hit. Then it would have black on black crime. *shrugs* We just can’t seem to win.

    ***I also would like to add that as I was reading the “can I kick part” I was singing it in my phife voice

  • DQ

    My people, my people. We need to choose our battles. And this ain’t one of them. And I don’t say that just because I laughed heartily and non-stop through out the commercial (because I did) but because the argument that says it’s racist requires a conspiracy theory on the order of X-Files to be plausible.

    My opinion, It’s not just a choice about being offended, it’s a choice about being offended over something that doesn’t exist without great assistance and imagination on the part of the offended party. And I am willing to bet money that I don’t have, that if you tried hard enough you could make the case that EVERY commercial during the superbowl was racist (yes, even the ones that didn’t have black people in them)

  • alias

    I say NOT racist aaaannnnd effin hilarious. While the wife took a route a bit more aggressive than I would, while channeling my inner Claire huxtable, I didn’t find that it was so rough on us. Plus, she didn’t intentionally hit the 2520 bunny…or did she??? Hmmm, if so, sho ya rite! 2520, Hespanole, Chicken fried rice, Japanime, Red dot, or feather, Senagalese or AA, she was quite disrespectful with that flirtatious wave and in turn deserving of a good head bludgeoning, imho.

  • Curious Capital

    I didn’t think it was funny. I find really inappropriate things funny a la South Park, Tosh.O, Boondocks and Chappelle. This just rubbed me wrong.

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