The Sour Origins Of This Famous Ice Cream Song

ice cream truck set up on a beach
Briona Lamback
August 30, 2022

Is everything racist? How could something as simple as the ice cream truck be racist?

Many things are racist –white supremacy has intentionally designed it this way– and the ice cream truck tune we’ve all heard humming through our neighborhoods for decades is no different. 

The ever-recognizable jingle many trucks play is from a song called “Nigger Love A Watermelon! Ha Ha Ha!” written by actor Harry C. Browne. He hated our people.

The song played into infamous minstrel-era stereotypes of us mindlessly and greedily devouring what they called the “Black man’s ice cream” - watermelon. 

It’s stupid, but there is a much deeper lesson here.

In 2020, Wu-Tang’s RZA reimagined the ice cream truck jingle in partnership with Good Humor. This song isn’t the end of the world, but it reminds us to take note of the seemingly innocent ways racism rears its ugly roots. 

We should consider how white supremacy is snaking its way through the most critical parts of our lives within systems like education, medical, criminal legal, and housing.

They’ve ingrained white supremacy into society, hoping we’d never notice or question how it’s sprinkled throughout our everyday lives. We can continue minding our Black a** business, reimagining the world, uplifting our communities, and enjoying life’s sweetest and simplest joys at the same time.

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