What Megan Thee Stallion’s Popeyes campaign means

In a new Popeyes commercial, rapper-provocateur Megan Thee Stallion hops on a motorcycle to pursue the villain who’d done something dastardly: swiping her “hottie sauce.” Collabos between fast-food chains and Black celebrities haven’t always gone well (Mary J Blige was widely panned for crooning a terrible Burger King jingle in 2012), and these partnerships can be inherently fraught due to racist associations of Blackness with fried chicken or unhealthy foods. For Grub Street, writer Jordan Taliha McDonald asked whether this Megan move is changing the game for Black spokespersonship; word on the street is that Megan will be a franchisee and not just a buxom mouthpiece peddling a sweet-and-sour sauce. She’s not replacing Annie, the fictional middle-aged Black woman character who’s repped the Louisiana chain. But MTS brings a certain je ne sais quoi that merges youth, feminine assertion, capitalism, and performance. Not to mention merch: You can buy a Popeyes’ “Saucy” T-shirt or a $50 bikini with flames emblazoned across the nipple area. McDonald concludes that Meg’s contribution to the fast-food advertising canon will be a “remix” and not “a revolution.” 

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