NEW YORK (PIX11) — The familiar ice cream truck jingle you remember from your childhood has a dark origin.
An investigation by NPR revealed that the melody for the popular tune that plays from many ice cream trucks across the country comes from the extremely racist song “N***** Love a Watermelon Ha! Ha! Ha!” The song was written by Harry C. Browne and released by Columbia Records in 1916.
One of the lines of the song is, “Yes, ice cream! Colored man’s ice cream: WATERMELON!”
NPR reporter Theodore R. Johnson III was researching racial stereotypes when he made the unfortunate connection between the horrific mistral song and innocent ice cream trucks. “I soon realized that the ice cream truck song was forever ruined for me,” Johnson wrote.
The “Turkey in the Straw” melody even shows up in a “Murphy’s Oil” commercial.
The author of the song used the well-known melody of the 19th century song “Turkey in the Straw.”
Johnson notes that there is no denying the connection between the racist song and the ice cream truck jingle.
“There is simply no divorcing the song from the dozens of decades it was almost exclusively used for coming up with new ways to ridicule, and profit from, black people.”
To listen to the extremely offensive song, click here.