Monday, August 18, 2014

New Apple ad features Jason Hall's Slow Roll with Mos Def sampling Marvin Gaye: So, now Black folks get a verse, too

True Confession: As much as I love Walt Whitman, as much as I love Robin Williams and the movie The Dead Poet's Society, as much as I love Apple's "Verse Anthem" commercial using Walt Whitman's poem "O Me! O Life!," and poetry itself, I confess that I have been brooding, disappointed with the razzle-dazzle-'em computer giant. Its first "Verse Anthem" commercial, while beautifully poetic, has no Black people in it.

For a while I thought about writing a post putting them on blast for that oversight, one that seemed particularly egregious given the #YesWeCode initiative and other programs that aim to bridge the digital divide between African-Americans, urban youth, and the nearly lily white slopes of Silicon Valley.

I mean, that commercial even appears to have people in it performing Hip Hop, but not one glimpse of the ethnic group that created Hip Hop. And, of course, wouldn't it have been nice of them to show African-Americans enjoying poetry and being technically savvy? Such visuals help break stereotypes.

Really, my disdain had grown to the point where its Parenthood commercial with that folksy and monotonous "Living the Life of Dreams" tune aggravated me. How many Black parents can you find in that commercial?  Don't we need more images of Black people being good parents?

I tell you, I was about to switch over to an Android phone.

So, I was pleased to see and hear Apple's latest "Verse" commercial featuring Jason Hall's Slow Roll Detroit project. Immediately I recognized Marvin Gaye's "Chained" had been sampled in a remix of Mos Def's "Undeniable." The composite is called "You Are Undeniable (Amerigo Remix)." You can hear it and see the commercial after this paragraph, and below that I've posted Marvin Gaye's "Chained" and Mos Def's original "Undeniable" separately. If you want the remix, you can buy it from iTunes, of course, but also

Apple describes the commercial this way:
Jason Hall inspires thousands of people to witness the revitalization of Detroit from two wheels. As the cofounder of the Slow Roll city bike ride, Hall taps into his community spirit and his iPad to turn an idea into a movement.

"Chained" by Marvin Gaye

"Undeniable" by Mos Def

I'm pretty sure that there's an Apple fan out there who thinks this kind of stuff is not important, but companies that want to sell to everybody need to show everybody using their stuff.

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