Is Snoop Dogg The New Billy Dee Williams? Colt 45 & Blast Hope So
Internationally renown superstar and smooth talker Billy Dee Williams has had an impeccable run as one of the most important, highly revered and universal icons of film to ever grace the silver screen. However, despite the looks, voice, smile and charisma, there is still a quite ugly stain on the legacy Williams will leave behind. Of course, that stain is the infamous decision to represent malt liquor brand Colt 45.
It has long been known such companies tend to target the African-American community relentlessly, hoping to brand their products as “Black” because of the black celebrities they can find to represent them. Williams did his commercials back in the ’80s. Nearly 30 years later, the targeting has not stopped.
Rapper Snoop Dogg has probably never been accused of being a great role model. He does a lot for kids and has consistently throughout his career, but his pimp persona probably doesn’t set the best example. By choosing to be “pimped” by Colt 45, has he stooped to a new low?
Colt 45 is introducing a new drink called Blast by Colt 45 and is (once again) seeking traction in the African-American community. Blast is a high-alcohol-content beverage offering a host of fruity flavors, including grape and strawberry lemonade, in colorful cans resembling that of a soda or energy drink. The alcohol level is said to be the equivalent to drinking a six pack of beer. (Are you having Four Loko flashbacks yet?) Due to its alcohol content and the targeting of underage drinkers, nineteen states are calling for the drink to be banned. While the fight for the company to take their new drink and “drop it like it’s hot” is just getting underway, they may have even bigger issues. Snoop has signed on to endorse the brand.
Media watchdog Paul Porter has outed the company’s thinly veiled attempt to target and attract underage drinkers and released video of a webinar in which these intentions are clearly stated. That video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Pabst Marketing. Snoop Dogg is not just endorsing the product in ads, but on Twitter and with product placement in his music.
With record sales dwindling, artists are turning to multiple forms of advertising and partnerships with companies to bring in the bucks and promote their albums. However, the question must be asked: How long will we continue to sell ourselves out? At some point, we have to be responsible enough to decide that our people and the promotion of healthy, desirable lifestyles among them are worth more than any sum of money we can be paid to popularize our own detriment. Unfortunately, there is always a Snoop Dogg—or even worse, a Billy Dee Williams—willing to make the wrong choice.
Will we ever learn?