Tyler, The Creator's Mountain Dew ad has already been banned due to Dr. Boyce Watkins decrying it as "arguably the most racist commercial in history," but now the social activist is back tracking just a bit after studying the Odd Future rapper's music. In an interview about the controversy, Tyler expresses his disbelief that the ad was ever interpreted as racist, citing the generation gap as a probable reason for Watkins' initial reaction.
"There's no type of hate being portrayed in that work of art at all," Tyler told Billboard. "But this older black dude, Dr. Boyce Watkins, I guess he found it racist because I was portraying stereotypes, which is ridiculous because, one, all of those dudes [in the line-up] are my friends."
Tyler explained that there were absolutely no intended racial undertones in the ad, which was simply supposed to tell the story of a crazed goat who went as far as assaulting a woman on his quest to secure more Mountain Dew. "It's just a goat. I just think a goat is funny. It's no deeper meaning," he explained. "I wasn't thinking, 'Oh, let's use all black [people]' or whatever. I wanted to use my friends. You know why? 'Cause I don't like using other actors. You can look at every one of my videos, and my friends are always in it. Saying that I'm racist — every video I got, Lucas is in it! He's a little scrawny white kid. So what is this dude talking about?"
Dr. Watkins had a slight change of heart, reaching out to Tyler on Twitter on May 2, writing, "Studied your music, I have an altered perspective. Still could do without the ad, but I think you were well-intended. #respect." Tyler obviously interpreted this as "I take back what I said."
"You're so quick to judge something that you don't know the context, you're so quick to call me a racist and other stuff, but he didn't know where I was coming from. But then he looked at what I have actually done, and now he wants to take his statement back," Tyler said in reaction. "'My daughters listen to you.' OK, that's confusing, because if I'm such a racist, and such a bad person, and feeding negativity to the youth, why are your daughters listening to me? That shows you're a bad parent and a hypocrite if your daughters are listening to me and I'm such a bad person."
"I was watching a 20-minute interview that Dr. Boyce Watkins had about me, and he said that I was feeding into my demographic of black pain," he added. "Dude, to keep it honest, a lot of black teenagers don't even listen to my music, and then he says I'm portraying that it's OK to be a thug. Are you serious? All my music is about being awkward and not fitting in!"
Despite his annoyance, he did try to understand where Watkins was coming from when he reacted. "Then again, I look at it from his perspective. He's an older black man. It's a generation gap. He's older than me. So the things that he had to experience with racism and stereotypes and being a black man in this country, is different from mine."
Who said Tyler isn't diplomatic? With all that said though, Watkins is still happy that the ad was removed. "I think that people believe that I regret telling Mountain Dew to take down the ad, I do not," he tweeted.