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Ice Cream Truck Song is From Racist Minstrel Tune (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Most people would be surprised that a popular tune played by ice cream trucks has a racist past.

According to NPR, the ice cream truck song is based on a racist tune "N----- Love A Watermelon Ha! Ha! Ha!" which was written by actor Harry C. Browne and released in 1916 (video below).

The lyrics included, "You n----- quit throwin' them bones and come down and get your ice cream/ Ice Cream? / Yes, ice cream! Colored man's ice cream: WATERMELON!!"

Browne's racist tune was based on 19th-century song "Turkey in the Straw," which came to America via immigrants from Scotland and Ireland.

"Turkey in the Straw" was played in blackface minstrel shows and in ice cream parlors in the 19th century.

After cars were invented in the 20th century, ice cream companies built ice cream trucks that played the tune, which has attracted children for decades.

Spin magazine notes that Browne's offensive version is musically related to the racist tune "Zip Coon," which featured lyrics that were eventually used in Disney's beloved song "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah."

WARNING: RACIST LANGUAGE

Sources: NPR and Spin