Who hasn't heard the music from an ice cream truck as it drives throughout neighborhoods? According to E Online on Tuesday, the claim is that the song heard from the ice cream truck originally recorded in the early 1900 is racist. Most people including the driver of the truck don't know that the name of the song with the loud carousel music without the lyrics is "N--- Love A Watermelon." Not all ice cream trucks play this music, but many of them do play it.
The ice cream truck music merits the distinction of the most racist song title in America. The song was written by Harry C. Browne and released by Columbia Records in March 1916. The ice cream trucks play only music, but the lyrics if heard would give a racist depiction of black people as mindless beasts of burden greedily devouring slices of watermelon.
A researcher concluded that for his creation, Browne simply used the well-known melody of the early 19th-century song "Turkey in the Straw." During the 19th century, ice cream parlors played the popular minstrel songs of the day. After World War II, ice cream parlors to came up with a way to take their products to customers. Ice cream trucks were the solution with a music box installed in them as a way to announce their presence in neighborhoods. The traditional 19th century tunes were employed to evoke the memorable parlor experience. Kids today recognize this music today. When the music is heard, it sending kids running into houses to get money to buy ice cream.
If you see an ice cream truck and hear this tune, ask the driver if he is aware of the music he is playing through his loud speaker.
Who knew that something as innocent as music from an ice cream truck could have a racist history?