Kia Australia Gets ‘The Message’ Entirely Wrong

Oh, Kia Australia. While this might not be anything comparable to what your fellow countrymen pulled when some of them chose to perform the Jackson 5 in blackface, this isn't exactly helping the bridge between our cultures get any closer. While I truly understand that Black culture has always had the world tightly held in its grasp, I also understand that if you are not of that culture, intergral elements can get lost in translation. Take this commercial for instance. While your advertising executives may have thought it to be cute to have Melle Mel and Scorpio in a Kia compact SUV rhyming to "The Message," the simple fact is that this song was pivotal in hip hop as a launching pad to discuss society's ills. I know you may think it's cute, but it's just really annoying. All I keep thinking about is how all of the band's members are ushered into a police car at the end the original video and now they're being jailed in this instance by greed. From what I can tell, no one's being pushed or is close to the edge in these suburban environs. In fact, I have to even call out these two Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five members for appearing in this. Money and greed may be green, but I guess dignity has no color. See what I mean below. [H/T: KMBA]

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18 Responses

  1. ok, now u guys really need to lighten up here.

  2. what's wrong with this commercial?

  3. Where the hamsters?

  4. Nothing is wrong with the commercial, but it's kinda like someone in you family painted something like a romare bearden and people used it to wipe their feet on.
    It just that our classics, which constantly change the paradigm, are treated like nothing and then we chime in and somehow Jazz becomes Kenny G.
    You follow me?

  5. Ok, we need to show you some good sh*t from Aus. Watch this space, the Oz Soul Collective is gonna leave you with a sweeter taste in your mouth 😉

  6. based on the post, i was expectin' to see these cats dancin a jig a la Steppin Fetch It...
    And i certainly dont see anything wrong with these cats getting some income from their seminal work... its 30 years later... literally... i'm happy for them... its not like we are collectively checkin for their music...

  7. It's called "irony," not racism.

  8. @Greg
    I'm not calling "racism" and I most certainly am not calling it "irony." I am calling it sad that Kia Australia find this song to not be more worthy of nothing more than an ironic joke used to sell cars. Kia has done the same thing with hamsters rhyming to Black Sheep's "The Choice Is Yours" in this country, again an iconic piece of hip hop history.
    I just feel like our heritage should be given more respect than this.

  9. I am so not offended by this that it's offensive. By the bye, it's not entirely "not cute". But that's just my opinion. I may be wrong.

  10. GOD - Lighten up woman!! (oh no he did just not call me woman) - Whats up with this sight and tryna point out faults in things... I'm from Australia, and let me tell you - im PRO black.. But when it comes to this, at first when i saw this commercial, i thought "mmmm, i dont know about them using this song" but then i thought about it again and well, if anything, its a sign that they actually EMBRACE black culture by using the song and they deem it worthy to promote to WHITE audiences.. I like this commercial, think about it. Or God forbid we see another TANK vs. SOULBOUNCE thing happening. replace negative with positive. wheres the new SOUL music on this site anyway? i havent seen anything decent for months.

  11. @Ed: To say that you haven't seen anything decent on this site in months is the most ridiculous thing I've heard in months. I suggest that you get your eyes and ears checked.

  12. @Mr. Ed
    ..."if anything, its a sign that they actually EMBRACE black culture by using the song and they deem it worthy to promote to WHITE audiences" is some of the most condescending shit I have ever seen written on this websight [sic].
    Firstly, you implying that white audiences "deem" this song "worthy" enough for their audiences is so insulting I am honestly sitting here with my mouth agape. Since when do white audiences need to deem anything originated by Black people appropriate enough for their consumption? Images of Elvis, Pat Boone, and the early Beach Boys and their jacking ways easily come to mind.
    Secondly, contrary to how you may feel, this music, while easily shared with all others, holds a special significance when it was made by people who inherently are a part of your culture e.g. look like you, talk like you, share the same ideas as you, etc. Suggesting that white people feel this classic hip hop song is good enough for them to promote a car is evidence, not that something is lost in translation, but that there is something, just like these advertisers, that you just don't get. And likely never will.
    I am coming hard at you. But this is just something that my mind cannot reconcile letting go. Just like how you and others may feel that your words are just words, people such as myself have lived our entire lives being sensitive to insensitive subtextual clues that hold much more meaning than perhaps the originator intended...or intended for the reader to not identify.
    Again, very insulting.
    To everyone else,
    If you feel that this is not a big deal, so be it. But as a rule, when I am shown something deeper that clicks within me, making paper, being cute, or anything else superficial just goes completely out of the window and becomes something I cannot ignore.
    This commercial speaks so much more than selling cars. To me it represents some people's desire to want to not give respect where it's due. Even artists will sacrifice their own dignity to be able to survive and I understand that. But I'm not going to condone it.
    This post and this website are not about "promoting the negative." Music encompasses and influences politics, cultural mores, and drives societal standards. We have explored this more often than not. In fact, we pride ourselves in it and have since day one. This will never be a site that regurgitates press releases or tries to kiss the ass of people we don't like just so we can get into some party. There are myriad sites who do that. We will continue to explore the implications music has on our world at large. If this bothers you, there are many other websites, even ones better known than this one, that can suit your needs. Until then, what you see it what you get.

  13. Being a dark skinned guy (not black but an often maligned race never the less) AND Australian, I am quite offended by this article (NOT the Ad). You write 'this isn't exactly helping the bridge between our cultures get any closer...' Can I ask you how this Ad affects this bridge in the first place? If anything, the image of people while maybe not 'sitting down at a table of brotherhood' but singing along together to a classic song that they both relate to in completely different ways is a good image. Music is universal, a unifier that relates to people in different ways, and while the image of people being bundled into cars from the video clip may stick with you, for me this song reminds me most of my childhood, growing up singing along to the rhymes in my brothers car, just like this ad.
    Your article, without stating it fully, attempts to link this ad with some sort of unintended racism and I don't see the link at all (and it's not because of some cultural misunderrstanding. Yes, Australia does have racist elements, but America is far a perfect model for cultural harmony.) Maybe, just maybe, this is an Ad about people enjoying music in a car... which is what I thought when I first saw the ad. Cultural insensitivity? When the guys who wrote the track appear in the ad, I think you kinda lose the argument on that one.
    Also, the ad is being ironic, in a sense that it supplants the urban message of 'The Message' into an environment where as you say 'no one's being pushed or is close to the edge.' It's poking fun at the suburban guys who drive through neighbourhoods pumping music like this without any relationship to the message in the song.
    Sorry about the length here, but your short sighted article has really given me the sh*ts. You really need to check yourself before you wreck yourself... oh no, I used a rap lyric out of context for a lame blog comment without relating it back to it's original message. OMG! Cultural insensitivity alert!

  14. I think I need to address this post with bullet points.
    1. This original post was not an accusation of racism.
    2. I will never expect a large corporation to value culture and heritage.
    3. Every generation has seen their formative memories mined to fuel mass commerce. Hip-hop kids, we've graduated. It's our turn. You'll want to get the mourning out of the way early because this will be a long ride.
    4. Mr. Ed, wow... You fail the internet. You fail reading comprehension. You might also fail at life. *smh*
    5. I'm sure Mele Mel and Scorpio need checks from as many sources as possible. They're definitely not getting a Hip-Hop Pioneers pension. Is Kool Herc still working for FedEx?
    6. The artists' appearance in the video doesn't magically make it immune to critique.

  15. seriously? how long has this been happening? dead issue to me...

  16. Well I can relate to the commercial I find myself singing this very song on my way home after going shopping all over town to pick up stuff for my spouse and child and thinking (this had better be it 'cause if they ask me to get one more thing I'm going to lose it!) I live in the suburbs, but, grew up listening to this song. My street even resembles the one in the commercial. It's a classic song that eveybody can relate to. Sometimes, I feel that way on the way to work too, so, for me it's not even that ironic. I heard Miriam Makeba's 'Pata Pata' in some other car commerical the other day and I vaguely remember hearing Stevie's 'Don't you worry bout a thing' in a Ford commercial. It's your right to be bothered by this stuff but they aren't going anywhere. I guess now we know how Beatles fans feel. One more thing, I'm glad to see those guys earn some money from their creation because the game screwed themover pretty good back in the day.

  17. OK...this is much ado about nothing... The "outrage" and I use "outrage" loosely is so ridiculous, it's really not worth commenting on. I've Melle Mel and Scorpio cosigned on this, than I'm cool with it.

  18. @ IllMami - how about ahhhhhhhhh NO.
    You took it the wrong way once again. trust me or dont trust me - believe me i see where your coming from - i have grown up in australia and have had first hand experience to racism here so you can slide all that BULLSHIT off the table. Im not even going to justify what i meant coz youll read it the wrong way, just like this here whole post.
    "But this is just something that my mind cannot reconcile letting go" - Straight up. you need to LET IT GO. put that on everything... and most of the other people dont see racism or black vs. white with this post.. Each to their own, but at the end of the day..We are all one...
    @DJ STYLUS: you have no clue. that whole "fail" expression is for people that like to send office emails to eachother with funny pictures saying "fail". and now i hear teenagers use that expression. whatever man.


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