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African Americans often scrutinize advertising professionals.

If it isn’t the under representation of blacks in commercials and other ads, then it’s the myth that advertisers are pimping blacks by capitalizing on our culture.

After hearing lyrics to many popular songs like Nelly’s “Air Force and Ludacris’ “Southern Hospitality,” how can we as blacks accuse advertisers of pimping us?

They are just profiting from free advertisement.

The lyrics to these songs promote Nike products, alcohol, and Cadillac Escalades. That wouldn’t be a problem if these artists were getting paid for product placement.

So in other words, we put ourselves in vulnerable positions to be taken advantage of.

Not exactly pimping.

It’s more like we are victims of advertising, marketing and business ignorance.

Blacks don’t understand how much influence they have on the economy.

Marketing and advertising practitioners, on the other hand, have noticed our buying power is increasing.

African-American households spend large sums of money on personal expenditures.

In 2001, blacks spent approximately $52.4 billion on food, $30.1 billion on the purchase of cars and trucks, and $22.3 billion on apparel products.

The purpose of advertising is to appeal or relate to targeted audiences.

If we are spending our money on their products then wouldn’t it be logical to have representation from their largest consumer group in their advertisements?

If they didn’t, then we would still have something else to complain about.

So honestly, can we be mad when Pepsi commercials depict black youth demonstrating popular dances and then saying, “You know how we do?”


Can we fault Kool-Aid for their portrayal of the black family drinking Kool-Aid with a different twist in their commercials?


Can we blame advertisers for successfully doing their jobs?

No, because in many cases we do it for them.

Sherry Culmer, 20, is a junior public relations student from Miami. She is an Assistant Lifestyles Editors for The Famuan. She can be reached at