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The Racist Roots of the Ice Cream Truck Song

Recall That Ice Cream Truck Song? We Have Unpleasant News For You

The tune often used as an ice cream truck jingle comes from a song titled "Nigger Love A Watermelon Ha! Ha! Ha!"

"Nigger Love A Watermelon Ha! Ha! Ha!" merits the distinction of the most racist song title in America. Released in March 1916 by Columbia Records, it was written by actor Harry C. Browne and played on the familiar depiction of Black people as mindless beasts of burden greedily devouring slices of watermelon.

I came across this gem while researching racial stereotypes. I was a bit conflicted on whether the song warranted a listen. Admittedly, though, beneath my righteous indignation, I was rather curious about how century-old, overt racism sounded and slightly amused by the farcical title. When I started the song, the music that tumbled from the speakers was that of the ever-recognizable jingle of the ice cream truck. (For the record, not all ice cream trucks play this same song, but a great many of them do.)

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