There are two amazing storylines in Walmart’s Juneteenth ice cream saga.
One: An ice cream flavor inspired by the holiday celebrating the emancipation of slavery existed on store shelves (for a short time at least).
Two: that ice cream flavor was dealt a quick and total death blow by the woke mob offended by its existence. In light of social media backlash, Walmart issued an apology, of sorts, and promised to pull “Celebration Edition: Juneteenth Ice Cream” from shelves.
“Juneteenth holiday marks a celebration of freedom and independence,” the company said in a statement.
“However, we received feedback that a few items caused concern for some of our customers and we sincerely apologize. We are reviewing our assortment and will remove items as appropriate.”
The label on the Juneteenth ice cream proclaimed, “share and celebrate African-American culture, emancipation and enduring hope.”
Juneteenth celebrates June 19th, 1865 when Union soldiers announced news of the Emancipation Proclamation to slaves in Galveston, Texas, two years after it was issued by President Lincoln.
Texas has been recognized and celebrated Juneteenth, a name created by combining June and 19th, unofficially for over a century and officially since 1979. President Biden named it as an official Federal Holiday in 2021.
It’s not about what it said. We’re not offended by that. But Juneteenth JUST got labeled as an official holiday and it’s already being gentrified by white corporations.
— Tascha (@_itstascha) May 24, 2022
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Knock Off of Black-Owned Brand?
Others thought they saw other shenanigans involved – accusing Walmart of ripping off black-owned ice cream company Creamalicious’s “Right as Rain Red Velvet Cheesecake” flavor.
Those outraged by the Walmart flavor took to Twitter to vent their anger. A move that got the attention of Walmart and forced the removal of the product.
“I told you last year that President Biden federalized Juneteenth so they could weaken it, exploit it, commercialize it, and ultimately destroy its relevance,” One man tweeted:
“For the first time in history most Juneteenth celebrations throughout the country are being financed by white corporations, very few independent grassroots Juneteenth celebrations are left. Corporate America is now slapping the word Juneteenth on everything they sell in order to turn a dollar. Black history month, Kwanza and Dr. MLK Day have largely lost their power as a result of going mainstream. When we will ever learn to keep our cultural holidays holy, sacred and to ourselves.”
— No Context Dr.Umar (@nocontextdrumar) May 22, 2022
In addition to the ice cream flavor, Walmart is selling Juneteenth decorations and apparel. Party City also offers a line of Juneteenth party decor.
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Ice Cream Flavor Somehow Linked to Voter Suppression
A surprising number of people tweeted sentiments that the Juneteenth ice cream flavor was par for the course in a country that allows ‘voter suppression.’
Perfectly said — Walmart also isn’t defending Black voters despite the company claiming it’s pro-democracy 👇 https://t.co/DMr5kPb3dR
— Accountable.US (@accountable_us) May 24, 2022
‘Voter suppression’ has been argued by leading left-wing figures like Stacey Abrams. Others argue that requiring a voter ID actually protects people’s voting rights.
Corporate America will co-opt Juneteenth now that it’s a federal holiday like everything else. We don’t have reparations, laws protecting our voting rights, or stopping Police from killing us, but we have ice cream…. 🤦🏽♂️ https://t.co/96LNBh8BAI
— Professor X (@AntTheKing) May 22, 2022
Some stores had a “Celebration Edition: Pride” ice cream flavor in freezers right next to the Juneteenth ice cream. This flavor did not cause such a stir.
capitalism is awesome pic.twitter.com/QIzWBbnkSO
— mullet o’brien (@borgposting) May 23, 2022
Corporations are learning the hard way that dabbling in politics can come at a cost. Just ask Disney, the MLB, or Delta airlines.
Disney was dealt a huge blow by Florida governor Ron DeSantis after the corporation tried to play political games in the gender definition debate.
Major League Baseball was slammed by fans after moving its 2021 All Star game out of the state of Georgia in response to Georgia’s election reform laws. Similarly, Delta airlines had to reverse course after making statements about the Georgia election laws which caused backlash for the company.
It’s unclear how the country is supposed to celebrate Juneteenth in culturally appropriate ways. One thing is certain, strike eating Juneteenth flavored ice cream off the list.
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