Last week, we broke the story that the Obama Fried Chicken in Brownsville was featured in Clipse’s new rap video on YouTube, but that the restaurant marquee was erased for the MTV version. Our scoop sparked cries of censorship on message boards and in fried chicken restaurants around the country. But it turns out that capitalism, not politics, was behind the move to erase the controversially-named restaurant‘s sign for MTV. In an exclusive interview with Brokelyn, “Popular Demand” director Rik Cordero says the decision was not made by him, the network, or the artists. So whose call was it?
“The decision was made by the owner of the restaurant,” said Cordero, “who wouldn’t sign our location agreement unless we paid him $3,000 cash. Therefore, the sign had to be edited out for network television.”
Apparently, the version on YouTube, shown below, is not governed by such constraints. Cordero added that “there was really no hidden meaning” behind his choosing to film the video at a restaurant once protested by Al Sharpton for propagating racial stereotypes:
“Our treatment called for a location in front of a chicken spot on the intersection of Rutland and Rockaway, we had a choice of shooting in front of Crown Fried or Obama and the majority of the talent and crew on set voted for Obama. Now you can argue that Obama Fried Chicken had the chicken game on lock because it was way busier than Crown Fried that day, but that’s beside the point.”
The best part of this whole story? That in a hilarious reversal of typical business practices, the restaurant owner had the gall to demand three grand from someone who wanted to advertise his company on MTV. And the craziest thing: it totally worked!
“I can’t really knock the guy,” Cordero said, “because taking out the sign has now given Obama Fried Chicken even more free promotion than if we had left it in.”
The two videos, in case you missed them. First the YouTube version, followed by the MTV version with a blank marquee where “Obama Fried Chicken” should be.