Viewers of MTV Jams in the last few days may have come across the new Clipse video “Popular Demand (Popeye’s).” In the fourth single from their upcoming release Til the Casket Drops, the Virginia Beach duo shies away from their typical cocaine talk to brag about hanging outside of Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits in their new Acura CL.
But the video, which also features Cam’ron, is not shot at Popeye’s—the restaurant featured on screen seems to have no name at all. Somewhat oddly, the trio raps at length in front of a place with a blank yellow marquee. You have to watch the unsanitized version on YouTube to find out that the location is the infamous/beloved Obama Fried Chicken in Brownsville, Brooklyn, as the following before-and-after shots reveal.
It is possible that MTV erased the Obama Fried Chicken sign for the same two reasons networks typically pixilate brand cameos: they 1) don’t want to run afoul of copyright laws or 2) don’t want to give free advertising.
Or is it there another reason behind the yellow-out? That MTV doesn’t want to deal with the fallout from blaring “Obama Fried Chicken” across American TV screens? You may remember the local controversy surrounding the place when it first opened in March. City Councilman Charles Barron, called the eatery’s name “outrageous” saying that it plays into “racist stereotyping of black people in America” and threatened protests. The owner, a Bangladeshi immigrant, defended the name as a tribute.
There’s also a decent chance that director Rik Cordero was intentionally trying to create a stir. Cordero, a Queens native, is also behind a number of contentious videos including last year’s “Be a N****r Too” video for Nas, which included lynching footage and other Civil War-era racist imagery. Following are the two videos, starting with the unscrubbed version, followed by MTV’s take.