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Wykeham McNeill, Jamaica's minister of tourism and entertainment, is rallying behind the Volkswagen ad that has been deemed racist by some.
The ad, which debuted on Monday and will be featured during this Sunday’s Superbowl, was called “blackface with voices” by a NY Times critic and considered demeaning by other critics.
A white actor is seen speaking in Jamaican dialect on a Monday morning to cheer up his co-workers, as he’s extremely happy because of his Volkswagen.
But USA Today reports that McNeill called the controversial ad "a tribute to the popularity of reggae music worldwide and I salute Jimmy Cliff for being a true Jamaican ambassador through his outstanding music.:
He added, “I urge persons all across the globe to do exactly what the commercial portrays, which is to tap into your inner Jamaican and get happy.”
Jimmy Cliff himself has commented on Facebook, saying "I chose to record the song that's part of the Volkswagen Super Bowl campaign because it has a great message and it is something that people can apply to everyday life," adding, "I have traveled around the world many times, met all types of people and played in front of millions throughout my career. I have personally seen the positive effects of Reggae music and Jamaican culture. I am a proud Jamaican and stand by this campaign, I feel like people need to focus on peace and unity. Blessed Love!"
"People are entitled to their own opinion," said the actor in the commercial, Erik Nicolaisen.
Check out the ad below: