Jamaica has come out in support of an online, pre-game Super Bowl ad for
Volkswagen that's taken some flak for showing a white office worker from the
Midwest feigning a Jamaican accent to show a cheerful, upbeat outlook. Some
critics have charged that the ad, which debuted Monday (January 28th), is
offensive and culturally insensitive, portraying it as referencing
segregation-era "blackface" depictions of white people posing as happy-go-lucky
blacks. But in Jamaica, which is predominantly black, but also has white, Asian,
Middle Eastern and mixed-race minorities, they've been puzzled by the reaction.
The Jamaican government has endorsed the commercial, which shows the office
worker trying to cheer up his colleagues, including by paraphrasing Bob
Marley lyrics by saying, "No worries, mon. Everyting will be all right."
Jamaica's tourism minister called the ad, quote, "a very creative commercial
which truly taps into the tremendous appeal that brand Jamaica and its
hospitable people have globally." Volkswagen has no plans to pull the spot.