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Are Duncan Hines' cupcakes racist?

Mother Jones asks this question after the baking goods brand released an ad campaign featuring singing "Hip Hop Cupcakes" cove ed in the brand's new Amazing Glazes chocolate frosting. The video, which was launched on YouTube earlier this week, was meant to portray how the product can make any dessert "sing," Duncan Hines said in a news release.

To some viewers, however, the dressed-up vanilla cupcake characters looked a little too much like performers in blackface.

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"Those 'Hip Hop Cupcakes' just make me sad.... Clearly there are no minorities in the board room where they work on advertising at Duncan Hines," one commenter wrote on the web site. "If the icing was in different flavors, or the lips weren't so big and pink maybe we could give the ad a pass, but as it stands it's a pretty poorly constructed and potentially racist ad," states a post on The Source music magazine web site.

(Beyond the blackface resemblance, The Source writer had another bone to pick with the cupcakes: "[T]ey aren't even rapping! If you're going to have inanimate food objects make music then they should at least have a real song or beat.")

Duncan Hines has since pulled the video from YouTube, but you can still see it here, along with the company's news release about the campaign.

Offensive? You be the judge.

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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