Mountain Dew’s new ad campaign, “The Morning Makes You,” featuring LeBron James salsa dancing is just the kind of promotion that the left usually labels as cultural appropriation.
The extended cut of the commercial features James doing everything from laundry to mowing the lawn, to salsa dancing. It was directed by F. Gary Gray and is for the Mountain Dew Rise Energy drink available in 16-fl. oz. cans which were launched in March.
James ended his 18-year partnership with Coke in 2020. Forbes estimates that James is one of the NBA’s top earners, pulling in an estimated $50 million a year in endorsements. He is now teaming up with Pepsi and Mountain Dew.
There has been almost none of the usual blowback over James’ fancy footwork in the commercial and a number of conservatives pointed out the blatant hypocrisy of the left’s rules when it comes to so-called cultural appropriation.
(Video Credit: Mountain Dew)
Instead of being called out, James is being praised by the media for having “pretty good” dance moves in the Mountain Dew commercial.
In the video, James imagines himself teaching a salsa class if he had hit the snooze button in his life. The fancy footwork goes on for about 45 seconds. He dances his way into cultural appropriation via the salsa classic ‘Devorame Otra Vez’ as a dance instructor.
The original video was released on May 13 and fans reportedly liked it so much they demanded more. So, Mountain Dew delivered and came out with an extended cut. “You asked, we listened,” the company tweeted. “Sit back and enjoy LeBron Salsa King in his entirety in this exclusive extended cut.”
This is not the only instance of a double standard for cultural appropriation with James. He is an investor in Lobos 1707 tequila. And while model Kendall Jenner just released her 818 Tequila brand and was slammed widely for her partaking in the perceived practice, James was not called out for his.
The star athlete also just avoided a suspension and a fine for violating the NBA’s health and safety protocols just prior to the Los Angeles Lakers’ play-in tournament game against the Golden State Warriors. He attended a promotional event along with hip-hop star Drake and actor Michael B. Jordan for his tequila brand. Those who attended had to produce proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result.
James’ branding is legendary and he is a money-making machine due to his huge fanbase. He’s also a polarizing figure and has recently allowed politics to color his commentary, especially when it comes to the police.
Opinions on the latest commercial range from thinking it is hilarious and charming, to finding it cheesy and elitist. Regardless, the ad has gone viral and is apparently a win-win for Mountain Dew and LeBron James.
But the NBA star, who is also set to debut his new movie “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” was mocked by many conservatives on Twitter for his posited alternate career choice:
LeBron when the CCP tells him to dance. https://t.co/sAR2X0P2II
— Flurypd (@FluryPD) May 23, 2021
Cultural Appropriation. Cancel now! ✊
— FreeCat (@NVoslov) May 23, 2021
blatant cultural appropriation
— B Gleaves (@b_gleaves) May 24, 2021
And not everyone was a fan of James’ moves:
He is the most unattractive dancer I’ve ever seen. Just because he can play basketball it doesn’t mean he can dance. Damn!!!
— @atrueAmerican (@atrueAmerican19) May 22, 2021
This is your king ?
— NUNGFOH (@NUNGFOH) May 22, 2021
Just when you thought he couldn’t out so himself as the worst…. this mess… actually isn’t this “cultural appropriation” 😆
— Josh Davis (@RealDeeb360) May 22, 2021
When you’re desperate for America to like you again.
— Rita (@RitaGNB) May 23, 2021