It’s a song that’s as much a part of the summer as School’s Out and Summer in the City. It’s also unabashedly racist, according to National Public Radio.
The 1916 ditty written by Harry C. Browne is a familiar tune for anyone who ever stood outside an ice cream truck waiting for chilly relief. The words aren’t part of the summertime tradition. It’s the melody common to many ice cream trucks that comes to mind.
The song’s title and words, though, reflect a racial animosity that’s chilling to hear, writes Theodore R. Johnson, III:
“[N****] Love A Watermelon Ha! Ha! Ha!” merits the distinction of the most racist song title in America. Released in March, 1916, by Columbia Records it was written by actor Harry C. Browne and played on the familiar depiction of black people as mindless beasts of burden greedily devouring slices of watermelon.
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