Eddie Levert, the lead singer of The O’Jays, didn’t mince his words about the ongoing Popeyes crispy chicken sandwich craze during his acceptance speech at BLACK ENTERPRISE’s Black Men XCEL, an annual four-day summit that recognizes and empowers men of color. The legendary soul singer gave a harsh critique of the chicken-lovers standing in notoriously long lines for a bite of the wildly popular sandwich.
“It’s not just about me and the popularity and the records and all of that. This is about my people and that’s what I want to convey to the younger people — that this is not just about you and the bling and the cars. This is about our culture and about what we need to represent our people and how we need to represent our people,” said the songwriter while accepting his Black Men XCEL award last week. He then, however, claimed that those who are fueling the frenzy are a bad reflection of the African American community. “I really wish they would show it by not trying to buy that Popeye’s chicken sandwich,” he said as the audience laughed. “It would be a different thing if they owned the franchise. I could understand it if we were going to make money from that and it was going to benefit our culture. But you’re making a mockery of who we are and it shames me.”