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Last week, Cheerios made headlines for the backlash the General Mills cereal received over an ad they ran that featured an interracial family. Negative comments posted on the commercial's YouTube page caused Cheerios to shut the comments down, but the controversy offered a bit more attention to the ad, and many people stepped up to support the commercial. One of the stars of the ad - actor Charles Malik Whitfield - has responded to the controversy, expressing pride in being a part of the ad and applauding those who supported it.
As an actor who happens to be African-American, I am very proud to be part of the forward thinking Cheerios commercial produced by General Mills. I believe it represents what America stands for – regardless of race, creed or sexual preference. To all of the wonderful people who have supported this heart-warming and very adorable commercial, I applaud you all.
Suffice to say, the actor stands by the ad, regardless of the backlash. As well, he should. It's an adorable commercial that manages to emphasize the heart in a both literal and figurative sense. I don't know that General Mills set out to make a point with their casting choices, but it's certainly caused a stir. People complained, and when that brought attention to the commercial, other people spoke up in appreciation of the commercial.
The ad features a little girl asking her mother if Cheerios are good for the heart. When her mother confirms that the General Mills cereal is indeed hearth-healthy, the little girl grabs the box and runs off. Cut to Dad, asleep on the couch, waking up to find his daughter has dumped the box of Cheerios over his heart. It's an adorable ad that has nothing to do with race - apart from the fact that Mom is white, Dad is African American and the daughter is biracial. But apparently, it rubbed some people the wrong way, shining the light on the racial intolerance that's still all too common, particularly on the internet. The comments section of our own article is further reflection of the mixed reaction to the ad.