Does Snoop Dogg’s 19 Crimes Partnership Send The Wrong Message To Wine Drinkers?

Last week, the Australia-based global wine conglomerate Treasury Wine Estates announced a multi-year partnership with rapper Snoop Dogg to bring a California red blend to market under its 19 Crimes label. For those unfamiliar with 19 Crimes, the brand is a supermarket staple that’s known for bringing Australia’s early convicts-turned-colonists to life on its augmented reality labels.

From my perspective, the partnership between a black man and a wine brand associated with “criminal” activity is troubling — and tone deaf — given the dangerous, tired stereotypes associating people of color with crime. As just one example, black men have a higher risk of being killed by police than white men, according to the National Academies of Sciences, so the perception can all too easily have real-life consequences.

In his past, Snoop Dogg has been associated with gang violence. He was acquitted in a murder charge, and pleaded guilty in a weapons charge. But in recent decades, criminal activities took a backseat to his smooth West Coast rap flow, and he is still one of the biggest rappers making music today. So why would a successful black star — who has a television show with Martha Stewart, a family-friendly cookbook, and a gospel album — want to revisit his criminal past, partnering with a wine brand whose labels are animated portraits of convicts?

As Snoop says in the launch press release: “I’ve been a fan of this wine and I’m excited to unveil my ‘Snoop Cali Red’ this summer and share the experience with all my fans. It’s one of the most successful brands in the market, so I’m more than eager to bring this collaboration to the world!”

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