Detroit protests Colt 45, an equal opportunity high


The Detroit City Council is up in arms over dozens of big billboards all over the city featuring a cartoon of Billy Dee Williams holding up a 40 of Colt 45 with the tagline, "It works every time!"

Ice Cube actually said it better: "Get your girl in the mood quicker, get your jimmy thicker, with malt liquor."

These Williams ads for Colt are nothing new. In other parts of the country, the G. Heilman Brewing Co., the originator of Colt 45, introduced them in 1983, long before Miller Brewing Co. bought Colt 45 in 2000 and got big into the liquor- is-quicker business. Controversy over the ads has surfaced sporadically with critics in St. Louis and Philadelphia squawking over similar campaigns in the last couple of years.

Detroit City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson called the ads "an issue of racism and perversity." Perversity seems hard to prove, but even Miller doesn't deny that it's targeting a largely African-American audience with its Williams ads. According to a story published in 2000 in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (and not readily available online), quoting Miller's own figures, "African-Americans buy 66% of the nation's malt liquor, with Caucasians accounting for 27% of the market."