The Kansas City band Radkey is featured in a MasterCard commercial that celebrates people who have “overcome adversity to pursue their musical passion.”
Radkey, a trio of brothers who got started in St. Joseph, is one of seven musical acts featured in the commercial.
The others: SZA, who is nominated for five Grammys at Sunday’s award show; Victoria Canal, a Spanish-American musician who was born without a right forearm (a result of amniotic band syndrome); William Prince, a Canadian Aboriginal singer-songwriter; Ruby Ibarra, a Filipino-American rapper; Noé Socha, a blind blues guitarist; and the Tracks, a Chicano garage-rock band from Los Angeles.
Each of the performers deliver their take on “You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover,” a Willie Dixon song that Bo Diddley made popular in 1962.
The commercial, which is expected to air during Sunday’s Grammy Awards show (7 p.m. on KCTV), is the culmination of a campaign that also featured digital billboards. Radkey is featured prominently on two billboards in midtown Manhattan. Each billboard bears the headline “Thrashers Misfits Dreamers.”
In a video that promotes the commercial, the band talks about being African-Americans in the predominantly white world of heavy rock. Isaiah Radke, the band’s bassist, recalls being denied a gig because the promoter assumed the band was a rap group.
“People think rock is a white man’s world,” he says. “But a lot of black people back in the day were doing it. That’s another classic example of it being taken away from us.”
Matt Radke, the brothers’ father, said the commercial was filmed in mid-December and first aired on Jan. 22.