First of all, we want to welcome all of our new subscribers. Welcome to the Cookout, ya’ll!
One of our favorite holidays of the year around these parts is Thanksgiving. Sweet potato pie, auntie’s macaroni and cheese, dressing with gravy. It’s the food for us.
One thing that the team can’t come to agreement on is what music you play around Thanksgiving. Some of us think the cha cha slide is best played during cookouts over the summer months and some of us think that the fall and winter are meant for Anita Baker, Gladys Knight and the Commodores. What do ya’ll think? Do you change up your music depending on the time of the year?
Let us know.
The Cookout Team
Black Celebrities Investing Heavy in the Food Companies...Just Not Black-Owned Ones
You know what’s dope? Seeing so many wealthy Black public figures out here creating generational wealth all while inspiring the next generation of Black entrepreneurs. One particular space a lot of folks have been investing heavy in is the food and beverage industry. It was announced recently that Drake has become an investor in LA-based hot fried chicken chain, Dave’s Hot Chicken. Shaq damn near single-handedly brought Papa John’s back from the brink after racist comments made by its founder and former chairman, John Schnatter, were revealed. Lebron also made a smooth $35 million on his investment in Denver-based pizza joint, Blaze Pizza. McDonald's partnerships with Travis Scott and Saweetie have been rocket fuel for store sales . Just like everything else that Black folks touch, many of these food investments have turned into gold.
You Know What Would Be Even More Dope?
While we at The Cookout celebrate everything Black excellence, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t acknowledge the lack of investments being made into Black-owned food companies. During the start of the pandemic last year, a number of industries were hit hard but the restaurant industry was hit particularly hard with folks staying away from dining out. Black-owned restaurants in New York City revenues dropped by 70-80% and overall 41% of Black-owned businesses have shuttered since the start of the corona virus pandemic last year compared to 17% of white businesses. SMH.
What Can We Do?
Aside from the obvious answer which is investing directly in Black-owned food and beverage companies, there is another way for Black celebrities to help lift up the Black food and beverage space: their cultural currency.
There is no doubt that the cultural capital that Black folks, especially Black celebrities, have is boundless and we have the ability to start new trends and make brands hot. With that thinking in mind and that cultural capital to spend, more Black celebrities should spend less time rapping, singing and talking about restaurants and food brands that damn sure ain’t hurting for customers and instead use more of that influence to shout out the Black-owned food and beverage brands out there doing the damn thing.
You got brands out there like Uncle Nearest, which is a Black woman owned whiskey brand, racking up awards in the whiskey space. We can’t hear them shouted out on a track? We can’t see someone sitting courtside with Uncle Nearest in their cup? You got ATL-based vegan burger joint Slutty Vegan out here putting on heavy for Black folks in the vegan fast food space. Where the love at? You got Prince’s Hot Chicken, a 76-year-old restaurant and the originator of the Tennessee hot chicken style out here which Dave’s Hot Chicken (Drake’s most recent investment) is based on. They should be given their flowers by the culture for their creation. What if we had our cultural ambassadors out here going hard for these companies, Black-owned companies, the way they go hard for these other companies out here? That would be dope.
Our advice to Black celebrities: Invest in your people.
We Love to See It
When Black folks win we celebrate around these parts and celebrating is exactly what we’re doing today. Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson, founders of Iowa-based Black-owned coffee start up, BLK & Bold Coffee, started their coffee company in 2018 and booked almost a million dollars in profit last year on seven figures in revenue. Damnnn. The childhood friends and their young brand have landed partnerships with some of the biggest brands in the game including Target and Amazon. They also struck a deal with the NBA to create a custom flavored coffee called The Warm Up. Ya’ll thought that was it? Nah. They also partnered with Vermont-based ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s on a coffee flavored ice cream called Change is Brewing. You can pick up their coffee on their website and in stores.
Delta Airlines is Trying to Get an Invite to the Cookout
The Atlanta-based airliner recently announced that it is upgrading its inflight beverage service which will include more diverse suppliers. One of the brands included in the overhaul is the first Black-owned distillery in the United States, Du Nord, which will now have their vodka, Du Nord Foundation Vodka, included as part of the inflight service. Delta has also served wine from Brown Estate Vineyards, the first and only Black-owned estate winery in Napa Valley, CA, since 2020. If ya'll out here getting lit on your flights, make sure you're doing it with Black-owned beverages!
Soul Food Starter Kids Are Here Ya'll
Never underestimate the ability of Black folks to live up to the saying "make a way out of no way" because that's exactly what Black chef and entrepreneur, Claude Booker, has done with his company, Soul Food Starters. The enterprising brother, whose business model originally involved selling southern sides to buffets, saw his business plummet by 90% at the start of pandemic last year. Instead of waiting around for a miracle, Booker pivoted and started selling southern side meal kits in retailers. Booker's products allow for folks to enjoy traditional southern sides like collard greens and macaroni and cheese while adding their own fresh ingredients. Soul Food Starters is now available in over 1,000 stores across the United States. If you're not trying to go to the grocery store in the middle of a pandemic, you can also pick up your favorite sides online at Soul Food Starters website here.