Just read this really great article by Bryant Terry today. I had no idea the thug kitchen people were white (although in retrospect I suppose maybe it isn't surprising)http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/10/living/th ... index.html
Whites masking in African-American street vernacular for their own amusement and profit isn't just the tired trope of cultural exploitation...*snip*
The worst offense here is the misrepresentation. As food historian Jessica Harris has noted, "the traditional [West and Central] African diet and African-American diet are essentially ... a majority vegetarian" one. Concepts like farm-to-table, eating seasonally and eating locally, while increasingly popular in the mainstream, were not news to a community who was enslaved and brought to America generations ago to help develop the agrarian South.
African-American cuisine may suffer from the stigma and stereotype of being based in fatty pork-based dishes and butter-heavy comfort foods, but in truth, that kind of meat-heavy, indulgent decadence was scarce for millions struggling under the oppression of segregation before the industrialization of our food system. When we peel away the negative stereotypes and reductive portrayals of African-American food, we see a diverse and complex culinary tradition with nutrient-rich foods like collards, mustards, turnips, butter beans, black-eyed peas, green beans, sugar snap peas and the like at the cuisine's core.
As of 2011, for 57% of African-Americans, the Southern United States is still home, and most of them come from families who have been close to the land for generations as sharecroppers and migrant agricultural workers. My grandparents, and those of many other Southerners, cultivated home gardens that yielded a number of the crops mentioned above. Many still do. First lady Michelle Obama's advocacy of home gardens isn't trendy for her and millions like her who descend from the South: it's traditional.
Whether or not the hipsters and health nuts charmed by Thug Kitchen realize this, vegetarian, vegan and plant-strong culture in the black experience predates pernicious thug stereotypes.
Said another way, the Thug Kitchen's central comic conceit doesn't jive with reality.