Featured, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

They Took Brooklyn And They Took R&B, But We Can’t Let White People Take Shea Butter Too

If you were too busy watching Empire last week, you may have missed the story of the “Brooklyn Settler.” A bystander recorded a White fella getting into an altercation with another melanin impaired carpetbagger who apparently pushed a baby stroller into his legs.

The Settler offered up some gems that Cortes, Columbus, or the much slept on Vasco De Gama would be proud of including,

“The only reason that White people like you are living here is, I settled this fucking neighborhood for you!”

and

“White Privilege! White Fucking Privilege!”

and

“You fucking white trash!”

While I am grateful this settler has gifted us a few creative options for Donald Trump’s next hat, we can’t have this sort of conflict among our brave explorers. In 1494, Castile (OG Spain) and Portugal signed the Treaty of Tordesillas which divided the globe from the east coast of South America. Spain was granted the right to rape, pillage and subjugate the native people of most of the Americas while Portugal was granted Brazil and Africa.

In order to prevent any future violence in the eventual scramble for Compton or North Philly, I pledge that in lieu of an international agreement, we, the colored community, demarcate certain cultural artifacts, products or locations, off-limits for a predetermined period of time. (In the age of social media, we can only keep a savvy explorer at bay for so long)

Today, we throw the franchise tag on Shea butter.

Historically, this extract from the Shea tree native to West Africa has been used in a number of ways from home cooking to industrial chocolate production. Nowadays, Shea butter’s primary use is cosmetic. It keeps negroes lubricated, fragrant, and glossy.

Hair, elbows, lips, between your toes, wherever dryness beckons Shea butter can moisten.

If in some alternate universe Shonda Rhimes took over Costco instead of ABC Thursdays she’d have them challenging Chik-Fil-A for Black America’s favorite White owned brand by pushing industrial family sized vats of butter. It’s that deeply ingrained in the culture.

Outside of its usefulness and cultural importance, Shea butter elicits an emotional response. When you hug a random, preferably 45-60 year old, busty, Black women, and the Shea butter molecules waft into your follicles, you get taken right to that old familiar place John Legend sang about.

Shea butter is the shit. But if we’re not careful, the creamy gold can be taken from right beneath our noses.

This September, I had the pleasure of driving cross-country from Los Angeles to New York. On this drive, I stopped in Salt Lake City, Utah, the home of Mormons and the most polite people I have EVER met IN MY LIFE. On this trip, I found my way to a farmer’s market, which lacking the competition of a bigger city, was one of the best farmer’s markets I’ve EVER been to IN MY LIFE.

This farmer’s market had all types of honey, little White children playing violins, and recycling can attendants to make sure your plastic went in the correct receptacle. At the end of my stroll, I was more than content but then I spotted it.

A Shea butter booth.

A wily, and dastardly conquistador was selling her ill-gotten wares to her countrymen. I spotted not a single member of the Utah Jazz at the market, so that could be the only logical reason.

How did she found out about this sacred product? How did she find out about ashiness? Who among us traded our goods for one of their firesticks or iron helmets? I can only wonder.

We have to carefully limit the spread of our cosmetic technologies for future generations and keep Shea butter for our ‘fros and dry skin.  They can’t have it.

Brandon Harrison

Brandon lives in LA and has Hollywood stories that rival those of Rick James. He prides himself on staying righteous and knowing more about basketball than you.

  • RewindingtonMaximus

    Ok look….has Brooklyn been kidnapped, held for ransom, and now brainwashed by the oppressor? Yes..I’m not going to lie to you.

    But as long as there are shoot-outs in broad day light…as long as you still have to question your Chinese food even after you’ve seen the food truck deliver the actual groceries they use….as long as the Dominican hair shops get more money than Whole Foods on a slow day…as long as orthodox Jewish men still troll for Black prostitutes before they go to their wives and make more cousin babies…and as long as the rent in the projects still matches the same price as a box of Huggies diapers from Costco…WE ARE NOT DONE YET.

    And….we are not loosing shea butter yet. They want to be like us, sure, but they aren’t ready to smell like us just yet.

    • Nick Peters

      Jergens sells Shea Butter lotion… In Target

      • PhlyyPhree

        I was just about to say, they also have “pure” shea oil (not the butter, just the oil) at Whole Foods.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          Only health nuts buy that shea oil from Whole Foods. In truth, many people still don’t even get coconut oil.

          • PhlyyPhree

            I would rather they take that (since I can’t use it anyway)

            • Jennifer

              Lemme keep my coconut oil, ma’am.

              • PhlyyPhree

                Lol. Sorry, but I’m allergic to coconuts so if one gotta go…

                • Jennifer

                  I understand. As long as I can keep getting my bottles at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s for half the price of the fancy-pants stores, I’m good.

                • QuirlyGirly

                  Oh no! And coconut oil keeps your hair nicely moisturized too. I mix my coconut oil with JBCO and my scalp and hair is feeling fine

                  • Cleojonz

                    You ain’t lying. My head was SO itchy this morning and I said let me see if this coconut oil works. I feel SO much better. And it’s really pretty smooth coating the outside too. I am no officially a fan.

                • Jaeda Laurez

                  Word. Coconut oil makes my scalp itchy. Do not like.

              • TeeChantel

                Word. Coconut Oil is my go-to for my locs. I NEED this.

            • Lea Thrace

              NOOOOOOO. They will have to pry it out of my COLD DEAD HANDS!
              (Even though a 2520 was who hipped me to where to buy the cheapest but good quality brand.)

              • Aly

                Oooh, where?

                • Lea Thrace

                  Believe it or not, Trader Joes.

                  • Detroit Skater

                    thank you!

                  • Tiana

                    Cosign on the Trader Joe’s coconut oil.

              • PhlyyPhree

                LMAO. They’re usually up on places and ways to NOT pay full price for good products.

            • RewindingtonMaximus

              Oye don’t just toss over our stuff to the other side just because you’re allergic.

        • Nick Peters

          I use it too…high quality

        • Jennifer

          Whole Foods is where I get my jojoba oil.

          • PhlyyPhree

            Tuh. I only go to Whole Paycheck when I am in DIRE need of something and the little African shop down the street is out of stock. I like their jojoba oil….but it’s the exact same kind the shop has without the 30% markup.

            • overtyme

              I have never been in a Whole Foods parking lot.

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            You should just order jojoba online, far cheaper that way

            • Jennifer

              Good tip.

              • RewindingtonMaximus

                Amazon is always a good start

            • miss t-lee

              Yup…that’s what I do.

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        Nah, you don’t understand. We haven’t officially lost our products to White America until a bootleg version of it comes out.

        I’ve seen the Nerve lotion, but it still looks legit and semi-fancy.

        When it looks like the crappy bottles I buy from the 99 cent store? Then…and only then, are we fucked.

        • Jennifer

          They’re starting to put Argan oil in all of their hair products. It’s a slow process, like gentrification.

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            That’s fine. For now, they don’t understand what they are doing to their hair. Its only when their personal hair stylists can’t do anything for them because they’ve never dealt with “hair like that” before.

            When the Dominicans and Africans get that money….then its a different story.

      • Val

        That stuff isn’t pure though.

        • Nick Peters

          …it still works

          • Val

            Depends on what you mean by ‘works’. The whole point of using shea butter is that it’s pure. Otherwise you could just use any commercial lotion.

      • LMNOP

        Suave has a shea butter lotion too. But I think shea is to “shea lotion” as fruit is to fruit punch.

        • mizz new money 2u

          Ouch

    • Val

      From what I hear the hipsters only live in the areas of Brooklyn that are closest to Manhattan/ closest to direct subway lines. Is that true?

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        Not anymore. All of Brooklyn is up for grabs, so now they are moving into East NY & Brownsville, because the L train and A train can still get you to Manhattan.

        • miwe3

          And you do know they are renovating the projects for the hipsters, right?

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            Like calling Vandaveer Houses (projects) Flatbush Gardens? Same old pjs, with brighter faces.

            • Deezy725

              Those hipsters are brave man… I was looking for an apt in “prospect Lefferts Gardens” which was the hood. Church Ave 2 train, Linden blvd.. memorial outside of someone’s building for a gang member… $1550 junior one bedroom. And I saw like 2 specks of white folk. I was like wow… I’m from suburbia in Queens and I’m not sure if I’m ready for all of this. But these hipsters man, they take the risks and reap the rewards in the end (if they stay long enough).

              • RewindingtonMaximus

                They know its a long term investment but the pay out is glorious in the end. That’s why they do it to be the trendsetters. I don’t even care if they move in, what I don’t like is how they get to be a voice that is heard when they are a minority, and meanwhile real minorities have to almost be dead for someone to turn our direction.

                For instance, over there by Church Ave, night before Labor Day is Jouvert. Every blood clot year, somebody gets shot up (this year close employee to Governor Cuomo unfortunately was shot in the head by a stray bullet and died 3 days later). Now for the last 25 years that I lived in Flatbush, nobody did nothing about that except bring more police. But since hipsters live there now, if they claim they don’t feel safe, they may shut down Jouvert, and this recent death is a perfect catalyst for it.

                • Deezy725

                  You speak the truth! I definitely hear where you’re coming from. I read about the Cuomo employee, and it was a very tragic and unfortunate loss but we’ve come to understand the risks associated with this parade and jouvert the night before. People are always getting stabbed and shot, year after year – but I still think it’s a culturally relevant and fun time of the year for most people who partake. It would really be a shame to see the parade have to come to an end because “some people” feel uncomfortable or offended. I do also see that as a possible reality, especially with more of them moving into Crown Heights and Franklin Ave. Calling the ish.. “ProCro”.. major side eye.

                  • RewindingtonMaximus

                    Every time I’m on Franklin Ave, I have a hard time understanding how the sincerely s h i t t y buildings that used to be there are now bars and restaurants. It boogles my mind to see Crown Heights filled with hipsters now, but 6 years ago, my then 65 year old godmother got pistol whipped and robbed on her own block. I’m finding it weird to say Bed-Stuy is SAFE when I can still walk by the building where I almost got shot in the head as a kid.

                    I never look at it like it is bad that things are changing. I just hate the fact that people had to suffer and lose everything just so cash-happy hipsters could find a cheaper way to embrace the NY life.

                    • Deezy725

                      Wow, I’m sorry to hear about that. But the struggle is definitely real. People who were born and raised here get forced out of their neighborhoods due to increasing rent to appease the hipsters and yuppies.

                    • RewindingtonMaximus

                      Indeed, and I’m seeing it every day. I know as Black people & Hispanic people, it is partially our fault. The older generations lost to the crack war, and ended up losing control of the neighborhoods. Being poor and stuck doesn’t help when your property is falling apart and the streets are dirty because the rest of the city turns a blind eye away. Now all of a sudden those same forgotten neighborhoods have more police on them than ever before just because people with money decided poor people would be better off somewhere else.

              • Muze

                aw. my old neighborhood. like, my actual stop. i definitely saw a guy get shot directly across the street from my building. at like 3 in the afternoon. …i also saw white guys with beards and flannels walking around though. so it will be taken over soon.

                i felt so robbed when i moved to BK and saw more whole foods and random cafes than stoops and chucks and NO ONE has an authentic NY accent. i was so sad. i wanted Crooklyn and Biggie’s BK. i should’ve lived there in the 90s. lol

    • Cleojonz

      The last time I went to my local Dominican spot I saw white women in there and I was like who TOLD them?!!! They even had their own products with them like the knew what was up. I was so befuddled.

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        It begins…slowly but surely.

        And one day HR tells her that her hair styles aren’t acceptable in the work place.

        that’s when we’ve achieved equality.

    • Barryfromkenya

      We don’t want to be like you

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        Who’s we? And there is no “be like me”. There’s only one of me, no duplication is possible.

        If you want to make snide remarks, I’m gonna need you to step your game up.

        • Barryfromkenya

          Your quote: “They want to be like us…” my “you” is your “us”

          This isn’t difficult; it is you who needs to step up your game

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            You made a direct response. Ergo if you’re stating something directly back to someone, you should phrase your sentence as personal instead of general. Clearly you can do that to reply to me NOW but you couldn’t do it properly BEFORE, hence the reason I RESPONDED.

            • Barryfromkenya

              That makes zero sense, if you can say “us” in a general sense, I can say “you” as a direct response. Either way “we” do not want to be like “you”

              • RewindingtonMaximus

                I do not care about your “you”. Because you are no one. The people you speak for are no one. That’s fine. Be whomever you all seek to be.

                • Barryfromkenya

                  Who do you speak for?

  • Nick Peters

    So you know this means from now on no black person can invite a white person to there place of residence or let a white person touch them…

  • miss t-lee

    I watched Empire last week, and I also saw the story of the Brooklyn bro. So…

  • Candace N. Cook

    I think hugging a white person that smelled like Shea Butter would send me into an identity crisis.

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      It would. Especially if they were wearing chanceltas and a du-rag

      • Candace N. Cook

        I’m not hugging no white person in a du-rag.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          You shouldn’t. You shouldn’t even buy drugs from them.

          • dadumdee

            Huh??? You should definitely by drugs from them. I don’t even do drugs and I’d know that they got that fire.

            • Carlisias

              Naw. A white person in a du-rag is an undercover.

            • RewindingtonMaximus

              lmaoooooooooooooooo

    • Melissa

      I have to admit, I can’t live without Carol’s Daughter Almond Cookie, which goes double in the winter because I need spray tans to avoid looking like the little girl from The Ring come mid-December. So I feel like we break even here? Can I have a hug now? :)

      https://thejesuitpost.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Michael-Gob-gif.gif.pagespeed.ce.imviSzI1JK.gif

      • Candace N. Cook

        It’s gonna be a slow cautious hug, and if I start having flashbacks to my childhood I’m out.

        • Melissa

          I’ll take it! See you at your local Sephora like….

      • Cindya Cristina Gil-Davis

        Carol’s Daughter is on by Loreal. :-/

        • Melissa

          Nooooo! I’m amazed that they haven’t completely f*cked it up! I think Jada Pinkett Smith was one of the original investors, so at least maybe Xenu got a nice bonus this year?!

      • pls

        My mama said, “What happened to ya face?! *looks disgusted* You look like a white ghost!” I just needed a tan

      • This just made me laugh out loud at work. Yes, the struggle is real for some of us

      • Drew

        No. No hug for you. Get the fuck outta here.

        (JK)

  • Nick Peters

    The only store that I have found in The Bay Area that sells black soap is in The Mission and owned by an old white lady.

    • Epsilonicus

      What is black soap??

      • Nick Peters

        Black African Soap?

      • QueLoQue

        Yeen never hear of Black soap bruh?

        • Epsilonicus

          We did not have African stores in my hood growing up. I live in a majority Black neighborhood and we still don’t have any

          • No Black Muslims either?

            • Epsilonicus

              Not on my side of town. And they sell pies and newspapers, not soap

          • QueLoQue

            African Black Soap, I’m sure you had some Hoteps selling it at the little stands they set up right?

            • Epsilonicus

              Our Hoteps don’t open businesses. They talk about opening businesses.

              • QueLoQue

                OK, well I guess you could look it up on Amazon, there’ s a bunch of different vendors online. It’s good stuff

          • ALM247

            It’s used for extra dry skin and to clear up eczema/acne. Shea Moisture makes black soap, and CVS, Walgreen’s and Target all carry Shea Moisture products.

          • TeeChantel

            The Wal-Marts in MD have Black African Soap.

        • Black soap never did a thing for my skin. It burns like the dickens though.

          • MsSula

            Our homegrown recipe (my grandma made the soap) was to mix it with honey and unsweetened concentrated milk (Bonnet Rouge). It makes it less harsh on the skin.

            I prefer using it for my hair though.

            • I’m on this cocktail of drugs for my acne so I’m chilling on the natural stuff for the next few months. I do love honey for the skin and hair though.

          • miss t-lee

            Did you dilute it?

            • Yup. I actually shaved it down and turned it into a liquid soap and added extra water. It still tore my skin up.

              • miss t-lee

                Ah! Yeah, it just might not be for you.

    • overandout

      Whaaaat? Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond. There are mad African stores around here. They haven’t run us all off yet!

      • Nick Peters

        Where are they…I’m about to run out of Shea butter

        • overandout

          http://www.yelp.com/biz/sami-african-imports-Oakland
          Oakland is the font of all good things. Also the flea market at Ashby in Berkeley is the best place to get “the butters” and all other manner of random African goods. (as well as the best place to buy or sell(?) a stolen bike lol)

        • NKORigible

          Look up Man Must Wak, Black owned. And also Ashby Flea Market on Sunday and Saturdays, all your Africans selling Africa to you.

    • Yet Another Lurker

      There’s a shop called “African Arts” that’s black owned who sells Black soap from Ghana in Emeryville. I know that’s a ridiculous distance from The Mission but technically it’s still the Bay Area, lol. They’re portions are amazing.

    • QueLoQue

      I say just get on Amazon bruh. Everything is a few keystrokes away.

  • Nick Peters

    Jergens sells Shea Butter lotion.

  • Bianca Yvette Jeanty

    I chuckled a little too much but had the slow realization.. how did these ninjas find out about ashiness?

    • Lovely avi sis.

      • Bee

        Thank you kindly!

    • Epsilonicus

      I found out white people knew about ashiness in college. Dudes my freshman year were sitting their talking about which of their gfs lotions and cremes work best on dry skin (bc none of them ever bought their own).

      • Bee

        I’ve only seen a serious consideration for lotions and creams come into play when elbows started to turn a little green. But maybe i’m taking it back to elementary school where no effs were given altogether.

        • Epsilonicus

          Hahahaha. Who knows.

          i know them dudes used to talk all the time about using their gfs lotions, shampoos, conditioners, etc.

  • PhlyyPhree

    I didn’t read this article. I’m here strictly because whoever wrote this post has the BOMB co-wash routine and I wanna see a picture of That Hurr

    edit: Finally scrolled to the bottom. He ain’t got no hair. WELP

    • Jennifer

      #priorities

      • PhlyyPhree

        Wash day is tomorrow. This could have been important life saving information

    • Aly

      According to Google images, the pic came from this site, and she does have very nice hair: http://www.thisgirlsblackbook.com/natural-hair-tips-sista-hair-routine-anna-reynolds/

      You’re welcome :-)

      • PhlyyPhree

        Thanks boo!!!
        When my locs of love are on flourish tomorrow, I shall think of you.

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        Aly for the alley-oop

      • NomadaNare

        You and truth are the same

    • Brandon Allen

      Hahahahaha I’m a grow it back.

      • PhlyyPhree

        You do that so we can be besties and play in each others hair.

    • LaToyaL

      LMAO!!!!!

    • Peaches

      I couldn’t get past “If you were too busy watching Empire last week, you may have missed the story of the “Brooklyn Settler.”…

  • TeeChantel

    Eh. I’ve haven’t come across THEM yet, but I’ve heard of a few white folks putting cocoa butter, shea butter and coconut oil on their skin, especially in the winter. SMH. We can’t keep anything.

    • PhlyyPhree

      FOR WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?! Mayo gon mayo no matter how much lubricant they slap on it. WHY CANT WE HAVE NOTHIN?!?!?

      • LOL Stahp!!

        • PhlyyPhree

          Well it is!!!! I mean, they have options. Botox, collagen, the like. We have shea butter. Let us flourish into our 50’s looking like we just got of highschool in peace!

          • You right, you right. The mayo gon mayo part was just too much truthiness before lunch time for me. Carry on.

            • PhlyyPhree

              I didn’t know a nicer, PC-er way to put it. LOL

      • TeeChantel

        They tryna find the secret to great looking skin…

        • PhlyyPhree

          Be black. Dassit. See? Wasn’t that hard and ain’t a DAMNED thing they can do about it.

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            lmao you so rude

            • PhlyyPhree

              Meh. I know. I have a headache and my overseers are tripping today. Lo siento.

              • RewindingtonMaximus

                Sit with me then. I’ve got nothing to do, no boss, too much time on my hands, and no alcohol to put my OCD to rest.

                • PhlyyPhree

                  Meh. I might have to. I’m reallllly ready to be someone’s HR issue today

                  • RewindingtonMaximus

                    Antsy huh? Yup, be my cubbie buddy. We will tear VSB a new one today.

          • TeeChantel

            Now you know they AREN’T trying to BE black…. that’s too much.

            • PhlyyPhree

              So then why fake the funk? Leave the shea butter, the cocoa butter, the cocoa PEOPLE alone!!

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        Aye they get ashy too. Looks like dandruff on them.

        • PhlyyPhree

          I don’t know that I’ve ever gotten close enough to witness their ashiness. Doesn’t matter. Point is, they can’t have shea butter

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            They don’t know what they are doing. They’ve had olive oil all this time and still screw it up.

      • miss t-lee

        Okay, mayo gon mayo took me out.

      • Jennifer

        LOL. Do y’all listen to Buzzfeed’s Another Round podcast? Heben and Tracy quizzed white men in Central Park on the term “ashy.” They do get ashy apparently. Some of them learned to use lotion from their girlfriends. One guy thought his ashiness was some sort of skin condition. Nah, dude, you’re just dry! “Mayo gon mayo”

        • PhlyyPhree

          LMAOOOO wait what?
          Ashiness as a skin condition????
          I wonder if any of the girlfriends were of color

          • Jennifer

            Yep. Here’s the ep. It’s the “White Man on the Street” segment. They also interviewed Leaves. Somebody let Malik know. http://www.buzzfeed.com/anotherround/episode-18-unstoppable-lianne-la-havas-interview#.ju062n8gR

          • Deeds

            I have a friend that’s a resident and she’s told me stories of white people coming in thinking they have psoriasis, when they were just dry. She just wanted to tell them to go to the store and get some lotion.

            • ALM247

              Hilarious!!!

            • LyricMeThis

              Crying laughing at this! I would not be able to keep a straight face.

        • Last winter, my colleague was talking about how, because it was so cold, he had to go out and buy hand lotion. His skin, apparently, was super dry and he wondered if I had to deal with that in the winter. I was like, bruh, I oil up erryday.

          He seemed really surprised by that. It never occurred to him that there are people out there making sure their skin stays supple every single day of the year.

        • Epsilonicus

          ” “Mayo gon mayo.””

          Bwahahahahaha

      • Ma’am. You are on fire today! “Mayo gon mayo.” Heh.

    • This was the “in.” I guarantee it. White folks so this little blonde toddler on this ad and were like, “What’s this Shea Moisture?” (Because you know that’s how they do. Stay wanting to investigate ish.)

      • ALM247

        Well, Shea Moisture just sold a portion of the company to Bain Capital (founded by Mitt Romney), so it won’t be long now.

        • MsSula

          They need to remove that little story of the Liberian grandmother on the packaging then! That’s what sold me on it!!! Hmmmph! They will go the way of Carol’s Daughter. Le Sigh.

        • I read about that. I don’t know how to feel about that (as though they were consulting with me).

          Here’s hoping that Tristan Walker keeps his brand 100% black owned.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          That’s what happens when you’re in the middle of a financial crisis and don’t have the right people to help you manage money better. We already know what Bain Capital does to a company so its only a matter of time before they get hit seriously.

  • That Utah booth traces back to Karl Malone, guaranteed.

    • Jennifer

      Yeah. That brother was probably ashy before he played at Tech.

    • miss t-lee

      Or any of them other brothers who came thru to play for Utah or BYU.

      • It takes a special type of brotha to play for BYU. The kind that should probably stay in Utah.

        • miss t-lee

          LMAO

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          And probably have a name like Mitchell or Tyler.

More Like This