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!”
“White Privilege! White Fucking Privilege!”
“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.