Home Arts & Culture Hip-Hop Cookie Shop Accused of Misappropriating Black Culture

Hip-Hop Cookie Shop Accused of Misappropriating Black Culture

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A new hip-hop-inspired cookie is accused of misappropriating Black culture to sell its menu items.

A new hip-hop-inspired cookie shop in Indianapolis, Indiana, is facing criticism from locals who think the eatery is misappropriating Black culture to sell its menu items.

Cookie Plug saw a steady amount of diverse customers during its opening week following its launch on May 20, WISH-TV reports. Hip-hop references are displayed throughout the shop including graffiti-covered walls, a boombox that hangs from the ceiling, and illustrations showcasing boxes of cash telling patrons, “Thank you for supporting your neighborhood doughp dealer.”

On the menu, customers can select from a variety of “phatties,” a marijuana term for joints that the shop uses to describe its cookies, and a purple lemonade drink Cookie Plug dubbs the “purple drank,” named after the underground street beverage lean or “Sizzurp,” a combination of alcohol and drugs which increases the chances of a fatal overdose or seizure.

Doreen and her husband, Michael, opened their franchise of the California-based cookie shop looking to tap into the local market of cookie lovers. However, some locals like Feeray Phillips believe the shop is using racist “tropes” to market its products to an unknowing audience.

“When the franchise is not aware of what the terminology they’re dealing with and, to be honest, tropes as gimmicks to sell people lemonade and children lemonade, that’s a problem,” Phillips said.

Phillips recalls how deadly “Purple Drank” was for the Black community and doesn’t think it should be used to promote food items, especially to children.

“Why is the entire theme of the organization (franchise) based on drug references terminology?” he asked.

“You are painting the picture that drugs and hip hop are synonymous, which is not the truth.”

But Doreen, who is white, says the menu items have nothing to do with Black culture and are just regular words she’s used to describe certain products.

“I grew up at this time and I’ve never done drugs. ‘Purple drank’ is just that, ‘purple drank.’ It’s lemonade.”

Erik Martinez founded Cookie Plug and admits to incorporating his love for hip-hop into the company’s marketing strategy.

“That’s exactly my point. You can be a proud American and love hip hop and love cookies and love graffiti, and you don’t have to fit in a box,” Martinez said.

He went on to reference rapper 50 Cent saying, “America has a thing for this gangster ish’ they do. That’s why I thought, ‘Let’s make this cookie shop gangster.’ That’s really all it is.”

Hip-hop legend LL Cool J is an investor in the company and has plans on opening 30 shops of his own around the country.

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