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Popular cooking site Thug Kitchen has announced it will change its name to Bad Manners following accusations of ‘digital blackface’.
The brand, created by Matt Holloway and Michelle Davis, has come under scrutiny in the past, with vegan chef Bryant Terry saying the duo’s captions ‘rely heavily on phrases from black rap lyrics, stand-up routines, and films’.
Others have dubbed the the company of ‘digital blackfacing’ for using the word ‘thug’.
In an Op-Ed for CNN back in 2014, Terry wrote: “Whites masking in African-American street vernacular for their amusement and profit isn’t just the tired trope of cultural exploitation, which has a rich tradition going back beyond the bete noires of the moment, Macklemore and Iggy Azalea, past Vanilla Ice and Tarantino, and even beyond Madonna, Elvis and the minstrel shows of the late 19th century that first innovated modern American blackface spectacles.
“And it isn’t just breaking some unwritten codes governing race and language, either.”
In an online statement, Bad Manners said: “Over the years, as our critics pointed out the racist connotations of two white people using the word ‘thug’ we tried to contextualize it by talking about our backgrounds and our beliefs.
“We realize, however, that whatever our original intention, our use of it reflected our privilege and ignored the reality that the word is assigned to black people in an attempt to dehumanize them. That’s f****d up and not at all what we want to stand for. We apologize. We recognize we need to do better.”
The brand also said it will discontinue the use of Thug Kitchen as the title of its previous cookbooks and ‘closely re-evaluate’ the content.