Culture

Why a White-Owned Hip-Hop Restaurant Is Facing Backlash

This probably isn't what the owners of Me So Hungry were expecting
White-Owned Hip-Hop Restaurant Iowa
Photo: Me So Hungry WDM via Facebook

A new Des Moines, Iowa, breakfast joint set to open next month is already drawing a lot of attention well before opening day—but not the good kind unfortunately.

Me So Hungry, owned by couple Sarah Cattoor and Ryan Greening, is facing backlash for both its hip-hop theme in addition to its purportedly insensitive name, The Huffington Post reports. (Me So Hungry is a play on the "me so horny" line uttered by a Vietnamese sex worker in the film Full Metal Jacket, and later sampled by the American hip-hop group 2 Live Crew.) Part of the café's theme also includes menu items such as chicken and waffles, which the Iowa Informer points out is a meal that's often used as a stereotype regarding African Americans. Comments on the restaurant's Facebook page (most of which appear to have been deleted already) call out the owners for their insensitivity to both African Americans and Asian Americans.

However, both Cattoor and Greening insist that their restaurant represents the exact opposite of what they're being accused of. "We welcome all varying views, and in fact you will likely find our views run very counter to many of the [racist] views we are being claimed to have," the couple tell The Huffington Post. "We encourage people to join us for breakfast and open up a productive dialogue about any issue."

And though some supporters of Me So Hungry are genuinely excited for the spot to open, a widespread negative reaction brings up the long-standing problem in the food world that's getting so much airtime this summer: Do you have to be a member of a certain culture to have the right to cook its food?

How do you feel about the growing controversy? Chime in below.

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