An Iowa couple has taken it upon themselves to spruce up and bring a “funky” new edge to the concept of breakfast with—and this is real—a hip-hop-themed breakfast cafe called Me So Hungry. The couple is white.
The whiteness does not end there. The restaurant is supposed to open up in West Des Moines, a predominantly white neighborhood which was ranked the 18th hippest city back in 2015. I suppose you know where this is going.
Co-owner Sarah Cattoor, who is opening the restaurant with her partner Ryan Greening, told the Des Moines Register, “It’s going to be a really fun place and all the [1990s] music will be family friendly.” The fact that they had to explain that their black culture-themed restaurant would be “family friendly” to its presumably white customers is definitely a problem. And with a graffiti-style logo, a name based on a novelty parody of 2 Live Crew’s “Me So Horny,” (which samples a line given by a Vietnamese prostitute in Full Metal Jacket) and a menu designed by white people that includes chicken and waffles, Me So Hungry can only be described as spectacularly ill-advised.
Despite the fact that the restaurant won’t open for another month or so, Cattoor and Greening have already received a fair amount of understandable backlash.
In response to the criticism, the couple shared their full menu (presumably to prove that their offerings aren’t racist), and that fried chicken is only one of the items for sale. They also told the Huffington Post this:
“We have been fans of hip-hop music along with other genres for all of our lives and look forward to opening Me So Hungry,” the couple said Monday.
“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,” they continued. “We encourage people to join us for breakfast and open up a productive dialogue about any issue.”
Honestly, it’s a predictable and tired response: whenever someone is accused of hawking other cultures, the first response is always that it comes from a good place, from appreciation. Just a reminder, people can do racist things without meaning to!
But the only thing more annoying than brunch with a bunch of mimosa-laden folks bopping to to “Jump Around” or what, a Kidz Bop version of “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”? (what the fuck does family friendly hip-hop mean?) is the idea that a restaurant has to cheapen a culture into a novelty schtick so they can sell their eggs. Speaking of eggs, I just realized. They’re going to just play “The Humpty Dance” on repeat the whole time, aren’t they?