Interview puts the spice in the hot chicken community

A few days ago, George Embiricos wrote a piece about Hattie B’s, the relatively new-to-the-game hot chicken joint.  He stirred up a few embers, though, with some cultural appropriation, however unintentional it may have been:

Lengthy lines — packed with locals, tourists and celebrities alike — regularly stretch down the block during peak times. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack may have created hot chicken in the 1930s, and institutions like Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish may have helped preserve the tradition over the years, but Hattie B’s has made hot chicken cool.

The drama has been unfolding over a few days.  First, commenters on a Facebook group raised heck about it, but moved on.  Betsy Phillips of the Nashville Scene, though, was not having it:

We’ve lived through white people “inventing” rock & roll so they could sell it to white people and then half a century of people — black and white — pointing out that it’s an older art form than that. We’ve lived through a century of “vulgar” “exotic” “indecent” dances done by black kids becoming “fun” and “energetic” and “cool” when white kids do it — see everything from the hop straight through breakdancing through whatever kids are doing today. Graffiti, when black kids were doing it, was criminal and fed into gang culture. Banksy does it and now it’s worth preserving and spending money to collect it. There’s not a black art form, food included, that by this point hasn’t been popularized by white people and then the popularized version celebrated by white media like white people invented it, or at least, perfected it.

Then just today, Phillips’ colleague, Chris Chamberlain, waded into the fray to sort-of defend Embiricos:

In my opinion, Embiricos’ piece is not a bad piece; it has a bad headline and a few awkward phrases in it that I imagine Embiricos wishes he could rework.

And he added a few good points about the whole situation:

It’s probably worth mentioning, as well, that a Nashville editor might have raised some of these issues [of racism], while Embiricos’ editor, working out of Manhattan for a national food site, didn’t see some of the landmines here.

Regular tourists flock to both Nashville locations, because … if you’re on a Pedal Tavern, it’s a long-ass trip up Dickerson Pike [to Prince’s].

All three pieces are worth a read, in order, when you’ve got a little free time.

Add a Comment

Lake Palmer could soon be Tower Palmer

As I rode by Lake Palmer this morning, I wondered if they would ever do anything with that hole in the ground that occupies a whole city block.  Turns out, that project just got a kick in the pants, as the Tennessean is reporting that the developer, Alex Palmer, is seeking financing again.  Apparently he now has new development partners and he plans to put 350 apartments (or condos) and 250 hotel rooms on the site, in addition to offices at the West End Summit.

Earlier: Lake Palmer to be Drained Again

Add a Comment

Fancy South Carolina cafe/”grocer” to land in Midtown

At a new mixed-use building just across 21st Ave S from Vanderbilt, a new “grocer” has been announced to fill a retail space downstairs:

All of the chain’s current locations are in South Carolina, which offer such items as duck confit panini and creole white fish sushi.  The cafe’s host, Aertson Midtown, is expected to be finished later this year and will include apartments, a hotel, a parking garage, and retail space.

Add a Comment