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Black History, Black Presence

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

Hi again! Happy February!

For the Bay Area firebrands receiving this, I hope you’ve found yourself strolling under some blossom-filled trees lately. We are in the first of our numerous spring seasons and really enjoying how these abundant blooms transform a street.

Something else that transforms a street— a beloved restaurant.

Our clients know a thing or two about this, especially the black, Afro-Latinx, African American phenoms. And though we'll take this Black History Month opportunity to ask some of our favorites in the community about their work and ideas, I know you’ll join us in supporting these incredible folks throughout the year. It’s not hard when their projects are so damn good.

Brown Sugar Mission

We start with an interview of the one-and-only Tanya Holland for our new IGTV show On the Fly and she brought our attention to the black cooks and porters and culture makers whose names we will never know, who cultivated the cuisines of Southern and Soul Food, passing them down through generations. Tanya’s visibility as a black woman makes some headway on that elusive representation—which is substantial emotional labor on top of the already insane work of running a restaurant. It’s an unfair burden, and she crushes it day in and day out. We are just so grateful for what she does. Coming up for Brown Sugar Kitchen fans, Town Fare at the Oakland Museum later this year.

Sobre Curious

On the same afternoon, we got to chat with Nelson German of Alamar and the forthcoming Sobre Mesa at 1618 Franklin Street in Oakland. You’ll be seeing us at Sobre Mesa for a few reasons-- proximity to our office (they win the award for our closest client), gorgeous interior (we are all design obsessed here) and, most importantly, because of how welcome you feel being inside the space. Chef Nel got his start in hospitality with friends 21 years ago during a night of drunken revelry, and that spirit of communal (and joyful) progress is just as important, perhaps even more important, to the restaurateur he has become. He reminded us to honor Michael Jordan and Martin Luther King Jr., men who transcended their job title and transformed the world.

It was interesting that both Tanya & Nelson chose figures outside of culinary royalty. Then again, many amazing black chefs deserving of our attention simply have not gotten the recognition or opportunities their white counterparts did. Google famous black chefs. How many are you familiar with?

As February comes to a close, we want to celebrate all the amazing chefs and owners in the many facets & intersections of black culture. Please keep sharing your ideas and cocktails and cornmeal waffles with us as we strive to bring more equality into the industry at large, all year round. 

I can’t tell you how great of an honor it is to work with you— to help your projects come to life. While there's still a lot of work to do as a society, we strive to be better because of you. 

Thank you.

Now go check out On The Fly... and VOTE.

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