So, Questlove, drummer of The Roots, decided to post a picture of a curious sign at the NBC cafeteria. It was advertising fried chicken and collard greens as part of a Black History Month menu. It went viral. And now...
Questlove just wants everyone to chill out. As they should. This thing went too far at any number of points. Like
1. When Leslie Calhoun, the chef at NBC who feeds him every day, was terrified into being quoted as terrified by the New York Post or
2. When Wanda Sykes used it on Leno to push her shock-dependent shtick while on NBC, or
3. When NBC had to dignify everyone going insane over it via their corporate communications Twitter feed:
Finally, via his Twitter, Questlove told everyone to chill out:
whatever the case, I found this funny and when I find something funny I like to let the world in on the joke (twitpic anyone??). in NO way did i ever think that this was some cruel insensitive joke on behalf of jeff zucker and his comrades at nbc (the cafeteria isn't even owned or operated by nbc).
I kinda get where leslie calhoun (our culinary rosa parks) was coming from; fried chicken as a fragrant, tasty, honorable metaphor for the struggles and accomplishments of america's black masses.
The problem is..in the blogosphere, things can take on a life of their own. "online journalists", site commenters, even comedians (see wanda sykes on leno) [Ed. Right here.] have now taken my snapshot of leslie's missionary zeal and retooled it for their own racialized - "let's bash nbc for their conan sins" - flogging mission. my twitpic was just me poking fun, a Questlove still life that was clearly intended as a joke. what's even funnier: race issues in post racial america. potluck anyone?????
The thing is, Questlove's right. Absolutely, completely, unequivocally correct. He shouldn't have had to clear this up. Yet, he does, since we're a totally insecure and immature culture who's touch-sensitive to racial issues even as we're busy touting how "post-racial" we actually are. Because we are! Until people try to spin a menu out of control. And then we've retrogressed to red-to-the-touch political correctness and oversensitivity.
Can you make pronouncements that the sign could, potentially, appear to be racially insensitive? Sure. Could you then go on to construe that NBC has racial sensitivity issues because of this sign? Of course. But in both cases, you'd be an asshole. Or at the very least, wrong.
NBC isn't a racist company, and if it is, this sign isn't going to be indicative of the problems they have. This is funny. It's funny because someone thought to do it, or didn't think about the implications it could have. That's it. That's all. And if you take offense to this, or try to spin it out of proportion, you're essentially bringing your own insecurities over racial issues to the table. Or your inability to read context: Questlove's a funny guy. It was a funny sign. That's it. And if Questlove's over it.....
just so yall dont think that im all talk. i presented leslie in our kitchen with flowers and an extremely sizable gift certificate spa treatment with the works (enough to make my assistant go "WTF?!?!" who is more stressed out over your mess than me?!")—
You should be, too.
Previously: The Re-Education of ?uestlove & The Roots