A Midwestern chain of poke stores named Aloha Poke is under fire this week for threatening legal action against Native Hawaiian small businesses who use the words “Aloha” and “Poke” in combination to sell the traditional rice and fish dishes.
Aloha Poke Company — founded by former owner Zach Friedlander — registered the phrase “aloha poke” as a trademark in January 2016. Now, Aloha Poke Company’s attorneys have sent numerous cease and desist letters to other poke shops named “Aloha Poke” — many of them owned by Native Hawaiian small business owners — demanding that they change their name and branding. Unfortunately, many of those small businesses can’t afford to fight the large chain store in court for the right to use their own language, and have been forced to undergo the costly process of rebranding.
In the latest episode of DeRay McKesson’s podcast, “Pod Save the People” (Episode 8: “When You Have to Face Yourself”), McKesson interviews singer Katy Perry. During the conversation, Perry and McKesson discuss many topics, including the subject of cultural appropriation.
Perry has been heavily criticized — including by this blog — for multiple incidents of racial insensitivity and cultural appropriation, including at the 2013 AMA Music Awards when Perry dressed as a geisha in an Orientalist staging of her song “Unconditionally” (video after the jump). Perry was also accused of racism and appropriating black hair for her music video, “This Is How We Do“, wherein the singer was shown wearing cornrows and eating watermelon.
In her latest Twitter meltdown, Banks spent most of Tuesday night and Wednesday morning posting disgustingly racist, homophobic, and xenophobic slurs targeting fellow musician and former One Direction member Zayn Malik, who is biracially Pakistani British. Banks was apparently infuriated by her perception that Malik had copied some of Banks’ personal style. Whether or not that is true, this is no excuse for the revolting bigotry of Banks’ tweets, published late last night (screenshots after the jump via Kajalmag.com; trigger warning for slurs).
When I was a college student, I attended my university’s annual Diwali program, organized by a Hindu student organization on campus. In a university with a large number of Hindu students, turnout at this yearly event is substantial and attendance stretches far beyond the Hindu population. Students who are not Hindu or Indian enthusiastically attend in droves, with some professors in the Sociology department even urging their students to attend in order to understand and appreciate the Hindu festival.