Monday, June 8, 2009


"Thank you Mr. Charlie for giving us po black folk the opportunity to allow us to spend our dollars with you. Thank you for finally coming into our neighborhood, now that our neighborhoods are undergoing major gentrification. Now the LaSalle College students and the suburbanites who have come back to the city can not only enjoy being close to the parks, theatres and airport, they also have the convenience of being able to shop for healthy food. Thank you for giving us a job so that we can put our money right back into your pockets. Thank you for allowing us not to grow and sell our own vegetables in our own neighborhood."

Now, with all the said, let it be known that I am actually a big fan of Brown's Shop Rite and have shopped at their store on Ridge Avenue when they only had the one store. I might be dating myself, but I can recall my oldest daughter, who was 4 or 5 at the time, always excited to go the "Brown's Shop Rite". Maybe it was because she liked to eat and would always get a sample lunch meat and cheese rollup from the lunch meat deli. They were ahead of the game and offered a variety of turkey lunch meat products. It was always clean and had quality produce and other nutritious foods. At that time, they even had some type of partnership with my church in which members purchased vouchers and part of the money went to our building fund.

But as I listened to WURD this past Saturday, as they "celebrated" the great transformation of that community I was not happy at all. They were praising Mr. Charlie (aka Jeff Brown) for transforming their neighborhood and providing jobs and quality foods. They praised his dedication to the community and acted like he was the great white hope for our black neighborhoods. Shoot, that ain't community dedication - that's just good business!

They were ecstatic as the white manager told all of the things that they can do with a sweet potato. Since when can a white person tell us about all the recipes where a sweet potato is the main ingredient. Oh, but the person who cooks all of this delicious food is what? You guessed it! BLACK! They will never be able to tell us anything about cooking. Remember, it was a black woman took the guts of a hog; scraps given to her by her master as a mean and cruel joke and told her to feed her family. She transformed those scraps into a delicacy that still kills blacks today.

While I think it's a wonderful thing that the West Philadelphia residents now have the opportunity to purchase quality produce and foods at the new one year-old Brown's Shoprite, I couldn't help but notice and be disappointed that there are NO BLACK OWNED BUSINESSES IN THAT SHOPPING CENTER. When they brought on a guest who has some type of energy drink that is now being offered at the store, I got a little excited, but that excitement quickly diminished when I realized that he too was not of African descent.

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