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Memorial Day Weekend: The Laws Of The Black Cookout

By Leah Freeman-Haskin

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It’s that time of year. Memorial Day weekend is approaching and you can almost hear the claps of The Electric Slide and the smoky scent of ribs. To ensure that you are in good form this year, here is a little reminder of just how to act.

Don’t Come Empty Handed

This is rule number one, because, let’s be honest, it is a cardinal rule when it comes to black cookouts. Thou must bring something. Whether it’s paper plates or a rack of ribs, just make sure the host knows you contributed. And when in doubt, bring some heavy-duty aluminum foil – there is never enough. 

RELATED: How To Spend A Day In Black-Owned Baltimore, Maryland

Know Thyself

If cooking isn’t your thing, please be honest with yourself and stay out the kitchen. If you’re just not that good at Spades, stay out the game. Your feelings are bound to get hurt if you try your hand at Aunite Phyllis’ famous mac n cheese when you were specifically (and strategically) told to just bring the plastic cups. Know thyself and be proud of whatever contributions you bring to the cookout. If it’s plastic cups, make them the best damn plastic cups that Target has to offer. 

Don’t Eat And Run

Didn’t you know? This is an all-day social event. Clear your calendar and make sure little Eddie has a change of clothes. We gonna be here for a while. This may as well be the second cardinal rule. So please don’t show up late, eat, and then leave. You will be called out. And most likely, shamed into staying another hour (or four). So save yourself the time and get comfortable. 

Leave Your Sensitivities At The Door

No one has time for your sensitivities at the cookout. Prepare yourself for at least a few jabs in regards to your relationships, your cooking skills, and what car you pulled up in. Remember it’s actually all in kindness. The lower the blow, the greater the love. 


RELATED: How To Spend A Day In Black-Owned Boston

Spend Time With Your Elders

Don’t just wave in passing to the circle of old folks. They can sniff our your avoidance from a mile away, and they won’t be quiet about it. So, grab a seat and be prepared to share all of the details of your life – even if it means repeating yourself and speaking very loudly to be heard over the croons of Earth Wind and Fire. 

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