Rappers Painted As Chickens In DC Restaurant Offends Locals
By Sharelle Burt
Neighbors of a new restaurant in Washington D.C. are calling the owners “tone deaf” after featuring iconic rappers as chickens.
Roy Boys hip-hop themed fried chicken and oyster restaurant is set to open in the historic Shaw neighborhood, right next door to the infamous Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street. Inside, foodies will see murals paying homage to late rapper Notorious BIG as a rooster and the iconic VIBE magazine cover featuring Snoop Dogg, Suge Knight, Dr. Dre and the late Tupac Shakur, with chicken beaks. People are not too happy about it and are calling “cultural appropriation” on the owners. “As an elder of the U street scene, being an emcee and being in the culture – it just offended me,” musician and rapper Larry “Priest Da Nomad” Ware said. “You have to be sensitive to the culture and things around you.”
The backlash started when the artist, Christopher Lynch, who is white, posted the images on his Instagram page.
Other residents agree with Ware. “There is a deep history of making our people, especially connected to chicken, look like animals because it’s dehumanizing and it’s degrading,” chef and activist Rahman “Rock” Harper said. This outcry is personal for the chef since he and Virginia Ali, known as the matriarch of U Street, attempted to open a restaurant in the same spot ten years ago. Harper, who just won on the television show “Hell’s Kitchen” and started a podcast, is using his growing platform to call out restaurant owners. “Marketing is everything no one comes to a restaurant they don’t know about I get that,” Harper said. “But what you won’t do is play with a culture I love.”
There are neighbors in the area that are supportive of the artwork, saying that “artists and comedians should be given that kind of leeway” and another saying “I will always defend artists.” Roy Boys owner Scott Parker, who is also white, has taken the murals down. He apologized and claimed he wasn’t trying to offend anyone.