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Movies/TV Last Updated: May 30th, 2008 - 11:49:13

“Fry That Chicken”
By Ashley Martin--Special to
Oct 26, 2006, 21:11

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A land of plantation-esque shacks, a hazy mist created by all the fried chicken-smoke, and a gang of children devouring Ms. Pied Piper’s wings like they contain the cure for ADHD: these are all the elements of “Fry That Chicken" by Ms. Peachez.

Maybe by now you’ve clicked on the link that for three minutes and 38 magical seconds transports you to the land of Ms. Peachez. A drag queen resembling Lil’ Kim of the mid-90’s, Ms. Peachez appears on the grainy YouTube screen clad in a platinum blond wig, cerulean-colored feather hat (with 4 inch nails to match), a spray painted t-shirt reminiscent of a high school drill-team girl’s uniform and a whole chicken in hand. In the meantime, a children’s chorus encourages her to…”fry that chicken.”

This infamous hip-hop video that sings the praises of poultry preparation and consumption has been circulated around the web and back, creating an uproar along the way.

“I got a pan and I got a plan; I’ma fry this chicken in my hand” opens this satire of a cultural institution. We’re all familiar with the ritual of spiced flour, hot grease and wings, legs and thighs (and a plastic bag for shaking if you’re so inclined). But are we comfortable with others witnessing a ceremony that’s been ridiculed by others both in and outside of the Black community? Herein lies the problem. The snickers from non-Blacks and cries of cooning from our folk can be heard loud and clear through the screen, with comments along the lines of “niggers love their chicken” and “you’re setting us back with this video,” gracing the message board. What is the issue? The same damn issue that we’ve had since the end of our physical bondage and the beginning of our quest to undo white racial pathology one rejected drumstick at a time. Through this video that gives new meaning to the term low-budget, Ms. Peachez has reacquainted us with the us that our Black intelligentsia brethren have tried to erase through careful, intensive study of Cosby show reruns.

Ah, the eternal battle of high versus low culture. Negroes versus N-----s. Cristal vs. Kool-Aid. In corner one we have the racial uplift school of thinking that seems to believe that all the “isms” of the world would cease if we, as a united people, erase all evidence of our affinity towards the yard-bird. In corner two, Ms, Peachez: a representative of chicken-eating tradition and keep-it-realitude, is unashamed that the realness easily fits into stereotype.

Yes, we all (hopefully) know that the Black person eating fried chicken is a stereotype and in no way reflects the dietary habits of all African-Americans. But what we don’t all want to recognize is that, though we don’t ALL love fried chicken, it is indeed a staple in the Black community and subsequently a symbol of cultural significance. As Common so quaintly put it, “It’s us.” Please don’t be mad at Ms. Peachez. Be mad at what made you mad at her in the first place.

It’s amazing how racism can distort symbols of cultural relevance into something shame inducing. Don’t be like your cousin. You know that cousin. The bourgeois one you used to have watermelon-eating contests with when y’all was little, but who now wants to be called Emma and stares at your three-piece meal in (jealousy masked as) disgust. It’s okay; eat your three-piece and we gon’ pray for all our confused cousins.

Now pass the hot sauce because you know I don’t want no ketchup.

Ashley Martin is a student at the University of Arizona

© Copyright 2006

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