A woman accused a boba shop for cultural appropriation by “stealing Black culture” and using the slang words trap and plug to advertise their Asian-owned business.
Before Roba walked into the store, she began filming. She asked the first employee she saw if the business is Black-owned. After he said no, she is heard on video and said, “Ok, interesting.”
Roba continued to film as she waited in line and ordered. She asked another worker if the business is Black-owned. He said no, and told her that they’re majority Indonesian. She began asking if he thought Trap Tea was stealing Black culture. If it was guilty of cultural appropriation.
She said the house on the company’s logo was a “trap house,” yet a worker claimed the house was inspired from the cartoon Dragon Ball Z.
The conversation quickly turned into a heated debate.
“Is this Asian culture?” said Roba. “Trap Tea, the boba plug? You’re using Black culture to gain customers… You’re stealing Black culture… Asian people stealing Black culture once again.”
While Roba filmed all of the workers and the store, she said, “It’s okay, you’ll be exposed though.”
The video went viral on social media.
The slang term “trap” refers to a genre of music that is birthed from Black culture, according to Blackboard. “Trap house” can be defined as a place where illegal drugs are sold or made, and “plug” refers to a person who distributes or helps distributes something that can be drugs or other items.
Both terms are used as common language for some people, and does not always refer to drugs. The meaning of the terms became more loosely defined overtime as they are used in songs or the media.
However, some people do claim the terms are heavily tied into Black history.
The workers denied the accusations that the business is stealing Black culture, but Roba clearly disagreed. She called the workers “thieves.”
After a worker thanked her for coming in, Roba said, “No, I came here because I thought it was Black owned… I told my friends I’m supporting a Black business.”
The arguments against Roba’s claims are not heard clearly in the video.
Another customer, who appears to be of African American descent, is seen and heard in the video trying to interrupt Roba, according to Daily Dot.
Before the video could tell if the man was trying to defend Roba or Trap Tea, Roba repeatedly calls him a “coon.”
A “coon” is a racial slur that is used to describe a Black person, and is rooted in racial discrimination in America. The use of this racist slur dates back to the 1700s.
The video ends with Roba and the man arguing about cultural appropriation.
After the video went viral, Trap Tea posted on Instagram to briefly address the incident.
According to Next Shark, Trap Tea said their store name came from “the appreciation of Black souther culture and the grind, the hustle, and drive that we put into the brand, and the friends, and family we have collaborated with to make that possible.”
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