The bagel sandwich formerly known as the Rihanna-Flex. Photograph by Scott Suchman
Two weeks after Park View cafe Colony Club announced a name change in an effort to disassociate with colonialism, another neighborhood business is rethinking its role in active anti-racism. Call Your Mother owners Andrew Dana and Daniela Moreira posted an apology message to the deli’s website on Monday announcing the team is removing the wall of gold-framed Drake photos and renaming its bagel sandwiches.
“The entertainers and athletes that have influenced our menu and decor were chosen as a celebration of the diversity of Judaism,” write Dana and Moreira. “Although it was never our intention, we now understand that these choices were co-opting Black culture and profiting off it, without truly paying homage.”
Many of the bagel creations are named for Black artists and athletes, such as the lox-laden “Rihanna-flex” and “the Amar’e.” The latter is a tribute to basketball player Amar’e Stoudemire who—like rapper and former Degrassi star Drake—are both Black and Jewish, an oft-erased identity in discussions of privilege and antisemitism. New names have already been assigned to the sandwiches, like the whitefish salad “Boca Club” and “the Royal Palm.”
Similar to Colony Club, the statement from the Call Your Mother owners grapples with the community responsibility of new businesses in a rapidly gentrifying area. Dana and Moreira also own nearby Timber Pizza on Upshur Street, and a second location of the Jew-ish deli in Capitol Hill. According to the statement, the co-owners are committing to future partnerships that support the surrounding area, in addition to adopting new staff training “so that the police are always the last resort.”
“As our company’s leaders, we have not done enough to show what we have always known to be true: that Black Lives Matter. We stand with Black people, Black Washingtonians, and our Black neighbors in Park View,” write Dana and Moreira.
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