Cocoa Tea - The Caribbean drink that's neither hot chocolate nor tea

Cocoa Tea

When I was little, my dad would play a lot of reggae in the car. One of the songs was I Am Not A King, originally recorded by Delroy Wilson. But the version my dad played was by a Jamaican singer called Cocoa Tea. At first I thought it was just a Jamaican name for hot chocolate. I didn’t think much of it after that. 20 years later, it entered my life again in a Gastro Obscura article and my assumption was wrong. Cocoa tea was not a Jamaican term for hot chocolate. And it wasn’t really tea either.

Cocoa or chocolate tea is made from mixing grated cocoa balls or sticks with milk and water, before boiling. So in some ways, it’s a lot like hot chocolate. But the secret to a perfect cup is pure unsweetened cocoa. Authentic cocoa balls are best but hard to obtain outside the Caribbean. Adding traditional Caribbean spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, or ginger is the proverbial icing on the tea. The biggest difference is the lack of sugar (which is a big part of Caribbean sweet cuisine) and that’s where condensed milk comes in (which is a big part of Caribbean sweet cuisine). This can, of course, be substituted for any kind of milk and the spices can vary depending on where the drink is made.

It’s not even specific to Jamaica and Barbados. Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Dominica and Saint Lucia are some of the islands who sip on the hot beverage. So why is it even called “tea”? Think of it as a Caribbean umbrella term for a hot drink at breakfast.

Check out some recipes for the drink below.

Cocoa Tea - I Am Not A King

Marcus Daniel, the new EiC of Media Diversified

Marcus Daniel

This is arguably the best media news I’ve heard all year. If you haven’t heard of Media Diversified, familiarise yourself now by visiting their website. On 19th November, they announced Marcus Daniel as their new editor-in-chief. This means even more to me personally as Marcus is a friend of mine but from a subjective point of view, this is a brilliant acquisition.

Marcus has written numerous essays on LGBT issues and music for Media Diversified, The Queerness, SoSoGay, and IndyVoices. His passion for equality and diversity is abundant and prevalent in everything he does. Samantha Asumadu, founder of Media Diversified, expressed her delight in the appointment saying:

“I have had an eye on him for a few months for a key role in our organisation’s future and have always enjoyed both how he uses his social media presence to highlight important issues such as the Windrush scandal, and how he highlights how racism and LGBTphobia intersect to marginalise LGBT people of colour.”

From myself and everyone at Cultrface, I would like to congratulate Marcus on his new position. I would also like to wish everyone at Media Diversified a prosperous future under his editorship.

You can follow Marcus on his personal Twitter account (I highly recommend you do this): @marcusjdl

And follow Media Diversified on Twitter (do this too): @writersofcolour

And, if like me, you want to hear Marcus and his dulcet tones, you can stream a video below where he discusses new articles, Hillary Clinton, and Widows alongside MD founder, Samantha Asumadu.

Media Diversified: Sam & Marcus 26.11.18

UPDATE: Unfortunately, MD have had to shut down but the website will still be live.

The Time When Uncle Phil Brought Out "Lucille"

uncle-phil-lucille

I looked up to my dad even if we didn’t see eye-to-eye in my teen years. I saw certain similarities between our relationship and Will and Uncle Phil’s in The Fresh Prince. And like many episodes, Will got himself into some trouble and couldn’t get out. Until Uncle Phil came through once again. There were times you might have been on Will’s side in certain episodes but others, you were rooting for Phil. What made their relationship so strong was Uncle Phil always stood up for him and made sure he knew he loved him and he was there for him (when the time was right).

“Don’t mess with my boy again. You mess with him, you messing with me.”

Uncle Phil

In this clip, Will gets himself in trouble with some pool sharks and Uncle Phil has to come and bail him out. But there’s a debt to settle. Rather than just pay the money, Uncle Phil decides to take pool shark on with comical effect. Until Lucille makes an entrance. Who’s Lucille? You’ll have to find out.

Happy Black History Month!

An interview with Simon from Power In Discussion

Simon - Power In Discussion

It’s a pleasure to have Simon take part in our Black History Month festivities. Besides being a good friend of mine, Simon is also a speech-language therapist and founder of Power In Discussion, an organisation creating positive discussion in the context of mental health and well-being, identity, and experiences faced by Black communities in Britain and Black LGBTQ+ representation.

What is your favourite city in the world?

Las Vegas.

What’s the most unusual item you take everywhere you go?

Almond oil.

Why do you do what you do?

Currently, I’m working on Power In Discussion, a platform which recognises the importance of having conversations both on and offline. I do it because I love communicating and I recognise the value in sharing our stories.

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?

At the weekend.

Where do you go to relax?

The bath.

69, 280, or 420?

280.

How do you say goodbye in your culture?

A’right, we goh see…later!

An interview with Shanarà Phillips

shanara-phillips

Her love of visual storytelling has taken her around the world and she recently had her video, He’s Not Like That, featured at the BAFTAs as a finalist. We interviewed her for Black History Month.

What is your favourite city in the world?

To not be biased and say my own, I would say Oslo. I recently went there for a little weekend trip to visit one of my best friends and I wish I could have stayed longer. Such a beautiful city, friendly people and the food is great. Plus the flights are really cheap!

What’s the most unusual item you take everywhere you go?

There’s nothing usual that I take with me, although I’ve weirdly had a few people ask me before why I carry moisturiser with me all the time… I mean who wants ashy skin? Especially when you already have eczema.

Why do you do what you do?

I do what I currently do because I’m passionate about film and TV. So I currently have a full-time job as a logger for a production company and we’re working on a series about Formula 1 racing which will be on Netflix. I also do the odd videography/editing freelance job. It’s all to help pay the bills and fund my filmmaking hobby so that eventually I can start producing my own work for film/tv.

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?

I can’t remember and that’s terrible.

Where do you go to relax?

The only place I have to relax is my room really. I came back home last year and my room was still the same way I left it at 18 and so as I’m almost 23 now I decided it needed a makeover to match the woman I am now. So I’ve been slowly turning it into my own relaxing sanctuary where I can just edit and write, or watch crap on YouTube.

69, 280, or 420?

420, always.

How do you say goodbye in your culture?

Unfortunately, I don’t know Vincentian Creole, but my family have this habit of mostly saying ‘in a bit’.

He's Not Like That | Vlogstar Challenge Grand Final Entry

RIP Jean-Michel Basquiat

King Alphonso by Jean Michel Basquiat

That’s the line I’m going with anyway. I won’t pretend I knew about him for years. He was a name I’d heard but not explored further than occasional utterances. Then I went to see his Boom For Real exhibition at the Barbican in London and everything changed. His bodies of work (and that pun was intentional) were the true definition of expressionism. He flew by the seat of his pants when it came to life and art, neither discipline far from each other nor mutually exclusive.

“I cross out words so you will see them more; the fact that they are obscured makes you want to read them.”

Jean-Michel Basquiat

He proclaimed himself a legend and nobody can take that status away from him.

The chaotic brilliance of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat - Jordana Moore Saggese

My All-Time Favourite Chili Pepper Challenge by AyyOnline

AyyOnline's Chili Pepper Challenge.

The other is the one with the two white girls which I’ll post tomorrow, but back to my all-time fave. AyyOnline was a popular black British Youtuber until he left (and recently came back) and during the chili pepper challenge’s heyday, Ayy joined in. The hottest pepper at the time was the Naga Viper pepper or “Ghost pepper” as it was also known. It was the “World’s Hottest Chili” in 2011 with a rating of 1,382,118 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Pepper X is the unofficial champion now (used in the Hot Ones’ sauce) but the Naga Viper was the king for quite some time.

The featured image for this post is the precise moment before he took the “deadly” bite; the record scratch “you’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation” moment. What follows is hilarious. Cue removal of clothing, ice, yoghurt, and some vomiting. The initial reaction was classic. The instant realisation that you’ve made a bad decision and there’s no way out. Well, not a comfortable one anyway. But like he said, he did it for laughs and he got plenty from me over the years. I’m glad he didn’t live up to the ghost pepper’s name and came back.

Fun facts about chili peppers (courtesy of Wikipedia):

  • Chilis were part of the Aztecs’ staple diet and originated in Mexico.
  • The substance that gives chilis their intense heat is called capsaicin.
  • 32.3 million tonnes of green chili peppers and 3.8 million tonnes of dried chili peppers were produced in 2014 worldwide.
  • China is the world’s largest producer of green chillies, providing 50% of the global total.

The wonderful art of Upendo

upendo

Who is Upendo?

Upendo Taylor was born in Watts, California but moved to New York to make the city “his canvas” according to his website. He draws inspiration from everything in his life and puts them back into his art in the best possible way.

His aesthetic has covered topics such as pop culture, cartoons, and his love of hamburgers with different media like hand drawings, painting, and computer designs.

Leroy Jenkins!

In 2005, Upendo teamed up with Ron Upperman to create their Leroy Jenkins clothing brand (named after the infamous Leroy Jenkins meme). The biggest endorsement of the brand came from Jay-Z who wore a Leroy Jenkins cap in 2012.

Upendo has worked with the likes of Adidas, Burton, Gatorade, Stones Throw Records, and Black Milk over the years and he’s one of my favourite modern artists and artistic inspirations.

Some of Upendo’s work

UPENDO ART

Gabrielle Union eats hot wings, discusses Twitter fools & DMX

Gabrielle Union Impersonates DMX While Eating Spicy Wings | Hot Ones

Gabrielle Union is a treasure. When she’s not being a brilliant actress, absolute beauty, or a best-selling author, she enjoys a wing or two. First We Feast’s Hot Ones series has guests talk about their lives while eating the spiciest wings available. During Gabrielle’s wing stop, she discussed her husband Dwyane Wade’s friendship with LeBron James, the time she took Michael Jordan to a lesbian white party (that one passed me by) and when she drank beer and watched Golden Girls with DMX. Yep, that last one happened too. And she also drooled and snotted because the Scoville scale was too damn high.

Have a glass of milk nearby.

Hot Ones related: Chris Punsalan and fam did the Hot Ones Challenge

Black Minimalists

Black Minimalists on YouTube

The Black Minimalists want to change that perspective. They are a community of individuals who identify as black and live minimalist lifestyles.

The website launched this year and is funded by the founding team members. The team is made up of four people: founder Yolanda Acree, and co-founders Farai Harreld, Kenya Cummings, and Anekia Nicole. Everything from food and travel to beauty and fashion is covered but more importantly, Black Minimalists welcome collaboration and support to spread the word and provide a safe space to do so.

You can find out more about them on their blog and donate to keep the community alive.

Semiotics: myths, #BlackLivesMatter & #AllLivesMatter

Intro to Semiotics Part 2: Sign, Myth and #AllLivesMatter

I’m still on my semiotics tip and discovered this interesting video about myths, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and the loathsome #AllLivesMatter. I was wary of how both hashtags would be described but they went how I’d hoped in such a short video. I’ve not heard or read about either one described from a semiotic perspective and it’s good to know the arbitrariness carries such weight in #AllLivesMatter.

As Electric Didact says when quoting semiotician Roland Barthes, “myth freezes or immobilises intention.” This considers the notion that while Black Lives Matter is a movement, All Lives Matter isn’t.

Watch the video below and leave a comment with your thoughts on the semiotics angle.

Picturing Prince: An Intimate Portrait

picturing-prince

Prince was quite a secretive person but you won’t be short of photographs of him. Picturing Prince: An Intimate Portrait will piece together never-before-seen photos of the late musician, taken by Steve Parke.

A new book from Cassell, Picturing Prince: An Intimate Portrait, out September 5, aims to add depth to Prince’s public persona; it features never-before-seen photographs by Steve Parke, the musician’s former art director at Paisley Park, including 16 pages of lost photographs from his extensive archive.

Along with those images are some hilarious anecdotes from Parke, revealing more about Prince than most fans would know. Stories include The Purple One renting out whole movie theatres at 4am, requests for exotic animals, and his love of basketball. Away from taking photos of Prince, Steve Parke also designed his album covers and merch before becoming the official Paisley Park art director. That’s a high accolade given Prince’s attention to detail and perfectionism when it came to his image.

This is a must-read for Prince fans and music lovers alike.

View a slideshow of nine photos via The Cut.

Hibaq Osman - The Heart Is A Smashed Bulb

Hibaq Osman - The Heart Is A Smashed Bulb

Hibaq Osman is a Somali writer born and based in London. Her work centres women, identity and the healing process. I’ve been following Hibaq online for a number of years and it’s been wonderful watching her grow as a poet. Her words cut and soothe in equal measure.

The thing about blood
it reeks of metal
baby,
aren’t you sick of chains?

What a verse. Just wow.

The Heart Is A Smashed Bulb is a four-part anthology and you can download it via Google Drive. I also recommend you buy A Silence You Can Carry and Where The Memory Was as well.

When Joanne the Scammer Visited Britain

When Joanne the Scammer Visited Britain

A very insightful 20-minute documentary on Branden Miller, the man behind Joanne the Scammer, and his journey to Britain for the first time. Getting to see both sides of the Joanne coin makes for interesting viewing and you become more appreciative of the performer as well as the performance. There were wonderful dresses and lots of sightseeing in that classic Joanne style.

Update: It appears the video was cancelled so enjoy this Caucasian tweet. Iconic!

Update 2: I found the video on Facebook but uploaded it to my server because I don’t trust Meta to keep it there. Please note: this video is about 1.5GB in size so keep that in mind before watching. It’s recommended to watch this with a WiFi connection and maybe avoid clicking the link if you’re on a mobile data plan that isn’t unlimited.

Stream the trailer below.

Joanne The Scammer Takes Britain: Behind Branden Miller's Rise To Fame | Instant Exclusive | INSTANT

Brief Excerpts From James Baldwin's 1,884-Page FBI File

james baldwin

Such was the strength of racism and homophobia during the Civil Rights Movement. You can still feel that potency today, if not in different ways. But this quote from Literary Hub is harrowing:

My memorandum date 7-17-64, which concerned the captioned individual’s plans for a future book about the FBI, has been returned by the Director with this question: “Isn’t Baldwin a well-known pervert?” It is not a matter of official record that he is a pervert…

James Baldwin, a well-known pervert? M.A. Jones of Crime Records elaborated further:

While it is not possible to state that [Baldwin] is a pervert, he has expressed a sympathetic viewpoint about homosexuality on several occasions, and a very definite hostility toward the revulsion of the American public regarding it.

M.A. Jones of Crime Records

It is no wonder Baldwin moved across the Atlantic to Paris.

(via Literary Hub)