I’ve been to The Lady and Sons, the renowned Savannah, GA., restaurant owned by America’s lard-loving Food Network star Paula Deen. Not gonna lie: we waited on line for an hour, easy, to eat there, and when we finally got in, we worked that buffet like a stripper does a pole on a hot summer Saturday night. Fried chicken and whiting, greens, candied yams, gooey macaroni and cheese, homemade biscuits and jelly—we swallowed it all down. And when we finally looked up from our plates, we came to what we were sure was a pretty logical conclusion: wasn’t nothing but black folks back there in that kitchen stirring those pots.
You can’t fool me. I was raised in the North but I’m the child of Black Southerners with soul food all up in my fingertips and deep in my bones. We created and mastered the cuisine. Paula Deen was simply smart enough to slap a picture of herself and her All-American sons on the door while a kitchen full of Negroes toil in the steam and sizzle of her restaurant, doing all the hard work while their jolly, finger-licking boss takes all the credit.
You know—that great Southern tradition.
But word on the streets and in court depositions suggests that the Dumpy Dumpling of Dixie has been acting more like the plantation mistress than benevolent employer of talented black chefs and waitstaff at her popular Georgia restaurants. Lisa Jackson claims in a $1.2 million lawsuit that Deen used the “N-word” on several occasions, and that the restaurateur’s brother, Bubby Heirs, sexually assaulted her during a five-year stint as the general manager of Deen’s Georgia restaurants.
While she’s claiming in public releases today that she just loves her some black folk, Deen admitted in a court deposition taken last month that she’s said “nigger” before.
“Yes, of course,” the 66-year-old chef said when Jackson’s attorney asked her if she’s ever said it.
She went on to admit that she’s also been known to tell a few racists jokes, too, and struggled to answer when asked if she thought those kinds of jokes are “mean.”
*insert image of Denene making dead fish eyes here*
A teeny weeny spot on my buttery soul would just love to believe Paula’s statement today that she “does not condone or find the use of racial epithets acceptable.” But the rest of my dark brown bottom knows better…
Read the rest of my essay on Paula Deen, Black Twitter’s #PaulaDeenDishes and why “The Lady” of the popular Savannah restaurant The Lady and Sons can stick her butter where the sun don’t shine on CocoaFab.com.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.