I’m getting pretty tired of writing about how awful 2016 has been and continues to be. My fatigue has compelled me to ignore several events that have transpired in pop culture and favor silence instead of comment. It’s not everything that requires a verbal (or written) reaction, abi? But dear brothers and sisters, there is something that took place on December 23, 2016 – an event so seismic that is has shaken the core and foundation of all who have witnessed it. I speak of course of the utter destruction of Jollof Rice. And as for this one, I will talk. I will shout. I will scream for butchery of our precious jollof!
As you are reading this, you may be tempted to lose hope in the honor of humanity. It’s hard for me to encourage you not to in this dark hour. I mean, what manner of evil soul would violate jollof in this manner? And Essence magazine: why would you allow yourself to be used of the deh-vol in this way? How could you publish this thing and expect the world to go on as usual? Why would you allow yourself to be used as an instrument of Beelzebub’s dark plans? There are so many questions, and I’m not really interested in the answers. After all, how do you answer the query, “WHY?!?!?!”
There’s no response you can give that can satisfy and rectify the gravity of this heinousness.
Let’s dispense with the pleasantries, shall we? In a now deleted post on Essence.com, the culinary assassin who conjured this weaponized version of West Africa’s favorite meal dubbed it a “jollof rice remix that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.” Well, we the West African delegation have news for this misguided individual. We polled the brethren, and 20/10 West Africans disagree with that assessment. We disagree for ourselves and we disagree on behalf of our future generations.
Either the author – or the chef doubling as one – called the recipe a “remix” in the article. Are you P. Diddy? Are you Kirk Franklin? Who sent you to be remixing things? Hein? Answer the question! My friend, why are you answering the question? Will you just keep quiet? Ah! Nonsense.
Let’s examine the ingredients in this punishment you would have us believe qualifies as a meal. It is jollof rice, but your first ingredient is beans. As the post has been taken down, I cannot share with you the precise details, but here are the steps for making Jollof Remix as I recall them:
1 cup of black-eyed peas, soaked overnight.
1 cup of rice
1 can crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper
Some carrots and some green beans
Take the water that you soaked the beans in overnight and used that to cook the rice…
Honestly, it was at this point that I stopped reading. My blood pressure had reached unmanageable levels and I began to fear an apoplexy would overtake and finish me. Holy Ghost FIYAH burn this person. What do you think you are doing? Is your dish suffering an identity crisis?
As my sister aptly put it, “It’s like the chef began making red-red (plantain and beans), was knocked unconscious; woke up to make rice, fell asleep; mistook their location for India and therefore threw in some curry; was roused from brief slumber and decided that because Essence Fest is typically held in Louisiana, a helping of gumbo stirred into the mess was appropriate.”
And then they had the audacity to call the monstrosity a ‘Jollof Remix’. Mighty God. This is not any kind of jollof at all. This dish has a name that is uttered in the spiritual realm, and we must cast it down as we would any other principality and/or power that must submit itself to the name of Jesus. osidhoshohdhosdhsbsaiuhsihdoshodhs!!!
This is serious. This means we have to go and find Jamie ‘Lemon Wedge’ Oliver and apologize to him. Because as devastating as his jollof “interpretation” was on our psyche, at least that British man had the decency not to put BEANS in jollof. Chei! How you mix beans and carrots together? Have you seen ANY PLACE in the world where they do this? Even whypipo don’t do this, and you know how we love to mock them for the funniness and blandness of their food. You this Remix Chef: You are an enemy of progress, an agent of destruction, a force for evil. You mean us evil and not good, and we will not take this sitting down.
You have to understand: Jollof Wars is not an actual war ooo. No one has to die. We were all playing nicely in our Jollof Wars and then you came and did this. We were gently ribbing one another. It was all fun and games until you brought this canon to the tournament. And then you opened fire and hit us all with your canon balls. And then you picked up the canon and rolled it over our lifeless corpses. Was this really necessary? What were you trying to accomplish by doing this?
I don’t think you understand the damage you’ve done. We are trying to further and heal fractured Diasporani-Continental relations (wherever possible) this year. Blitz the Ambassador has released an album that is supposed to fuse us spiritually. For the first time in a long while, Africans on the Continent are standing in solidarity with African Americans’ fight for social justice in greater numbers. We’re beginning to look for ways to work together and rebuff the suspicion and resentment that has separated us for so long. My dear Brother/Sister Remix Chef: your food is not helping things. You have killed us all.
Look, we understand. Jollof is a magical thing and everyone enjoys a bit of magic from time to time. We look forward to magic. We want it to touch our lives. What you have to get is that not everyone is a magician. Okay? You have not been trained in the fine arts of spell weaving, and because you are untrained, you have unleashed a curse. In these Jollof Wars, everyone has a part to play. Your job is to consume and appreciate, not to charge into battle unfocused and unequipped.
I don’t know how, but we will have to fight our way back from this one. There’s one good thing to come of this, however. Nigerians and Ghanaians are united against this foe. We are looking to each other for consolation. I don’t think anything has forged us together this powerfully since Luis Suárez crushed the dreams of millions of Africans in 2010 with his foolish Uruguay fist. Essence.com, do you remember that pain? Please don’t do anything to revisit that sort of agony upon us in the future by publishing this trickery. We beg you.
Dear Jollof: RIP.
I’m sorry this was done to you.
Return If Possible.
We need you.