SAARTJ: H*T Chicken Sh**t, 2018
The chef and cultural critic Tunde Wey uses food to create provocative and transformative experiences. For his SAARTJ project, Wey cooks and presents food in various spaces to address issues of race-based wealth disparity, discriminatory development, economic and social agency, and the ways that consumptive acts demonstrate status and privilege. SAARTJ is named after Saartjie Baartman, the South African woman who was displayed in nineteenth-century Europe as a freak show attraction due to the size of her buttocks. “Baartman's story represents, among other things, the objectification and exploitation of Black, African, and female personhood,” writes Wey. “The SAARTJ dinners are about confronting exploitative systems.”
SAARTJ: H*t Chicken Sh**t is a critique of gentrification and Black displacement in Nashville, with the main dish operating as a metaphor for the continued appropriation of Black culture (foodways) and wealth (labor and land). The project involves a series of community dinners and a three-day pop-up restaurant that will sell Nigerian-style hot chicken in exchange for property or cash. All proceeds will be used to purchase or rehab property, with the goal to create permanently affordable housing in historic North Nashville. Any properties collected during the pop-up will be transferred to the community in the 37208 zip code, specifically in block group 1, census tract 143.
Food: Wey’s Nigerian-style hot chicken is imbued with a blend of nine Nigerian condiments and spices, then lacquered in filo, speckled in gold flecks, and finally dressed in a deeply savory hot pepper sauce. It will be served in half and whole portions with smatterings of Nigerian staples, including yam pottage, jollof rice, fried sweet plantains, and efo riro (stewed spinach). The pop-up restaurant is hosted by Westwood Baptist Church, University Center; visit the event page for dates and times.
Cost: "Property as payment reinforces the necessity for privileged individuals, communities, institutions, and businesses to recognize that the resources they hold are a result of the historical and continued exploitation of communities of color and working class people," writes Wey. "Restitution is the only way to achieve parity." Read more about the project at: www.hxtchickenshxxt.com.
The Post East (1701 Fatherland St, Nashville, TN 37206) specializes in gluten-free, vegan, and organic fare made from the heart. As a Real Food certified business, the restaurant takes great pride in sourcing ingredients from local, organic, and sustainable vendors and farmers.
Westwood Baptist Church, University Center (2510 Albion Street Nashville, TN 37208) is led by Pastor Barton Elliott Harris who relocated from Boston in December 1987 to begin his tenure at Westwood. A graduate of Fisk University, Pastor Harris has a wide range of experiences serving churches, schools, colleges and universities, prison ministries, and various religious and civic organizations. Previously, he taught mathematics at Tennessee State University and McMurray Middle School in the Metropolitan Nashville Public School System.