From the restaurant’s perspective, the name change grew out of pride in the new president and a keen sense of commerce. From other perspectives, it was tone-deaf at best, and racist at worst. When the restaurant, Royal Fried Chicken on Rutland Road in Brownsville, changed its name last week to Obama Fried Chicken, the reaction was swift.
“Community leaders came. They told us we have to change the name,” said Mohammad Jabbar, 33, the manager. “They said if you don’t change it they will take action.”
It was the latest outbreak of commercial enthusiasm for President Obama and his family. An Illinois company tried to sell dolls that looked like the president’s daughters, and a Brooklyn brewery, Sixpoint Craft Ales, named a beer Hop Obama in honor of the community organizer in chief.
A few minutes’ drive from Obama Fried Chicken, Obama Beauty Supply, opened its doors several months ago. Its owner, Mohammed Seraji, said he was inspired by his children’s enthusiasm for the president, along with Mr. Obama’s popularity in the neighborhood. A Michelle Obama wig he sells, for $49.99, is emerging as a popular item.
( Collapse )