Coffee as Diaspora Reparations By Bartholomew Jones 3/15/20 CXFFEE was stolen from Africa in 1616 by two Dutch Spies. Three years later, stolen African bodies landed in Jamestown, Virginia. Since that point, coffee has expanded into a 100 billion dollar industry on the backs of black and brown bodies. Meanwhile, the economic disrepair in the countries of origin for those same coffee farms has grown another industry— foreign aid, to 100 billion dollars as well. In the words Torontos’s Nia Bangala of Congo Coffee and Mikate House, “Do you know how many hospitals, school, [and] children programs I could do with that proceeds and not ask for donations?” The theft of coffee from the cradle of civilization is a debt that must not only be paid back, but paid forward. Black folk are the primary inhabits in communities at up the two least profitable tails of the coffee industry: production and retail. We are paid pennies for our once-stolen goods at origin, and then ignored, pushed out, and gentrified as hipsters and urbanites build retail capitals in our ghetto. Sourcing, highlighting, and elevating our cxffeeblack is more than a measure of good will. It’s more than assuaging some guilt of a 400-year old grand larceny. It is a quintessential step in stabilizing the economic disaster left by Colonial White supremacy and the mobilization of one of our planets most productive and under resourced populations. We believe it should be the primary topic of pan African business relations in the diaspora if we hope to imagine our brightest and blackest tomorrow.
“CXFFEE BLACK” Album Review By Gerald Olufemi-Lamar Darling 3/27/20 Bartholomew Jones, a.k.a Bart Jones, a.ka, “Mo”, a.k.a a local saint of ethereal sounds, smooth black “cxffee”, and unapologetic blackness, uses their God-given gifts and talents to bring to us one of many of their magnum opus’s with the drop of his debut album, “Cxffeblack”. “Cxffeeblack” is a amalgamation of the soulful (and probably caffeinated) energies of Bartholomew and some of the friends and family collective the “Cxffeeblack” movement, manifested into a track-list that feels like the emulsification of D’Angelo’s Funkadelic’s, Solange’s airiness, and Outkast’s “alt” dirty south hip- hop energy. So, in other words, VERY BLACK, and VERY GOOD music. While we can compare the sounds of Bartholomew Jones and the collective’s sounds and reverberations to other renowned Black Musical Alchemists of our generation, the full message and mantra of Cxffeeblack would feel drowned out in the “sugar and cream” of comparison. The “X’ in Cxffeeblack is not only for the sake of the aesthetic of the album, its purpose is indicative of the deeper, intersectional narrative that Bartholomew has at the center of their moment and brand. In an interview with Edible Memphis in May of 2019, he conveys the simple yet profound purpose behind the “X” in “Cxffeeblack”: “the ‘X’ variable God has placed on humanity to create a better sum…and how black people have historically used ‘X’ to replace the sugar and cream they were given as a last name during slavery. Most did this until they found a connection with their origins powerful enough to become their new family name. The X served as a fulcrum to connect them to their natural notes as humans, and that’s exactly what we wanna do as well,” That mantra and the energy that it brings fully manifests itself into a melodic and metaphysical form in every single track that Bartholomew Jones and friends produced. Each lyric, beat, vibe and flow truly come together to become a better sum. Just as one drinks their coffee black, (as they should), the origins, flavors, notes meld together in a rich an smooth, single origin album that one must enjoy while partaking of their favorite brew at the crib with the boo, with the fam at the cookout, or at the local cxffee spot. There is a track for every moment and curated aesthetic that speaks to the narrative that Bartholomew and the Cxffee Black collective seeks to manifest and put out into the world. Some of my personal favorite joints on the album to “catch the vibes” are Track 1: Cxffeeblack-if you’re feeling some ethereal, airy, and Funkadelic notes. Cxffee I recommend: A light and fruity Ethiopian, or A bold but grounded Rwandan Track 3: Guji Freestyle-for some trap beats, strong sounds, or if you’re trying to start a mosh-pit. Cxffee I recommend: An Ethiopian Guji-probably “Guji Mane” (Shameless Plug), pulled on Espresso, to be drank immediately after it has been served. (Proceed with caution not because it will change your life for the better-that’s a given. I am just not responsible for the reader burning themselves for consuming piping hot cxffee) Track 6: “Down” (feat. Demire and Renata)-When you’re trying to rejoice in hard times, you need a vibe you can turn up to, and remind yourself it’s gone be alrite. Cxffee I recommend: A Congolese, Ecuadorian, or Peruvian roast-something strong, subtle, present and reminds you why you should stay black, and drink your cxffee black.