Picture it, summer time 2022. The sun is shinning, there is a slight breeze and the temperature is a perfect 78 degrees. This is the perfect time to fire up the grill and have a cookout. Grandma is in the kitchen finishing up her potato salad, the uncles are setting up the spades and dominoes tables while the cousins are headed to the store to grab ice and drinks. This my friends, is the beginning of a staple in Black culture known as “The Cookout.”
On the most basic level, “The Cookout” can be defined as an exclusive, informal social gathering attended by the members of the Black community. A more high level definition is “The Cookout” is a safe space fostering acceptance, camaraderie, support and freedom. “The Cookout” is a form of therapy. “The Cookout” is also a training ground. If your, food can pass the taste test of the elders of the community then you are a top tier chef. In essence, “The Cookout” is one of the highlights of Black culture.
This is why we are so protective of who gets invited. Everyone does not deserve the privilege of seeing us in such a comfortable and relaxed environment. “The Cookout” is our place of refuge and joy. “The Cookout” is one of the few things, we as a community can call our own. Even in that, the Black community is often seen extending special invitations to those outside of our community.
Being invited to “The Cookout
” is a top tier honor in the Black community. It is the social equivalent to being invited to the Grammys or Oscars. In a sense, it is a seal of approval confirming one’s Blackness or alliance to the Black community. Some of the people who have been invited to “The Cookout” include Adele, Jon B, Paul Rudd, Prince Harry, Michael Rapaport, Gregg Popovich and Eminem. These are people who have presented themselves as not just verbal allies to Black culture, but they have used their platforms to speak out and garner support. But does this automatically warrant an invite to “The Cookout”?
At times, that show of support is all that is needed for the Black community to welcome someone to the other side. However, is a show of support on Twitter or in a viral video really enough to be invited into our sacred space. Just because many people show themselves as devout Catholics does that give them clearance to the inner workings of the Vatican?
I am not saying that we should be segregationists because there are really are some great allies out there. I just wish we as a community would have a more selective process. We as Black people are seen constantly extending olive branches, and inviting people to “The Cookout,” but where are our invites to white people’s “Picnic’s” in return. Spring is upon us and summer will be here before we know it. For the sake of the proverbial and the real cookouts that will occur, let’s be a little more selective with who we let into our sacred spaces.
Jasmine Spencer | Jasmine is a native of Chicago and a graduate of Loyola University Chicago with a B.A. in Political Science. Jasmine started writing in 2018 as just a hobby. Since then it has grown into a passion. Jasmine considers herself to be a lifestyle and fashion blogger, a social media manager, and social media strategist. She can be found on Instagram at @jas_is_peculiaroyalty