“We have two evils to fight, capitalism and racism. We must destroy both racism and capitalism.” Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panthers.

Remember how you felt the first time you heard your “never sell out”/“better to burn out and die young” rock ‘n roll band from your youth being used to shill your father’s Oldsmobile? That’s almost what this is like:

JULY 18–Former Black Panther associates of Huey P. Newton, the late co-founder of the militant organization, are seeking to trademark the phrase “Burn Baby Burn” so they can slap the words–long associated with conflagrations that left cities like Watts and Newark in cinders–on hot sauce. According to pending filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (which you will find below), the Huey P. Newton Foundation also wants to trademark the phrase “Revolutionary Hot Sauce.” The Oakland-based group, which is run by Newton’s widow Fredrika and ex-Panther David Hilliard, submitted the trademark applications late last year and, according to USPTO records, appears close to securing government approval of its requests. On the foundation’s web site, the Newton group describes itself as a “community-based, non-profit research, education, and advocacy center dedicated to fostering progressive social change.” It is unclear exactly what role spicy condiments play in this noble multicultural pursuit. In 1966, Newton co-founded the Black Panther Party, which would later be called “the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States” by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

You know, there comes a point where you’ve traded on your reputation a little too much, diluted the power of your message to the point of irrelevance. To go from a force for good–granted, often having to muddle through its often mixed messages and methods–to sell its soul to the capitalist system that it struggled against, well it’s a little disappointing.

Granted, it’s not like I’m reading about a new “I Have a Dream” line of adjustable beds.

Though now I’m waiting for Col. Farrakhan to start serving up some fried chicken.

Served with crackers.

(That cracker joke brought to you by lokust)

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