This item is a year old, but still worth recording. You can buy the "Spirit of '66" t-shirts here.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005 (SF Chronicle)
BLACK PANTHERS HOT AGAIN/Huey Newton's widow resurrects militants' memory with 'Burn Baby Burn' barbecue sauce
Rick DelVecchio, Chronicle Staff Writer
Former Black Panthers in Oakland have cooked up a hot sauce called "Burn Baby Burn" [pictured] and plan to ship it to stores in the coming weeks along with a new clothing line [a t-shirt example is pictured] trading on the legacy of the late-'60s revolutionary Huey Newton.
Newton's widow, Fredrika Newton, came up with the idea for the new brand of spicy condiment, and original Panther David Hilliard brewed the recipe at home in West Oakland, with help from his musician and amateur-cook friend Al Green of San Francisco.
The Huey P. Newton Foundation, headed by Hilliard and named for the co-founder of the militant group born in Oakland, filed an application with the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office last year to secure the phrase "Burn Baby Burn" for commercial trademark purposes.
"It was a catchy phrase, and I thought it would be reminiscent of the '60s," Fredrika Newton said Tuesday. "I sure didn't want it to be a call to burn anything other than our taste buds."
Green said: "We have a number of different kinds, and some of it is really hot -- I mean, incredibly hot."
The phrase is associated with the race riots in the Watts section of Los Angeles in 1965. Onlookers started chanting it after police arrested a young man for drunken driving. The confrontation triggered six days of rioting, resulting in more than 30 deaths, 1,000 injuries and devastating fire damage to the neighborhood.
Each bottle of Burn Baby Burn Revolutionary Hot Sauce will come with a tag noting milestones in the history of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, which was formed in 1966 by Huey Newton and his college classmate Bobby Seale. Newton was fatally shot by a drug dealer in Oakland in 1989. [No mention of the FBI's COINTELPRO program that targeted the Black Panther Party for neutralization and resulted in the murder of Fred Hampton and other Panthers.]
The tags will highlight the group's social legacy, Fredrika Newton said.
"I guess I want to celebrate the history and to let people know the actual facts of the Black Panther Party and how some of these programs are woven in today, like free breakfast programs and the call for free health care," she said.
Newton's idea is that the phrase should recall the Panthers' social programs. Children who benefited from the Panthers' free breakfasts in the '60s might reminisce over the taste of a mild, medium or spicy barbecue sauce, and young people might learn about the Panthers for the first time by reading the tags.
"It's not about violence, but the hot sauce will remind people of the rebellion in Watts and how the slogan came about," Hilliard said. "But this is an emphasis on using some of the revenue used by our hot sauce to educate."
Profits from the merchandise will support literacy programs, Hilliard said.
The nonprofit Huey P. Newton Foundation is rolling out the hot sauce and its "Spirit of '66" clothing line in advance of events commemorating the Panthers' 40th anniversary in October 2006.
"The hot sauce and the clothes are all a part of us trying to find new formats for marketing our history," said Hilliard, the foundation's executive director.
He sees two generations of potential customers.
"It's the hip-hop market, and certainly there's people who have a nostalgia for the '60s -- people who are looking for retro clothing, people who are still listening to Bob Dylan," he said. "And most recently, Carly Simon has a retro CD out."
Carly Simon fans are eating this up: The Black Panther clothing store's website, accessed today, says this:
We're sorry, but due to the growing popularity of our clothing line we are currently experiencing a high volume of orders and have had to suspend any future orders until we receive more stock.
Check back again soon! We thank you for your understanding and patience.
- The Black Panther Clothing Staff
Tags: Black Panthers