Colorado Bubble Tea Shop Accused of ‘Stealing Black Culture’ Over Store Name

Colorado Bubble Tea Shop Accused of ‘Stealing Black Culture’ Over Store Name
Carl Samson
August 24, 2020
An Ethiopian woman accused an Asian-owned boba tea shop of “stealing Black culture” by claiming an African American slang for its name.
The incident, which was caught on video, took place at Trap Tea in Aurora, Colorado last Friday.
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Alewia Tola Roba (@alewiaaaa), who lives in Denver, walked into the store and placed her order. She then asked whether the company is Black-owned.
The employee speaking to Roba responded that most of them are Indonesian. She began her tirade at this point.
“Do you think you’re not using Black culture to gain attention?” Roba asks. “Trap Tea? The boba plug? You’re using Black culture to gain customers.
“This establishment is not Black-owned. You’re stealing Black culture.”
Trap Tea employees attempt to explain their side as Roba accuses them of stealing Black culture. Image Screenshot via Alewia Tola Roba
Staff members can be seen attempting to explain their side, but to no apparent avail.
“You’re thieves! Asian people stealing Black culture once again,” Roba continues. “It’s okay, you’ll be exposed though. You’re not Black-owned. You’re stealing Black culture.”
Roba asks a man — presumably an employee — and finds out that the business is not Black-owned at the beginning of the video. Image Screenshot via Alewia Tola Roba
Roba says that she came to the establishment because she thought it was Black-owned. However, it is worth pointing out that she had already learned upon entering that it was not.
“Asians stealing Black culture once again,” she repeats herself.
A male Black customer tries to defend Trap Tea. Image Screenshot via Alewia Tola Roba
A Black customer can be seen coming to Trap Tea’s defense, but Roba cuts him off and calls him a “coon” as the video ends.
In a statement, Trap Tea explained that its name “came from the appreciation of Black southern culture and the grind, hustle and drive that we put into the brand, and the friends and family we have collaborated with to make that possible.”
Meanwhile, its business logo is simply “a flip on the ‘Dragon Ball Z’ kame house.”
“We just want to know we don’t hate anyone and we spoke about the situation and we told her (Roba) about our ideas and plans for the future,” Trap Tea continued. “We explained that again this was about appreciation of the culture and bringing a dope spin for everyone to come enjoy something new. While also collaborating with other minorities with pop ups, merch ideas and food to also support the community.”
Trap Tea added that they are currently collaborating with Maurice Anderson, a Black creative director, on some projects. They are also planning a mural to further show appreciation.
The incident has since gone viral on social media and reached another Black woman who claimed that she was first to use the name “Trap Tea” for her company Ivy’s Tea. She wants the Asian-owned business to apologize, change their name and “every dime you’ve made since you’ve changed your name.”
NextShark has reached out to Trap Tea, Roba and Ivy’s Tea for comments.
Feature Images via Trap Tea (left), Alewia Tola Roba (right)
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