Restaurant makes money off imagery of Black pain and gun violence

Gun violence and fading paint of Summerhill BK (Photo Source: Facebook/Summerhill BK)

Gentrification has become a dirty word in the Black community because of the impact it has on longtime residents. Often, once White businesses and residents move into what was once a traditional Black neighborhood, housing prices soar and the once familiar disappears. This is happening in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York.

What has many residents upset now is a new restaurant named Summerhill. The restaurant has decided that a Black pain and tragedy theme would attract customers and features bullet holes in the wall, faded dark paint, and a 40 ounce serving of wine in a paper bag.

According to media outlet New York Daily News, the owner has been identified as an attorney named Becca Brennan, 31, who described her choice of using bullet holes as decor “cheeky.”

Brennan told Gothamist magazine the origin of her idea started as a joke. The location of the restaurant was a former corner bodega that was long vacant and was rumored to sell guns in the back room. She stated, “If you look at the history, someone seriously said, ‘Isn’t that the place where we could buy guns?’… And then we were like, OK.”

Cocktails and Bullet Holes (Photo Source: Facebook/Summerhill BK)

Brennan originally claimed that the bullet holes were already in the walls when she took over the property. However, Gothamist determined that the holes were more than likely added as cosmetic damage and not from bullets.

Many residents are not amused by Brennan’s take on Black culture and have left numerous comments on the restaurant’s Facebook page. Commentators call both the restaurant and Brennan racist and state that her business further reinforces racist stereotypes. The restaurant and the owner do have a few supporters who claim that she is helping to improve a blighted neighborhood and that anyone who disagrees with her are themselves racist because she is white and a successful business owner. The restaurant’s Facebook page shows customers that include not only white, tattooed hipsters but also Black and Latino patrons.

Mo Barnes
Mo Barnes

"Mo Betta" Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician.

  1. The business has every right to decorate in any way they want. Attempting to tie violence to one race or using “racial” ideas is not something that I think is a good practice in the long run. The unfortunate truth is that “criminal violence” may be more likely today in the black community in this city, but criminals just like “good guys” come in all sizes, shapes and colors.

  2. Not excusing the damage done to us, by us, but, when the book is finally closed, one will not be able to subtract what has happened to many Black communities from the decades of purposeful exclusion, unjust incarceration and the flat out disenfranchisement of Black men from these woeful end results.

  3. Gentrification is not a dirty word. There are black gentrifiers in every city of America. Brooklyn still has plenty of black people and so does Harlem, regardless of all that gentrification going on, these places are still very black. Cause for one thing, you ain’t getting rid of black folks like that. Cause black people adapt and survive. We are a strong and resourceful people. Black people don’t go away somewhere and die off. We don’t give up and we ain’t hopeless. We are so strong physically, mentally, and spiritually that we have withstood every adversity and act of ugly racism that white America has thrown at us. And we ain’t no broken people. We’re survivors and were strong. They can’t stop us.

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