🚨APPROPRIATION ALERT🚨: Bhakti "Chai"

If you're a brown person, you've probably seen this article circulating and have been thinking WTF. 

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Get HEATED!! Read original article HERE

When I first saw the featured picture and headline for this Article I thought it was an onion article. Everything about this headline infuriates me. I want to take a moment to just deconstruct WHY. I realize that this post is going to piss some people off, but I just want you to get an understanding of what goes through my head when I read this shit. 

Here is the headline of the article: 

On a Whim, This Hippie Founder Packed Her Bags for India. Now, She's Made $35 Million Selling Chai Tea.

Here is why this headline pisses me off…

On a Whim - How nice of you to be able to escape to India out of nowhere one day. Must be nice to be able to pay for that last minute plane ticket to the other side of the world!

This Hippie - So what exactly make this woman a ‘Hippie’? Cause she decided to travel to India? How very Eat, Pray, Love of you.

Founder Packed Her Bags for India. - So going to a country, taking the staple drink that is an integral part of the Indian people’s BLOODSTREAMS, and bringing it to America means you FOUND something? Seems like stealing to me. 

Now, She's Made $35 Million Selling Chai Tea - Oh even better. She is commercializing and profiting on a drink that is sold for less than $1 in India, that is not even her own recipe. How much of that profit is she giving back? 

And then…I opened the article and prepared myself for a cringe-y read. At this moment, please feel free to read the article for yourself. If you’re lazy, don’t worry! I’ve decided to break down some quotes from the article and give them some love 😀

"I realized the recipe I had crafted for myself, a fiery fresh ginger chai, could be produced for cafés and retailers to bring people not only 'India in a cup,' but build a mission-driven company on the tenants of bhakti," she says, using a Sanskrit term that means devotion. An entrepreneurial journey had begun.”

WHAT? You didn’t create this by yourself. Ginger is like a staple ingredient of chai. Stop trying to claim this as your own. 

“including her "special sauce"-- 300,000 pounds of organic ginger delivered annually from Peru.”

I thought you were selling ‘Chai’, what is this special sauce? ‘Chai’ is not for you to define. Chai is Chai, and it doesn’t want anything to do with your special sauce from Peru.

“India continues to be Eddy's muse and she returns frequently for fresh ideas.”

!?!?! Yes. Go back to India. Steal more ideas! Maybe you can take the idea of a bindi and henna and commercialize that too and sell it at Coachella? Or maybe bring back Holi Powder and sell it at the color run? Or maybe exploit Indian fabric makers, and bring back their beautiful designs so you can design cute little miniskirts that sell for 100x the price? Wait that already happens.

“I'm a white girl born of hippie parents in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and then raised in Michigan, right? I shouldn't really have this pulse for India, but I do. I love the chaos and vibrancy. Every time I come I'm introduced to something new. It's just real."

I’m sorry - but why shouldn’t you have a pulse to travel to India?  It is because India is a poor country full of dirty people? Congrats Brook on getting over your deepest fears and venturing to India. You deserve an award!

What's the Boulder bubble? It's eating healthy, lots of yoga, meditation, all in an environment where everyone you know has run a marathon or is training for one. And don't forget the legal pot. Bhakti Chai fits right in, with over $35 million in total revenue since inception, and is part of a swelling industry valued at $3.7 trillion, according to the Global Wellness Institute.

This might have been one of the quotes that got me the MOST heated. STOP EQUATING POT WITH INDIAN CULTURE. Chai, Hinduism, Yoga don’t want anything to do with your hippie fantasies. Yoga is a way of life in India, it is NOTHING like how it is taught in the west. Chai is had everyday by people from every walk of life. Not only pot smokers. Also since I started this rant, stop getting tattoos of Ganesha and wearing socks with ‘OM’ on them. It’s actually extremely disrespectful, and very very awkward to see.

“Turning Indian spices into conscious dollars, Eddy has become a principal translator in this industry.”

Have some respect for Indian spices and tradition. Stop seeing it as big $$$ for white people to appropriate. Also, why is she the principal translator? Because she’s white so people will actually take her opinion seriously and listen to her? 


When I was a kid I was made fun of how my house smelt when my mom had made dahl or vegetable curry, I was made fun of for the Mehndi on my hands, and I was definitely made fun of for the different pictures of the Hindu gods I had all over my house. It’s really cool that people all over the world are realizing the beauty and benefits of Indian culture, but what really bothers me is it was never cool until white person tries it..oh wait I mean ‘founds’ it. 


I already know some of the comments I’m going to get about this…

(P = Curious person)

P: If chai is so good, why should we be upset that she commercialized it? She’s a good businesswoman, maybe she just did it better than everyone else.

A: My problem is that this woman is going to India and acting like she discovered chai. She didn’t discover chai. Chai has been around for ever. She just appropriated really well. 

P: All press is good press! Commercializing Chai makes people more interested in Indian culture, therefore more people will respect Indian people!

A: Brown people are still victims of hate crimes everyday. Brown people will still get made fun of for smelling like curry, our traditions, and our accents. Until we get more Brown people representing our own culture, we will keep getting aspects of our culture taken from us. 

P: You’re just an angry brown woman!!

A: True.