I was in Germany earlier this week.
It was for a family reunion on my mother’s side, and I had a great time.
One of my sisters picked up this chocolate bar for me, thinking about Black Fives, she said, and knowing that I would just, well, eat it up.
Her instincts were right.
“Schwarze Herren Schokolade” translates to “Black Man’s Chocolate” in English.
This could come in handy, I thought, even if only for a devilish blog post.
Oh, can’t you just see the delicious, tempting possibilities? It’s a Freudian dream.
Would you like to try some of this Black Man’s Chocolate? It’s really tasty, try it, you’ll love it.
The first thing I thought of was the Chocolate Coeds, that wonderful all-black women’s basketball team of the 1930s.
Now, Germans are nice people. Sometimes old fashioned and often rigid. Kind, thoughtful, fun loving. But definitely not backwards.
So, I knew there was an explanation for this. I decided to ask my Aunt Gertrud.
“Why is this called Schwartze Herren Schokolade,” I asked her.
Is it Black Man’s Chocolate, as opposed to Women’s? Or is it Black Man’s Chocolate, as opposed to White?
Gertrud looked me in the eyes and said, “Jah, that’s a special dark chocolate with extra strong herbs, jah, Gewürtze, that are specially for men.”
She looked at me as if I was supposed to know this. It’s selbstvertändlich, isn’t it? Self-explanatory.
Be open; get your mind out of the gutter, I told myself.
So, O.K., I think I get it.
It turns out, Black Man’s Chocolate, made in Berlin by Stollwerk (which includes the Sarotti division) is some of the finest bittersweet chocolate known to man.
Meanwhile, in fact, by definition, there could be no such thing as Black Women’s Chocolate or even White Man’s Chocolate. It would have to be called “Zarte Frauen Schokolade” or, translated, Tender Women’s Chocolate. It wouldn’t be dark and bitter and spicy and hard, like a man. No, it would be milky, delicate, soft, and sweet, like a woman.
There’s no such thing as dark, bitter, spicy white chocolate, either, apparently.
If you look at it that way.
But since my Aunt Gertrud showed no sign of embarrassment or perverse American racial phobia, whatsoever, I decided to accept what she said. Her perspective offers more diabolical possibilities.
My cousin, Hans-Lothar, on the other hand, saw this as an opportunity to take me where my mind was already going. He’s younger, with a sense of humor that’s both loving and wicked (like most Germans).
“And, it’s only for black men,” he shouted from another room.
Of course, now that I have the bar, I’m never gonna eat it myself. Can you imagine what that would sound like?
Have you tried some Black Man’s Chocolate? I have, and it’s pretty good.
Another approach might be to offer a taste to an attractive female. Always with a smile on your face, of course.
The great thing about Black Man’s Chocolate is that you don’t have to be black, or African, or African American, or of African descent … to eat it, or to offer it.
Say if you’re a white guy. You go to Germany. You buy some Black Man’s Chocolate. You bring it back to America. (Try to keep a straight face as you tell the U.S. Customs Agent that you have some Black Man’s Chocolate in your pants.)
Hey, didn’t I warn you this could get dark, and bitter, and spicy?
Anyway, now that you’re back in, say, Ohio or West Virginia, go up to some attractive woman, be she Caucasian or African American or any other ethnicity or “color”, and say, “Have you ever tried some Black Man’s Chocolate?” Be sure to have the bar ready to whip out. And a smile.
Now, be honest, don’t you secretly wanna know the answer anyway?
Ladies, you already know you don’t have to answer if some guy asks you this question.
Guys, any and all possible responses after your initial question will be gravy.
Unless the response is, “Why, you got some??”
In which case you can either say, “You betcha,” and offer her your bar (and possibly run), or “Yup, but can you handle it?” Always with a smile.
But what if she says, “Yes!”
Oh, God. Now what?
Easy. You just say, “Bet it wasn’t as good as mine.” (Be sure to produce that bar … and a smile.)
Either way, you broke through some invisible barriers that up ’til now you thought held you back.
Maybe you even improved race relations in America.
Brothers, if I have to tell you what to do with this bar then you and I need to have a little talk in private. Always with a smile, though.
Now, there’s a lesson in this, isn’t there? It’s to be open to perspectives, isn’t it? Everything isn’t always only in black and white, is it?
Black Fives, the company and the brand, exists because people love culture, so even though it’s about African Americans, it’s really for everyone. The same way that any other cultural history is for everyone.
And the same way that, well, Black Man’s Chocolate is really for everyone.
So, have some fun with this. Let go. Live a little.
Have some Black Man’s Chocolate.
If you’re in Germany, ask for it by saying, “Eine Schwartze Herren Schokolade, bitte!”
With a smile!