A photo of a poster advertising a new restaurant in Harlem, New York that circulated social media and sparked concern and outrage turned out to be fake.
The poster, advertising a fusion eatery called Chalmette Fusion Bistro, featured four white people, seated at a table and eating what appears to be cornbread and collard greens, giggling, with the words “New Soul of Harlem” emblazoned above them.
Questions quickly swirled after the photo was tweeted on Wednesday (February 24). The since-deleted tweet said the poster was located on the corner of 139th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, across from the historic Striver’s Row neighborhood.
Harlem has historically been a hub of Blackness, being the home of the Black artistic renaissance of the early 1900s. Though white visitors or white-owned businesses aren’t unusual for Harlem, the neighborhood, which has in the past been majority Black, has seen gentrification push out longtime residents.
White inhabitants of Harlem are not new either, however erasure such as a “New Soul of Harlem” poster was of grave concern to residents, natives and lovers of Harlem.
Ponty Bistro announced they’d be closed on Wednesday (February 24) through Friday (February 26) “due to a TV/film shoot.”
The restaurant posted a video on Thursday (February 25) in response to the poster and concern that they'd closed permanently, revealing that the restaurant is working with the Tracey Oliver Show, whom they've been working with since last year.
"Ponty Bistro is not going no where," Chef Ejhadji Cisse says in the video.
The clarification around the poster provided some sense of relief. Gentrification has impacted Black communities nationwide and for Harlem, pushed residents, small businesses, and pieces of our history out.
Check out this list to support some Black-owned restaurants in Harlem.
Photo: Getty Images