The Westside Gazette

Here’s what James Brown would say to the founder of Papa John’s Pizza if he were still alive

Soul Brother No. 1 to Papa John’s: “Papa Gotta Get A Brand-New Bag”

Here’s what James Brown would say to the founder of Papa John’s Pizza if he were still alive

By Tolson Banner

    Nationwide ( — Looks like Papa John’s is gonna need the services of the Godfather. Not Godfather’s pizza! But rather the Godfather of Soul: the ancestor and legendary James Brown – because Papa gonna need a brand-new bag to save the pizza chain’s brand. Now caught under the glaring lights of the news media, Papa John’s is scrambling to make amends for uttering America’s: I-wanna-forget-the-enslavement-horror-not-gonna-pay-reparations-moniker: “pnigga” (the p is silent as should white folks who contemplate using it).

According to Forbes magazine, John Schnatter, founder and public face of the Papa John’s pizza chain used “pnigga” (remember white folks the p is silent – mum on the word) on a conference call in May of this year. During the call Schnatter made a point to single out Colonel Sanders who referred to Blacks as “pniggas” (shhh!… hush!… white folks). Schnatter complained the Colonel never received any backlash.

Not knowing when to stop hurling bitter invectives, Schnatter went on to say during his early life in Indiana white people used to drag African Americans from trucks until they died. It was reported many individuals on the call found Schnatter’s remarks offensive.

It was at this point the bough broke and the avalanche ensued. Schnatter resigned shortly thereafter as chairman of the board. This was followed by termination of Laundry Service’s contract with the pizza chain. The University of Louisville accepted Schnatter’s resignation from the board of trustees.

And as if to add insult to injury, the mayor of Jeffersonville, Indiana – Schnatter’s hometown – ordered the removal of his name from a decades-old gym.

Schnatter had already resigned as chief executive last December after criticizing the National Football League (NFL) for poor leadership in the way the pro-football agency handled the protests by NFL players, launched by the Rosa Parks of today – Colin Kaepernick – who started taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem, so the nation could take a stand against police killings of unarmed Black people.

America’s blues people just can’t seem to catch a break to sing a different song. Blacks were just starting to make a “joyful noise” from Roseanne Barr’s firing. And now here comes Papa. But quickly, remember Barr equated Valarie Jarrett, a former Obama official, to an ape. Barr quickly blamed it on her prescribed medication Ambien.

Sanofi, the maker of Ambien, quickly acknowledged many pharmaceutical treatments have side effects; however, racism was not known to be one of them. Whoa! It seems Barr’s racist medication is one she prescribed on her own – with her ignorance as the side effect. ABC eventually cancelled her show acknowledging they did not prescribe to her racist medication. Blues people: “Been down so long, down seems like up – so I guess I’ll get up from down here.”

This brings me to a lesson white folks could learn from black mothers. I’ve always marveled at the way my mother used homespun teachings to raise her children. She would always admonish me to “keep my mouth shut” if I didn’t have something good to say about someone. Disobeying this directive, you could find yourself swallowing baby grand piano keys.

I wish my mother was here to admonish the endless number of white folks it seems who end up offering apologies only after getting caught for saying rude and offensive things about Black people. It’s as if the white apology has now become a new black insult. Better ingredients. Better pizza. Papa John’s is gonna need a brand-new bag: and don’t forget white folks, “pnigga” (the p is silent and so should you).

     Tolson Banner is a writer and columnist. Banner is a graduate from Clark Atlanta University where he graduated magna cum laude in Broadcast Journalism and later attended Howard University’s Graduate School of Business. Banner was the first African-American Public Affairs Officer with NASA. Banner can be reached at


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