Woman accuses Taiwan-style boba tea shop of 'stealing black culture'

Black woman accuses bubble tea shop owners of appropriating African-American culture

Roba (left), shop employees (right). (Instagram, @Alewiaaaa photo, Twitter, OrwellNGoode screenshot) 

Roba (left), shop employees (right). (Instagram, @Alewiaaaa photo, Twitter, OrwellNGoode screenshot) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Video surfaced on Saturday (Aug. 22) showing a woman of African descent berating the staff of a boba tea (波霸奶茶) shop in Colorado for allegedly appropriating black culture.

In the video, a woman can be heard angrily chastising staff members of a boba tea shop for "stealing black culture." She points to the name of the pearl milk tea shop — "Trap Tea, The Boba Plug" — and accuses the employees, who appear to be of Asian descent, of being "thieves."

She hastily concludes that the shop is a case of "Asian people stealing black culture once again!" She then threatens to expose the store for not being black-owned and, again, for "stealing black culture."

A male employee can then be heard calmly and patiently responding by saying "Thank you for coming." The woman bitterly retorts that she came because she had thought it was black-owned and thought she was supporting a black business.

As she starts another round of hurling accusations of cultural appropriation, a man apparently of African descent who has been patiently waiting in line tried to intervene.

However, she cuts him off before he can utter a word, hurls the racial slur c**n at him, and says "don't talk!" Incredulous, the man begins to argue with the woman as she repeats the racial epithet.

The Post Millennial on Monday (Aug. 24) identified the woman behind the camera as Alewia Tola Roba, 23, a recent college graduate from Denver who is "proud of being Ethiopian." The pearl milk tea shop is located in Aurora, Colorado, and is owned by Indonesian immigrants.

The name appears to be inspired by the slang term "trap house" which is a term referring to drug dens. According to an Instagram post uploaded by the tea shop on Aug. 22, the name was chosen out of an "appreciation of black southern culture and the grind, hustle, and drive that we put into the brand."

According to the shop's owners, the logo is inspired by the Kame House seen in the Japanese animé series Dragon Ball Z. The shop's management claimed they explained to Roba that the brand was "about the appreciation of the culture and bringing a dope spin for everyone to come enjoy something new."

As for the actual origin of bubble tea, the general consensus is that it started in Taiwan in the 1980s. However, there is some dispute as to whether it first started at the Chun Shui Tang (春水堂人文茶館) tea shop in Taichung or its rival. the Hanlin Tea Room (翰林茶館) in Tainan.