A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 19, 2016
“Hot sauce in my bag”

Many people with Southern roots say that they carry “hot sauce in my bag”—a reflection that much of America serves bland food. The term “hot sauce in my bag” also possibly tells of the Jim Crow period, when blacks had limited accommodations around the United States. “I got some hot sauce in my bag too” appeared in the novel And This Too Shall Pass (1996) by E. Lynn Harris.

“Hot sauce in my bag” became a popular rap lyric when basketball player Delonte West said it in a YouTube rap video in August 2009. American singer and songwriter Beyoncé said “I got a hot sauce in my bag, swag” in her February 2016 song and video, “Formation.”

American politician Hillary Clinton, in a chat with The Breakfast Club radio show before the New York 2016 Democratic presidential primary, said that she always carried hot sauce with her. Some in the media wrote that Clinton was obviously pandering for the black vote.


April 1996, Essence, “Room service” by E. Lynn Harris, pg. 86:
After Caliph closed the door, Tamela looked at him with a curious smile. “Whatcha looking at? You want some of what I got? Like some of this Harold’s fried chicken? Straight from the South Side. And guess what? I got some hot sauce in my bag too,” Caliph boasted.

Twitter
Sarah Carter
‏@SarahLCarter
@robinjsmith Swag update.  I have LotusUserGroup.org Hot sauce in my bag for you
2:33 PM - 21 Jan 2009

YouTube
KFC Freestyle Delonte West
rocky145
Uploaded on Aug 3, 2009
follow me on instagram @rocky145
This is what happens when u gotta wait 18 minutes for your chicken @ the KFC...West and his friend enjoy…

Lyrics: Thanks to skins21ed

at the kfc better holla....”
“u know my cuzn work here...got the hookup every year...this shit aint got the grilled chicken...”
“i get the combo packaged wit the original recipe...uh..and the parfait...strawberry sometimes chocolate...uh”
“and the apple pies, macaroni cheeese...raspberry what...iced teee...”
“got the big jug...check my mug...check my swag....put hot sauce in my bag

Twitter
Courtside
‏@courtside
@whatthenoelle “Hot sauce in my bag (extra!), hot sauce in my bag (extra!).” Hahahaha!
7:33 PM - 3 Aug 2009

Twitter
Larry
‏@lrylegend
Delonte West’s “Hot Sauce in My Bag” - bonus points for freestyle while waiting in the KFC, I mean KGC drive-thru http://tinyurl.com/lwt3wo
9:38 AM - 4 Aug 2009

13 September 2010, WWD, “Fashion Scoops,” pg. 16, col. 1:
As much as she (Naomi Campbell—ed.) likes to cook ("everything spicy—I’ve been carrying around a bottle of hot sacue in my bag for I don’t know how many years"), ...

16 December 2013, Us Weekly, “Wendy Williams: 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me” by Eric Andersson, pg. 16:
18.1 carry Frank’s hot sauce in my bag. Never leave home without it!

Genius
Formation (2016)
Beyoncé
Produced By Mike WiLL Made It
Album: Formation
(...)
Earned all this money but they never take the country out me
I got a hot sauce in my bag, swag

Bostinno
‘Hot Sauce in My Bag’ Started With an Ex-Boston Celtic in 2009
Kyle Gross - Boston GM
2/9/16 @5:17pm in Lifestyle
A day before the Super Bowl, Beyoncé dropped a new music video that has everyone pledging intense adoration for the queen of hip-hop and R&B. At this point, I assume you too have watched the music video 600 times–titled, Formation (her first release in over a year). Captivating lyrics, seductive dress and unreal production quality in a New Orleans setting – this video is impressive.

One of the lines in it, “got hot sauce in my bag, swag” instantly spawned reaction from tweets to t-shirts, along with questions about the phrase’s meaning. The meaning seems pretty straightforward.
(...)
In 2009, NBA guard Delonte West, then between seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, decided to make a rap video with his buddy in a KFC parking lot. West delivers a jumbled freestyle. It’s not safe for work, but you can watch it on YouTube, here. Fast forward to 1:37, where West, apparently pleased with himself, repeats, “hot sauce in my bag,” several times.

Eater
Hot Sauce in Her Bag
Southern Black identity, Beyoncé, Jim Crow, and the pleasure of well-seasoned food

by Mikki Kendall, February 10, 2016
(...)
One of the essential things my grandparents taught me was to be polite, and politeness in Black Southern culture means that you eat whatever is served to you. You do not reject food. You absolutely do not waste food. And if you have to salt your food? Do so only after you have tasted it. Hot sauce, as essential a condiment to the Black Southern table as salt, is treated in much the same way. If your host has it, great. But it’s good practice to have some in your bag just in case. The greens at the church potluck taste like water because someone forgot to make sure the right person made them? Hot sauce could make them palatable. You’re visiting a white friend from the Midwest who doesn’t season chicken the right way? Hot sauce helps.
(...)
Before, during and after the Great Migration, it wasn’t uncommon for Black families to be splintered by distance, by danger, by the sad reality that it often wasn’t safe to travel. Families moving from the South throughout America might not be able to take everything with them, but they could take their culinary traditions. They could have a taste of home on their plates even if they could never go back again.

Washington (DC) Post
Hillary Clinton joins the Breakfast Club to talk Beyonce, hot sauce in her bag … swag
By Abby Phillip April 18, 2016
NEW YORK — As if the New York primary could not get more New York, Hillary Clinton joined the Breakfast Club, a mainstay of the city’s hip-hop radio scene, and the conversation was about as freewheeling as you can imagine.
(...)
Before they called it a day, Angela Yee had one more question for Clinton.

Angela: “What’s something that you always carry with you?”

Clinton: “Hot sauce ...”

DJ Envy: “Really?”

For those unfamiliar, Clinton’s answer might have been an innocent — and perfectly timed — admission. Or a well-planned reference to what has become a viral line from Beyonce’s newest song “Formation”: “I got hot sauce in my bag, swag.”

BBC News
Hillary’s hot sauce claim inflames ‘pandering’ row
21 April 2016 Last updated at 00:24 BST
When Hillary Clinton told a radio show that she always carries a bottle of hot sauce she was accused of “pandering” to the perceived tastes of black voters.

But was the Democrat front-runner really trying to curry favour by playing up to a stereotype of the African American electorate? Or is she actually a long-time fan of spicy food?

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Tuesday, April 19, 2016 • Permalink