JOOK is a variation of the spelling of the word “juke” – as in juke joint.
During the Jim Crow era, plantation workers and sharecroppers would gather together in Jook Joints, or Juke Joints. Juke joints were described as places where Black people gathered to socialize and have a good time – enjoying food, drinks, music and dancing. Unlike stuffy country clubs or formal nightclubs with strict rules of etiquette, jook joints were chaotic, even disorderly. Sometimes referred to as the “devil’s den,” they evoke a sense of sinful, forbidden, passion and blues.
The word “juke” can be traced back to the Gullahs, descendants of slaves living on the coastal islands and lowcountry of the southeastern US.
Lorenzo Dow Turner, an African American linguist known as “the father of Gullah studies,” linked the term to the Gullah word “juk,” meaning infamous and disorderly. The word originally came from the West African word ‘jug,’ meaning to lead a disorderly life and the Banbara word ‘jugu’ meaning a wicked, violent or naughty person.
At JOOK, we celebrate this culture with our soulful food and (slightly) sinful joint.