By now Donald Trump has made so many racist and offensive comments that it’s hard to remember a time when it was surprising. But when the documentary F*** Your Hair begins, in June 2015, Trump has just launched his presidential campaign—and 5 Rabbit Cervecería, a Latin-inspired local brewery, is brewing a golden ale as the house beer for Rebar in Trump Tower Chicago. When Trump makes a speech in which he calls Mexican immigrants “rapists” and says they’re bringing drugs and crime to the U.S., 5 Rabbit owners Andrés Araya and Milagros Ramirez are suddenly faced with a dilemma. They no longer want to be associated with one of Trump’s businesses, but they have a contract—not to mention 50 kegs of ale already brewed for the account.
F*** Your Hair, created by the Chicago-based One City Films, documents the decision that Ramirez and Araya have to make, the thought process that goes into it, and the potential consequences. Araya is from Costa Rica, Ramirez from Peru; the couple met while studying at Purdue and then for several years lived in Mexico City, where their daughter was born. At the time it happened, the brewery’s decision to sell the beer under the name Chinga Tu Pelo (“fuck your hair”) got a lot of press coverage—but the film shows that far from being a publicity stunt, this was a risky move for a small brewery. Not only would they lose a major account and possibly have to dump 50 kegs of beer (which they couldn’t afford to do), their lawyer advised them not to break the contract because, Trump being Trump, there was a very good possibility that they’d be sued.
“Our intention has never been to be political,” Araya says in the film. When 5 Rabbit agreed to brew for the Trump Tower in 2014, Trump’s political views weren’t as well-known—or as relevant—as they would later become, and both Araya and Ramirez say they didn’t think about it at the time. Even the provocative name was somewhat accidental. Someone at the brewery had written “chinga tu madre” (“fuck your mother,” a curse that several people in the documentary say is less offensive in Spanish than its English translation) on some of the keg collars of the beer previously known as Trump Golden Ale, but Araya says it wasn’t the beer’s official name. Then WBEZ reporter Monica Eng, who was doing a story on the beer, tweeted a photo of the keg collar, and all a of sudden Twitter was talking about it. Some tweets called the name misogynist, so the brewery owners changed the name to Chinga Tu Pelo, and it stuck. “It’s so funny and ridiculous that no one can really say we’re telling Donald Trump ‘fuck you,'” Ramirez says in the documentary. “I mean, we are . . . “
“Chinga Tu Pelo was a reaction,” Araya says. “It was important to us to take that and turn it into something positive, something more meaningful than a reaction.” The brewery followed up with La Protesta, a series of beers with cans designed by local artists, each of which benefits a different cause related to the current administration. The latest release (#4) was designed by CHema Skandal, and part of the proceeds will go to the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights. Academy Award-winning filmmaker Lilly Wachowski, who designed the can for La Protesta #3, is interviewed in the documentary about why she feels the beer is important: “This is not about flipping Trump off. We have to elevate the conversation and bring it up a notch and say, this is about protest. Beer is a way we’re able to come together and talk and drink and share stories and share community. It’s the magic elixir for all of us.” v