Goji berries take root among China’s aging rockers
Rock and roll may already be showing its age in China.
An anniversary concert for legacy rock band Black Panther saw a group of vendors outside a Beijing venue on Saturday selling not T-shirts or beer, but goji berries.
In many countries, the small, red berries are a hip superfood mainly enjoyed by millennials in the know.
In China, however, they are more of a sign you may be getting old.
From middle-aged taxi drivers to park bench grandpas, older people across the country can be often seen touting a thermos containing the berry steeped in tea or warm water.
Among its many benefits, goji berries are believed to boost the immune system and prevent premature aging.
The vendors outside the concert had traveled from a village in Northwest China’s Gansu Province – a place known for the berries – seeking to cash in on a recent online meme involving the band’s drummer, Zhao Mingyi.
The 50-year-old had recently been photographed carrying a thermal mug containing the berry steeped in water.
Many lamented on social media how Zhao had gone from music bad boy to an aging rocker having to think about his health.
Instead, Zhou Chuncai, vice head of Jingtai village in Baiyin, saw a business opportunity.
Zhou brought a group of local vendors and farmers to Beijing in order to promote their product at the band’s 30th anniversary concert.
Baiyin public relations authorities praised the group of go-getters on Sina Weibo for their spirit of “brand building.”
Even drummer Zhao got into the spirit. “Hook me up with your goji berries, and I will repost it, in the hopes it will help our farmer brothers,” he posted on Sina Weibo.
Formed in the late 1980s, the hard rock band is most celebrated for its original lineup, which included the respected and enigmatic musician Dou Wei on vocals.