About a month after Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson were unjustly arrested inside of a Philadelphia Starbucks, ESSENCE and Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse—Philly’s Black-owned and women-led coffee company—have teamed up for #CoffeeWhileBlack.
Broadcasted Tuesday via livestream at 9 a.m. EST via ESSENCE’s Facebook page, the candid roundtable conversation, which explored how to stop retail racism while supporting Black-owned businesses, was led by Red Bay Coffee’s Keba Konte. Joining him were other Black coffee shop owners and activists, including Marc Lamont Hill, Pam Africa, and Shantrelle P. Lewis.
“I’m willing to go to a Black vendor even if I have to pay a slight bit more,” Hill stated regarding being deliberate about supporting Black-owned businesses. The author, social commentator, and professor opened Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books in November. “Black bookstores were where I developed a sense of identity,” he told the Philadelphia Tribune at the time.
The panel also discussed recent protests surrounding Robinson and Nelson’s arrest.
“A boycott is a strategy to get an outcome,” Hill added. “What, we’re gonna Boycott Starbucks until white supremacy’s over? ‘Til white people stop calling the police on us? For me, sometimes it’s about not having a protest strategy, but having a reinvestment strategy. To me, the most beautiful thing that happened after Starbucks wasn’t people saying ‘Boycott Starbucks,’ it was people saying ‘Just go to Amalgam!'”
The roundtable took place as Starbucks shut down 8,000 of its locations nationwide for racial bias training. The conversation is being followed by a small coffee shop tour of three other Black-owned coffee shops in Philly: Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books, Little Jimmie’s, and Franny Lou’s porch.
Check out the coffee shop tour details below, then catch up on convo by watching the livestream.
Coffee Shops Tour:
- Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, 2578 Frankford Ave.
- Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books, 5445 Germantown Ave.
- Little Jimmie’s, 6669 Germantown Ave.
- Franny Lou’s Porch, 2400 Coral St.