People have had enough. After the arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia-area Starbucks, customers have called for a national boycott of the popular coffee chain.
Black-owned coffee shops have seen new business in the week following the April 12 arrests of Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson. In a now-viral video, the two men were cuffed and escorted out of the coffee shop for not ordering anything. White patrons could be seen speaking with police and proclaiming the pair’s innocence.
Blavity reported Robinson and Nelson were waiting for a friend to conduct business prior to Philadelphia police arriving. A few days after that incident, another man in a California-area Starbucks claimed the shop discriminated against him because the manager allowed a white customer to use the restroom without paying.
As a result, many black-owned coffee shops are seeing a spike in business. Makeda Berhane, owner of Sacramento’s Tiferet Coffee House, told Fox 40 that they have received a slew of phone calls and emails in the wake of the Starbucks incidents.
“We have been getting phone calls, we have been getting emails,” said Berhane. “People have reached out to us in numerous ways just thanking us for being who we are, providing the service that we are, and we’ve had a surge, especially at our H Street location, of the community’s support, coming in to thank us.”
Online, people have responded by seeking black coffee shops. Hashtags like #ReplaceStarbucks and #BoycottStarbucks have trended for nearly a week with no sign of slowing down.
Numerous tweets include recommendations of shops to attend from the East and West coasts and even Canada.<
A thread on Black-Owned Coffee Shops/Cafés in Edmonton.
Pls add with location/area ✨
— Mpoe (@_mpoe) April 19, 2018
I have promoted this wonderful company all week as a proactive protest. People are listening and learning about a great company https://t.co/lMFqUkzVP1
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) April 19, 2018
— luis edgardo cotto (@CitizenCotto) April 16, 2018
— Robert Liu-Trujillo (@RobertTres) April 16, 2018
It’s not enough to just #BoycottStarbucks. I hope people especially minorities start to patronize and support local black coffee shops/businesses. Support who and what supports you.
— S B (@brownsugarkiss7) April 15, 2018
anyone know of any black coffee shops or bars in atlanta?
— 🌺 (@CourtneyAmerah) April 17, 2018
Protest is good but hit them where it hurts! Spend your money else where. Black money has power! Open up more black coffee shops. Bank black! Stop being mad and fight right! Pass it along! #wematter #blackpower @angela_rye @ShaunKing https://t.co/IIbFaYZP33
— andrienne benson (@likecandysc30) April 16, 2018
— soulphoodie (@soulphoodie) April 17, 2018
Despite Starbucks’ best efforts to reconcile customers, this movement isn’t stopping.
“It’s not just known because of the dollar signs behind it,” General Manager David Best of Beyu Caffe in Durham, North Carolina, told Spectrum News. “It’s known because of the character and culture it has created, as well as that it’s black-owned. It’s important that people realized that you can be black-owned and be prosperous and make an impact in the community.”