Artist SZA Inspires A Comprehensive List Of Diversely-Owned Cafés After Starbucks' Black Lives Matter Controversy

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Artist SZA Inspires A Comprehensive List Of Diversely-Owned Cafés After Starbucks' Black Lives Matter Controversy
Entertainment And News

After initially banning employees from wearing clothing supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement, causing everyday people and celebrities to boycott their favorite coffee chain, Starbucks has now come out and apologized for their actions. They are now reportedly letting their employees wear Black Lives Matter clothing to work.

But has the damage already been done by this corporate coffee giant?

RELATED: 7 Tangible Examples Of Real Change Inspired By Black Lives Matter Protests & Activists In The Wake Of George Floyd's Murder

In a statement obtained by Buzzfeed, Starbucks said that any Black Lives Matter apparel or attire was political and could “potentially incite violence.” 

While the dress code policy of Starbucks and many other restaurants or companies prohibit their employees from wearing anything political, religious, or personal when they are on shift, employees told BuzzFeed that Starbucks management never had a problem with their employees wearing anything about LGBTQ community to support their cause. 

Calvin Bensen, a barista in Atlanta, told BuzzFeed that the chain’s response to the movement was “disappointing in ways I can’t express in words. That statement prioritizes those who feel discomfort over Black lives,” and "my skin color incites violence at Starbucks. Should I not come to work? It is silencing and Starbucks is complicit. Now more than ever, Starbucks needs to stand with us."

Starbucks' initial decision to ban Black Lives Matter apparel gained the attention of SZA, who posted the issue on Twitter and called out her specific Starbucks store in South Orange New Jersey for banning Black Lives Matter clothing or images from their store. 

Instead of just canceling Starbucks, the artist took it a bit further by asking fans to drop the names of their favorite black-owned brands the replace Starbucks with — and the thread that followed did not disappoint.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Support The Black Lives Matter Movement If You Can't Protest

Thousands of fans replied to SZA's call to action, some providing comprehensive lists of black-owned cafés in cities all around the country, including New York City, Los Angeles, and more.

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SZA isn't the only artist to boycott Starbucks.

Despite having a close relationship with the company — she is always seen holding a Starbucks coffee for the past couple of years and even teamed up with Starbucks for the Cloud Macchiato in 2019 — the singer unfollowed Starbucks on Instagram.

Now she has personally taken charge of finding independently, black-owned coffee shops and posting them or her social media pages to promote them. And her fans are now posting on her page other black-owned coffee shops in their areas all over the United States.

With almost 200 million followers on Instagram, her influence is vast.

Grande has also pledged financial support to the Sorella coffee shop, owned by Heather Sanders, an African American woman, whose coffee shop was damaged in the Black Lives Matter riots. Ariana Grande is trying to make her impact on social change with her monetary and social influences. 

Grande along with other predominantly African American women are boycotting the coffee chain because of their actions against the Black Lives Matter movement.

Singer Ari Lennox retweeted SZA’s post and asked her followers to stop going to Starbucks as well. 

Lennox also asked her followers to tweet out any black-owned coffee shops that they know so people would know who they are and have a different option besides the corporate coffee chain. And this call to action has become increasingly popular in the media.

Since reversing their decision, Starbucks has pledged one million dollars to organizations that promote racial equality. They have partnered with Arizona State University to create anti-bias training and resource programs, and they are opening conversations about racism in the black community with their employees. 

They have also come out with a t-shirt that is available for purchase, approved by their “Black Partner Network.” 

RELATED: 15 Anti-Racist Activists Worth Following On Instagram

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Emily Francos is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture, and relationship topics.