Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.
As companies have been leaping online this week to announce their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, with emails, post, and tweet notifications attached with vows to “stand in solidarity” and links to their site for “resources” are flooding in. But watching how these corporations behave once the social pressure spotlight is shifted will be key to holding businesses, as well as individuals, accountable.
On June 1, our problematic favorite coffee chain released one of these vows of solidarity, committing to be “part of the change” going forward. This commitment however, did not include allowing BLM related attire to be part of their employees uniform. According to Buzzfeed News, while announcing their supportive public stance, Starbucks management were banning BLM related pins and clothing out of fear the support could be misconstrued and anchorage divisiveness.
News of the Starbucks mandate caused controversy and calls for a boycott. Especially in the context of Pride month, where Starbucks distributes pins and attire for employees to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
Coming up for air after a 24-hour wave of controversy, Starbucks was singing a brand new song. Across all social media platforms the media company posted yet another solidarity message, this time with the design of their brand new employee shirts.
Getty images via TMZ
“Black Lives Matter. We continue to listen to our partners and communities and their desire to stand for justice together. In response to this historic time, our store partners can show support with their own t-shirts, pins and name tags. To learn more, visit the link in our bio... The Starbucks Black Partner Network has also co-designed t-shirts with this graphic that will soon be sent to 250,000+ store partners.”
But the change of tune for the Coffee company and an original shirt design, did not wipe their slate clean. Many took to social media to express their contempt at the chain’s seemingly performative allyship.
“Why make a statement saying your employees can’t wear BLM apparel but not 24 hours later, tell them now it’s okay because you ‘stand with us.’” Bryanna Claybourne of Norcross, Ga., commented on Instagram, “Pick a side. Admit you made a mistake. Don’t romanticize this movement for publicity. This is real life.”
And while those holding Starbucks in contempt are correct in identifying their weak or optical allyship, Starbucks swift change in stance is evidence of something far more important. If one day of online pressure can scare a company into shaping up, then the BLM movement holds a power over corporations that may be publicly underestimated.
Many knock ‘Cancel Culture’ for being ineffective, but at its core it’s about holding people (and corporations) accountable for their actions. While Starbucks is not out of the woods in any way, and a shirt design is a bandaid for a slough of larger problems, their quick reaction shows that they are listening, and that this movement can sway companies in the right direction. It won’t be easy, but in keeping the spotlight on these businesses’ actions, and calling them out, loudly when necessary, the movement can manifest change on all levels.
We here at AfterBuzz TV are in full support of the Black Lives Matter movement, so please continue to tune in to our network daily for more coverage!
Danica Creahan is a student of Journalism at Loyola Marymount University and Intern at AfterBuzz TV with a passion for story-telling and rewatching 90’s TV shows.
Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence
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