Starbucks employees will listen to messages from the company’s executives and a famous hip hop artist when the coffee mega-chain shuts down all of its 8,000 U.S. stores Tuesday afternoon for racial bias training.
The new program comes just more than a month after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks while they waited for a business associate. The incident prompted widespread backlash and an apology from the city’s police commissioner for his handling of the situation.
In a video released Wednesday previewing the training, Starbucks said staff will examine how bias emerges in their everyday lives and what they can do to “create a more welcoming Starbucks.”
It appears the training will be primarily guided by video, which will include a recorded message from rapper Common and clips from Stanley Nelson’s documentary “You’re Welcome.”
Executives at Starbucks will also outline “recommitments” to the company’s policies and guidelines.
Starbucks vowed to implement the training after Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, 23-year-old businessmen, were escorted out of a cafe in handcuffs on April 10.
The manager had phoned the police and video of the arrest went viral, sparking widespread outcry and criticisms for the racial profiling.
The City of Philadelphia agreed to pay Nelson and Robinson $1 each and set up a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs while Starbucks reached an undisclosed financial settlement with the pair.
Earlier this month, Nelson and Robinson appeared on “Good Morning America” to discuss their goals for the coffee giant, noting that they would also take part in the company’s training day.