Starbucks closed more than 8,000 locations to teach its estimated 175,000 employees about avoiding “racial bias” and discrimination — but the coffee giant’s chosen spokesperson, rapper and activist Common, has a history of trashing interracial relationships.
In speaking of his role narrating the training video, Common told Good Morning America on Tuesday that it is important to “have a black man standing up and saying what we need,” because “Starbucks was just a microcosm of how black people have been dehumanized and I wanted to be a part of that conversation.”
“We’ve got to hold Starbucks accountable and we hold our political officials accountable, any businesses that we support and we hold ourselves accountable. So that’s why I’m a part of this conversation,” Common added.
Common is now known as much for his outspoken opposition to President Donald Trump as he is for his music and acting careers. “A knee we take for our soul’s sake… A president that trolls for hate,” Common rapped at a March for Our Lives event. “You don’t control our fate because God is great. When they go low we stay in the haste. I stand for peece, love, and women’s rights.”
But the Grammy and Oscar-winning crooner’s history of supporting positive race relations is marked by his past criticism and stance against interracial relationships that has even informed the lyrics to some of his music.
“It’s a jungle out there but I’m never fever-ing for no white hos,” Common says of being romantically involved with white women on the 1994 song “In My Own World (Check the Method).” Six years after expressing those views, Common rapped about black men dating white women on the 2000 track “Heat,” in which he opines that “most sell out — like a dread with a white girl.”
“At the time, you know, for me, I definitely was like, ‘Maaan,’ you know, just, I wasn’t into the interracial… Like, I mean, I wasn’t even into it even not just for me, but I’m just saying, I wasn’t into it, like, ‘black dude, why ain’t you dating a black woman?'” Common said. “I used to feel like that, at that point. But then, you know, I recognize that people find love where they find love, and love is love, you know, it has no boundary.”
Starbucks conducted its anti-bias training after two black men were arrested in one of the company’s cafes last month. Common, according to ABC News, served as a “voice of narration for the coffee chain’s day of training.”