First lady Jill Biden’s recent visit to meet with scientists, doctors, and community leaders at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center in Richmond, Virginia, was overshadowed in the Washington Post’s glowing report on where Biden stopped for a coffee break.
The article, titled “Where Jill Biden drops by for a cup of coffee can make quite a statement,” is a lengthy and glowing play-by-play of Jill Biden’s unannounced stop Wednesday at Brewer’s Cafe.
The article cited Biden’s visit to the cancer center where she took part in a panel discussion on the coronavirus and race and how to get more minorities in clinical trials and research, but it quickly returned to praising the side trip:
But just as resonant as her public remarks was her detour to Brewer’s Cafe, a Black-owned, family-run establishment located on a side street in Richmond’s Southside, a gentrifying, majority-Black neighborhood that Brewer likens to “Southeast D.C. 20 years ago.”
It was her third “casual” pit stop as first lady. The others included a trip to pick up Valentine’s Day treats at the Sweet Lobby, a popular D.C. bakery that happens to be owned by Winnette McIntosh Ambrose, who originally hails from Trinidad; and a visit to the Newsroom, a D.C. bodega and newsstand run by a Stephen and Ana Maria Bota, a husband and wife from Kenya and Guatemala, respectively.
So what did it all mean? Maybe the first lady wanted to support small businesses. Maybe she wanted to signal to Black Americans that President Biden was serious when he said his administration would not abandon them. Maybe she just likes places that are touted as having some of the best French macarons and coffee in their respective towns. Her press office would not comment.
Buried in the story is the fact that stopping for a cup of coffee seems almost insulting when you learn in the article that, like a lot of businesses in D.C., the cafe has struggled under draconian coronavirus restrictions.
Ajay Brewer, the owner of Brewer’s Cafe, was born and raised in the Southside area in Richmond. Brewer also set up an art gallery and a waffle shop. But during the pandemic, revenue from his coffee shop dropped 30 percent. He had to lay off staff, and the waffle shop is closed for good.
The Post continues to praise Jill Biden, as well as Michelle Obama, after four years of disparaging first Lady Melania Trump.
“First ladies aren’t always explicit about their agendas and values, but just as Michelle Obama knew the impact she would have by wearing independent designers like Jason Wu and Prabal Gurung, Jill Biden seems to know the message she can send just by where she goes to satisfy her caffeine craving,” the Post reported.
The newspaper also reported on what Biden bought at the coffee shop: two drip coffees, a Poor Georgie’s oatmeal cream pie, and a Mr. Baker lemon blueberry poundcake — “both black owned local bakeries.”
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