Starbucks will somehow feature rapper Common during its anti-bias training

Starbucks is planning to have multiple special guests appear in a racial bias training video on Tuesday, among them celebrated socially conscious rapper Common. 

The chain will be shutting down 8,000 stores on May 29th for an anti-bias training. 

Common is described of the day‘s events as one of Starbucks‘ “guides.” He explains that he‘ll be participating — where and how isn‘t clear — in order to help people “see each other fully, completely, respectfully.”

Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP; as well as Heather McGhee, a representative from liberal thinktank Demos; and Brian Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Foundation, have all consulted on the day‘s curricula.

Desperate coffee fans may have to make their own coffee that day

Image: NurPhoto via Getty Images

“Starbucks is a company built on nurturing the human spirit, and it’s on us to harness our scale and expertise to do right by the communities we serve. May 29 isn’t a solution, it‘s a first step. By educating ourselves on understanding bias and how it affects our lives and the lives of the people we encounter and serve, we renew our commitment to making the third place welcoming and safe for everyone,” Starbucks Vice President Rossann Williams

The “third place” comment is a reference to the company‘s stated mission of providing customers with a third essential space in their daily lives, in addition to work and home. It‘s fair to say that the events leading to the day-long training exercise played against that “third place” philosophy.

Starbucks initiated the anti-bias training after in a Philadelphia store, despite not having committed a crime. 

All 8,000 Starbucks company-owned stores will be closed on May 29th. Most of the 7,000 locations that operate in grocery and department stores will remain open.