Kenneth Cole joined rapper 2 Chainz, Phoebe Robinson and Rosie Perez on Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” for a little coffee talk about Starbucks’ recent race campaign.
Before the show began, Cole tweeted:
— Mr. Kenneth Cole (@mr_kennethcole) March 23, 2015
Cole, who is known for his involvement with social causes, somewhat praised Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on the initiative, saying the company’s platform is too powerful a resource not to be utilized.
“It’s an important conversation. It’s a hard as hell conversation, and I feel Howard Schultz should be supported at some level,” he said. “He’s not going to sell more coffee because of this.”
Cole added: “He’s used his platform for a lot of years to talk about important social issues, and I’ve tried to do the same. My business isn’t as big, my platform isn’t as large … if America attacks him for doing what he did and me for what I do, and for them to be discouraged … I don’t think it’s even fair to judge that it hasn’t been successful up until now because here we are talking about it.”
“Do you require your employees to talk about AIDs?” Perez asked Cole. “Because that’s your cause, [and] that’s where [Starbucks] went wrong.”
After only a week, Starbucks has ended its Race Together initiative, so baristas will no longer be writing “Race Together” on cups. The original plan was to spark a national discussion on race, but it led to a lot of criticism.
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After the show, the designer posted a photo with 2 Chainz on Instagram, writing, “One had #2chainz the other 2 #shoes.”
To see the discussion about Starbucks’ effort, watch the video here.