Rapper T.I. has called on his fans to boycott coffee house chain Starbucks after two black customers were marched out of a store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania last week while waiting for a friend.
The outspoken star was appalled by viral video of the men, who were handcuffed and arrested for apparently doing nothing wrong.
The footage, taken on a cell phone camera, showed the pair being escorted out of the store after a staff member called police officials and charged them with trespassing.
Starbucks bosses have since apologised for the way the two men were treated, but T.I. insists that’s not enough.
Speaking to TMZ at LAX airport in Los Angeles on Sunday (15Apr18), the rapper said, “I think we should reserve our right to stop spending money at places that don’t respect us… until they (Starbucks bosses) have made some progressive steps to let us know on how they plan on rectifying the situation.
“If there’s one thing that America has shown us, there’s only two way to get their attention: loss of life and the loss of finances.”
Adding he has nothing personally against the coffee shop chain, the rap star adds, “Just an apology ain’t gonna get it… Every time we’ve been slighted, every time we’ve been disrespected, every time we’ve been devalued… it’s always, like, a tweet or an apology… There needs to be real action taken.”
The coffee firm’s CEO, Kevin Johnson, has since appeared on Good Morning America and revealed managers will undergo training on how to spot “unconscious bias” after calling the arrest reprehensible.
This isn’t the first time T.I. has suggested a boycott against a major chain – he recently negotiated an end to a stand-off with bosses at restaurant Houston’s after the eatery was accused of discriminating against African-Americans.
The rapper and actor, real name Clifford Harris Jr., joined activists outside one of the popular diners in Atlanta, Georgia in October (17) to show his support for the boycott, triggered when Love and Hip Hop star Momma Dee alleged she went to the diner with a large party and they were refused service, but then watched as a large party of white patrons wer escorted to a table.