Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks CEO who recently announced he’s “seriously considering” a third-party run for president in 2020, is facing criticism from The Daily Beast for his “painfully white” music selection at the coffee chain under his leadership.
The Beast’s Director of Video Timothy Burke published an article Tuesday claiming that “race could become a complicating factor” for Mr. Schultz’s potential run, in part because Starbucks “had, what could only be described as, a flat and white selection of tunes to offer” during the time music albums were sold in stores from 1994 to 2015.
“Over 21 years, Starbucks released and sold 262 records using Discogs.com,” Mr. Burke wrote. “A good percentage of these were compilations like ‘Music for Little Hipsters,’ or ‘British Folk.’ The single-artist albums, though, are overwhelmingly from white musicians, according to a review by The Daily Beast. The only living black artists we could find among the 262 Starbucks releases were Herbie Hancock, Mary J. Blige, Sly & the Family Stone, Al Green, Beninese singer Angelique Kidjo, and jazz trio Soulive. Blige is the youngest among those; she’s 48 years old.”
The writer complained that Starbucks primarily promoted artists that were already well known or dead, and that “hip-hop music was, essentially, completely absent from the stores.”
“In fact, there is only one disc offered in the online catalog under the ‘hip-hop’ label,” Mr. Burke wrote. “It’s an album titled ‘All You Need Is Love’ featuring songs from U2, The Dave Matthews Band and John Legend.”
Mr. Schultz, a longtime Democrat who now serves as chairman emeritus for Starbucks, was CEO of the coffee chain from 1986 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2017.
Democrats have lambasted the former CEO after he announced over the weekend that he was “seriously considering” running for president as a “centrist independent,” stoking fears that he could attract liberal voters and help President Trump win re-election in 2020.
The Starbucks music store under Schultz’s tenure was unbelievably, painfully white https://t.co/MDN2dKV6sP Via @bubbaprog pic.twitter.com/Ux46EiYnkG
— Sam Stein (@samstein) January 29, 2019
When Schultz took over the Sonics, he had the Key Arena music changed from hip-hop to “mellow jazz.” https://t.co/NnqhSHRahg
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 29, 2019
© Copyright (c) 2019 News World Communications, Inc.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.