Firelight Media & Starbucks

In April of this year, two young black men walked in to a Starbucks in Philadelphia for a meeting with a colleague and shortly thereafter, without precedence or provocation, were unjustly removed from the premises by police officers.

In response to the unjust, racially biased encounter, Starbucks responded by scheduling a (voluntary) national (half-day) training day against biases for all of its stores’ employees in May of 2018.  As part of that training day, Stanley Nelson and Firelight Media, in collaboration with a consortium of partners including the NAACP, was commissioned to produce a documentary short film.

And in that, I’m appreciative to have worked alongside a majority female-identifying, POC production crew as Production Manager (and lowkey, AP with research, story, et al duties) in a whirlwind 15 days to create a piece of work that was used in a day of baby steps in racial discourse.

From the video’s landing page:

Firelight has documented the African American experience through film for over 15 years. That experience includes stories of personal and collective heroism, as well as interpersonal and systemic discrimination.

We recognize that this partnership with Starbucks is a chance to elevate a national conversation and bring awareness to the trauma that many Americans, including myself and our staff, experience on a daily basis.

We made this film so that we can understand this important struggle in our country, and we can go forward together. Let’s continue the conversation.


As with all productions that have multiple chefs in the editorial kitchen, much of the initial production did wind up on the cutting room floor however we I am grateful to Starbucks for giving us lots of free reign to develop a project that we believed would be a strong starting point for an incredibly uncomfortable conversation.