+

The coffee world is way too white. Keba Konte is revolutionizing the industry.

When two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks in April 2018, Americans were rightfully outraged.

As the mega-corporation worked to find ways to address the incident — ultimately deciding to hold a national anti-bias training for employees — coffee lovers of color began sharing their go-to caffeine shops and roasters around the nation. One such company was Red Bay Coffee.


Established in 2014, Red Bay Coffee has quickly become one of the most well-known roasters in Oakland, California.

People from all over the country order its beans online, purchase its products at Whole Foods, and stop by the roastery, bar, and garden.

All photos via Red Bay Coffee, used with permission.

So how does a coffee roaster reach this level of adoration? Some pretty incredible leadership is making it happen.

Red Bay Coffee founder Keba Konte has spent years building a company that's as rewarding for its customers as it is for its employees.

A former photojournalist and artist, Konte has made a name for himself as a socially conscious business owner. With more than 10 years in the coffee industry, Konte's dedication to diversity has led him to work on bridging the gap between coffee culture and communities of color.

Konte has worked in the coffee industry for more than 10 years.

"I'm into equity and how we sort of share the wealth, we do profit sharing, and how we really help support other people's [of color] businesses," Konte says. "So there's the creative piece, there's the community piece, and the social justice piece that you need to make this all happen."

In addition to hiring women and people of color, Red Bay is known for hiring formerly incarcerated individuals and foster youth.

Red Bay is known for employing women, people of color, and formerly incarcerated individuals.

"We're a second chance employer," Konte says. "It's a great industry for these individuals because there's a lot of opportunities to advance and learn."

"There are a lot of foster youth that turned 18, and they're emancipated, which really just means now you're just out there on your own," he adds. "Yeah, 18 is sort of a legal number, but most people need support past 18, especially if you've been having challenges growing up anyway."

His work philosophy has left a mark on his staff, including general manager Antoine Hicks. Hicks attributes much of the roaster's success to the mission-driven culture.

"Red Bay has this great way of kind of rallying all of us around one common goal where for the most part I don't ever feel like I'm working for one person or for Keba," Hicks says. "I feel like I'm working towards the mission. It doesn't even feel like a job so much as it's just a responsibility to do good work and an opportunity to serve our community."

Red Bay is also keenly aware of the community it serves. With a black population of 35%, it's especially important that Oakland's food and drink establishments create a welcoming atmosphere.

Red Bay Coffee aims to provide professional development opportunities for its staff.

While marketed toward white, affluent patrons, the coffee industry is largely possible because of underpaid farmers of color in Central America, Africa, and Latin America.

Coffee distributors, including Starbucks, have worked harder to ensure that ethical practices and policies are available for both their American baristas and farmers abroad. But there are still issues. Seeing these injustices and how they predominately have affected communities of color propelled Konte to be an agent of change.

"My goal with Red Bay is to involve more people who are descendants of these coffee-growing regions of the world and giving them a greater role in the industry and, in the end, the economy," he says.

Red Bay's dedication to marginalized groups and equitable business practices makes it a great start. But Consumers can do a lot to be more socially conscious too.

Wendell Pierce, who tweeted his support of Red Bay, expertly explains the consumer's role in the current racial climate:

"Ask 'What is my contribution to that dynamic of inclusion?' By going online [to Red Bay] and ordering its coffee, it supports that mission. Everyday citizens can look in their own communities and see the people around them that reflect and check those boxes off. Support those companies that reflect the inclusive values and show respect for their community."
Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less
Architectural Digest/Youtube

This house was made with love.

Celebrity home tours are usually a divisive topic. Some find them fun and inspirational. Others find them tacky or out of touch. But this home tour has seemingly brought unanimous joy to all.

“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour and British singer-songwriter Lily Allen, whose Vegas wedding in 2020 came with an Elvis impersonator, gave a tour of their delightfully quirky Brooklyn townhouse for Architectural Digest, and people were absolutely loving it.

For one thing, the house just looks cool. There’s nothing monotone or minimalist about it. No beige to be seen.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Buffy Sainte-Marie shares what led to her openly breastfeeding on 'Sesame Street' in 1977

The way she explained to Big Bird what she was doing is still an all-time great example.

"Sesame Street" taught kids about life in addition to letters and numbers.

In 1977, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie did something revolutionary: She fed her baby on Sesame Street.

The Indigenous Canadian-Ameican singer-songwriter wasn't doing anything millions of other mothers hadn't done—she was simply feeding her baby. But the fact that she was breastfeeding him was significant since breastfeeding in the United States hit an all-time low in 1971 and was just starting to make a comeback. The fact that she did it openly on a children's television program was even more notable, since "What if children see?" has been a key pearl clutch for people who criticize breastfeeding in public.

But the most remarkable thing about the "Sesame Street" segment was the lovely interchange between Big Bird and Sainte-Marie when he asked her what she was doing.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to run their YouthLine teen crisis hotline

“Each volunteer gets more than 60 hours of training, and master’s level supervisors are constantly on standby in the room.”

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to man YouthLine teen crisis hotline

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Mental health is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of people. Thanks to social media and people being more open about their struggles, the stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment appears to be diminishing. But after the social and emotional interruption of teens due the pandemic, the mental health crises among adolescents seem to have jumped to record numbers.

PBS reports that Oregon is "ranked as the worst state for youth mental illness and access to care." But they're attempting to do something about it with a program that trains teenagers to answer crisis calls from other teens. They aren't alone though, as there's a master's level supervisor at the ready to jump in if the call requires a mental health professional.

The calls coming into the Oregon YouthLine can vary drastically, anywhere from relationship problems to family struggles, all the way to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Teens manning the phones are provided with 60 hours of training and are taught to recognize when the call needs to be taken over by the adult supervisor.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Mom shares her brutal experience with 'hyperemesis gravidarum' and other moms can relate

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe case of morning sickness that can last up until the baby is born and might require medical attention.

@emilyboazman/TikTok

Hyperemesis gravidarum isn't as common as regular morning sickness, but it's much more severe.

Morning sickness is one of the most commonly known and most joked about pregnancy symptoms, second only to peculiar food cravings. While unpleasant, it can often be alleviated to a certain extent with plain foods, plenty of fluids, maybe some ginger—your typical nausea remedies. And usually, it clears up on its own by the 20-week mark. Usually.

But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes moms experience stomach sickness and vomiting, right up until the baby is born, on a much more severe level.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), isn’t as widely talked about as regular morning sickness, but those who go through it are likely to never forget it. Persistent, extreme nausea and vomiting lead to other symptoms like dehydration, fainting, low blood pressure and even jaundice, to name a few.

Emily Boazman, a mom who had HG while pregnant with her third child, showed just how big of an impact it can make in a viral TikTok.

Keep ReadingShow less

The cast of TLC's "Sister Wives."

Dating is hard for just about anyone. But it gets harder as people age because the dating pool shrinks and older people are more selective. Plus, changes in dating trends, online etiquette and fashion can complicate things as well.

“Sister Wives” star Christine Brown is back in the dating pool after ending her “spiritual union” with polygamist Kody Brown and she needs a little help to get back in the swing of things. Christine and Kody were together for more than 25 years and she shared him with three other women, Janelle, Meri and Robyn.

Janelle and Meri have recently announced they’ve separated from Kody. Christine publicly admitted that things were over with Kody in November 2021.

Keep ReadingShow less