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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."
Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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