This morning, my mother and I were talking on the phone. I could hear the smile creep into her voice, when she said, "I have a funny story to tell you."
She read that Magic Johnson proclaimed for all black people that, "We don't eat scones." What? Last time I checked, I'm still black and I really love scones. I just blogged about my love of scones and why I started baking them.
Here's some background to the story from an article that I found where he gives his perspective. It's quite interesting and shows how much he had to overcome to grow his businesses, Magic Johnson Enterprises and the Magic Johnson Foundation. At first, he wasn't taken seriously and was labeled a "dumb jock" by some.
Now the offending scone statement was made when he was trying to partner with Starbucks and met with CEO Howard Schultz. Here's an edited article excerpt below.
"But a boardroom pitch wasn't enough to close the deal. Johnson invited Schultz to spend a Friday night at one of the 6-foot-9 former point guard's movie theaters. The visit coincided with the opening night of the Whitney Houston vehicle Waiting to Exhale, and the theater's lobby and screening rooms were packed. "Our biggest screen had 500 women inside. All of a sudden every woman thought she knew Whitney Houston personally and started talking to the screen," Johnson recalled. "So Howard grabs me about 20 minutes in and says, 'Earvin, I never had a movie-going experience quite like this.' Guess what happened? That got me the deal."
Frappuccinos, lattes and Pike Place Roast are on the menu at a Magic Johnson-owned Starbucks, but there are subtle differences between the former basketball star's coffee shops and the chain's other locations. Instead of jazz standards and easy listening, R&B music plays on the stereo. There is extra space for meetings of community and church groups, and bulletin boards where local residents can post neighborhood news and events. "People said there's no way Latinos and African-Americans will pay $3 for a cup of coffee. Yes, we will pay $3, but we don't eat scones," Johnson stated. "I had to take scones out of my Starbucks and put in pound cake, Sock It to Me cake and sweet potato pie -- things that resonate with the urban consumer. You have to know your customer and you have to speak to that customer every day."
I have to admit that the pound cake, Sock It to Me cake and sweet potato pie are genius. Who wouldn't want these in their Starbucks?
But Mr. Johnson. I have to tell you. Some of us do like scones. And if you tried mine, you just might change your mind. : )
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