Magic Takes Starbucks Straight Into Compton

Jul 26, 2004

By George Anderson

Ask most people, particularly those who don’t live there, what they think of when you mention the Los Angeles suburb of Compton and you’re likely to hear about the type of brutality and hopelessness expressed in the lyrics of rap songs such as “Straight Outta Compton” by N.W.A.

Not everyone shares this dead-end view of Compton, however, and some such as NBA Hall of Famer, Earvin “Magic” Johnson are bringing businesses into the city that defy the stereotypes of the “hood.”

Mr. Johnson and his Johnson Development Corp. opened Compton’s first Starbucks over the weekend.

The mayor of Compton, Mayor Eric Perrodin, said the coffee shop’s opening “was like a stamp of approval for the city.”

Moderator’s Comment: What will it take for more businesses such as Starbucks to invest in communities that have previously been avoided?

It has been shown in numerous studies that outlets selling alcohol and firearms are in disproportionately high numbers in lower-income urban areas. If consumers
in a community can afford to buy guns and alcohol, they certainly can afford a cup of coffee.

Others need to follow the example of Johnson Development Corp. and Starbucks. Let’s forget about all the reasons investments in these areas don’t make sense
and find ways to offer solutions to the problems (lack of jobs, hopelessness, etc.) that have plagued communities such as Compton. It’s the right thing to do.

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