|By JULIETTE ROSSANT |
Are there parallels between the rise of Marcus Samuelsson and Barack Obama? They are both handsome, charismatic, and successful in their respective fields. Both have their roots in East Africa. Neither seems to carry the weight of African-American slave experience. Marcus was born in Ethiopia but raised in Sweden. Barack's mother is white and his father is Kenyan. To whom do such African-descended Americans appeal?
The New York Times reports that Marcus has just signed a deal with Starbucks to create two new coffee blends and two pastries.
Starbucks is also selling its first cookbook, Mr. Samuelsson’s “Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa...” It includes recipes by five Starbucks employees, and Starbucks will give $1 to the U.S. Fund for Unicef for each copy sold through Oct. 1, with a minimum donation of $50,000.Marcus' homeland certainly does produce excellent coffee, and he most certainly can come up with some better coffee (less burnt) and some decent pastries.
Will the very glamorous Marcus increase the cache of Starbucks among African-American coffee drinkers? If he helps better the coffee and pastries, why not?
As for Barack, we've got less than 18 months to find out how much appeal he has...
New York Times, Village Voice, New York Magazine, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Dallas-Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, News-Tribune, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
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