No Black people need apply

Black workers in the restaurant industry are routinely kept from the highest-paying jobs in the highest-paying restaurants.1 They’re told their appearance isn’t the right fit. They’re relegated to fast food while their White peers climb the ranks to earn upwards of $50,000 a year.2

One of the industry’s serial offenders is Darden Restaurants, the company that owns and operates Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse and the high-end Capital Grille.

Black applicants are rarely hired at the Capital Grille, the only place within the company where workers can earn a living wage. And there’s no clear pipeline for workers to get from jobs at Red Lobster and Olive Garden to that higher-paid work.3

Darden is now facing a lawsuit because of its employment practices.4Tell the company to respond to its workers’ demands and institute a promotions policy that allows Black workers to advance to liveable wage positions at the Capital Grille. It only takes a moment:

Black workers in the restaurant industry earn on average $4 less per hour than White workers, according to a report from Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United).5 The reason lies in both the types of jobs and the types of restaurants that tend to be open to workers of color. For example, fine-dining bartenders are more than three times more likely to be White than Black, and servers at expensive restaurants are almost four times more likely to be White.

This level of discrimination is happening in one of the few industries that’s growing, even during our current recession. Restaurants account for one of every 12 private sector jobs.6 But despite the growth in this sector, Blacks are routinely pushed into the industry’s poverty-wage jobs.

It’s a problem nationwide. A study of expensive restaurants in Manhattan found that White applicants were twice as likely to get a job offer than applicants of color, who were less likely to even land an interview. The study also found that prospective employers were more likely to scrutinize the work experience of applicants of color.7

The problem with Darden

Darden runs nearly 2,000 restaurants nationwide and boasts annual sales of $7.5 billion.8,9 But the few Black workers who make it into the big leagues there often don’t stay very long. According to reports from two Black servers who worked at Darden’s Capital Grille in DC — a restaurant patronized by politicians, lobbyists, and others in the Washington elite — Black front-of-the-house staff were let go en masse within a short period of time because they “didn’t fit the company image.” They were all replaced by White workers.10

Despite the pattern of racial discrimination, Darden — the world’s largest full-service restaurant company — ranks in the “Top 100 Places to Work,” an annual list published by Fortune Magazine.11 The company gets high marks for a diverse workforce (of course, there’s no mention of who works which jobs) and for generating the third-most job growth of all the companies on the 2011 list.12

The company’s CEO is Clarence Otis Jr., an African-American businessman. In an interview with USA Today, Otis boasts about his company’s “talent evaluation process” and practice of providing employees with “advanced training and development.”13 But that’s not the story that’s reveals itself if you talk to the company’s Black employees, as our partners at ROC-United have done.14

At a time when Black unemployment is nearly twice the national average and the private sector is being heralded as our greatest hope, Darden’s pattern of relegating Black workers to the lowest-wage work is unconscionable.

Please join us in calling on Darden to respond to its workers demands and institute a promotions policy that allows Black workers to advance to liveable wage positions at the Capital Grille. And when you do, please ask your family and friends to do the same. When we win with this company, we’ll have a huge impact on the rest of the restaurant industry:

Thanks and Peace,


African-American – News

African-American – News February 3, 2012

Underground Railroad Freedom Center battling tough times (Wausau Daily Herald)
Robert Cooley teaches his daughter Cree Rayford, 7, about a slave house Dec. 2. / By Jeff Swinger, The Cincinnati Enquirer, via Gannett CINCINNATI – It opened to great fanfare and promise in 2004.

Music Legends Pay Tribute to the Late Don Cornelius
Music Legends Pay Tribute to the Late Don Cornelius (WORC-FM Worcester)
Some of the world’s biggest soul and R&B stars have come forward to remember and pay tribute to Soul Train legend Don Cornelius , who died Wednesday morning of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 75.
Highline School Board member Tyrone Curry on List of 100 African Americans Making History (The Highline Times)
Highline School Board Member Tyrone Curry has been named to a list of “100 History Makers in the Making” by The list “honors Black History Month by highlighting the next generation of African-American history makers and industry leaders who have the potential to make a difference in the lives of all Americans,” according to a press … (more)

Al Sharpton Checks Gingrich Supporter Over Racism (WDBZ-AM Cincinnati)
During the Florida primary coverage last night on MSNBC , Rev. Al Sharpton and Rick Tyler , a strategist for the Gingrich-backing super-PAC , Winning Our Future, entered into a heated exchange that covered topics from food stamps to black role models to the president singing.

Annual Love Feast will honor community leaders (York Dispatch)
Tickets are on sale for the African/African-American Love Feast and Recognition Dinner, which is scheduled for 2 to 5 p.m. At the Holiday Inn Holidome near the West Manchester Mall.

SPOTLIGHT: Tuskegee Airmen spent time in Rantoul (Deseret News)
On March 22, 1941, the 99th Pursuit Squadron – the first unit of the Tuskegee Airmen – was activated not in Tuskegee, Ala., but at an Army Air Corps training facility in Illinois known as Chanute Field.




* Ellen Biben was chosen to run New Yorks new ethics commission only after a search committee member appointed by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos switched his vote in her favor, the Wall Street Journal reports:

* David Grandeau, the states former top lobbying regulator who has regularly criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomos administration, was hired as an ethics consultant to the Port Authority, the Journal says:

* A proposal to limit the size of chain stores and banks on the Upper West Side aims to preserve locally-owned businesses, but critics say chains are booming because customers want them, the New York Times reports:

* The company that built parking garages at the new Yankee Stadium is facing default on $237 million in tax-exempt bonds arranged by the Bloomberg administration, writes the Daily News Juan Gonzalez:

* The Times Jim Dwyer says the New York City budget relies heavily on fines through traps like a bus lane in lower Manhattan, where one senior official in state government was caught but not ticketed:

* While Mayor Michael Bloomberg will take his private jet to the Super Bowl and a TV appearance with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels on Sunday, Cuomo will hold a party for 150 people at Bills Bar and Burger in Rockefeller Center, the Post says:


RB/Gospel Singer David Peaston Dead At 54


David Peaston, whose golden voice serenaded and wowed the “Showtime at the Apollo” audiences in the late ’80s, passed away Wednesday at age 54.  The actual cause of death has not been officially announced.

RELATED: Don Cornelius Dies At 75

Peaston, whose stratospheric tenor voice was smooth and silky, managed to bring the Apollo house down with a song, “God Bless the Child,” that would eventually become his trademark.

After managing to continuously tame the wild Harlem landmark’s audiences with his hypnotic crooning for several weeks, Peaston, a former St. Louis teacher, literally became an overnight sensation with his 1989 premier album, “Introducing … David Peaston.”  The album spawned the chart-toppers “Can I?” and “Two Wrongs (Don’t Make It Right).”

The son of Clara Ward SingersMartha Bass, Peaston went on to win the coveted “Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist” in 1990.  The following year, the five-octave range singer came out with another album, and it was then that he began the whirlwind tour across the globe with Gladys Knight and Gerald Alston.  In 1993, he recorded a gospel album, “Promises: A Family Portrait Of Faith,” with his mother and sister R&B singer Fontella Bass. Soon after, due to a total lack of promotion, Peaston’s star began to fade.

Over recent years, Peaston released another album “Song Book: Songs of Soul & Inspiration,” which fell under the radar.  He soon resorted to traveling with urban theatrical shows across the United States.  He created his own production company, Pea-Stain, and remained active, participating in various gospel events throughout his hometown of St. Louis.

Peaston developed diabetes and became a double-amputee. As to whether his death was a result of his chronic condition, there has been no confirmation.  Peaston’s ”road dawg,” friend, and singer Cheryl Pepsii Riley dedicated the following on her Facebook page:

I’m so saddened by the news, my friend David Peaston has passed. This hurts so much. He had an Incredible Voice and the Best sense of Humor!  David Peaston and I were the only secular artists doin Gospel plays in the beginning. I first met him on the show “Momma Don’t”. And then we did Several other shows together, So we became Road Dawgs! 🙂 We could not see each other for years and get together… and it be like we just saw each other the day before. Just picked up from where we left off. He was such a Beautiful person. So much Fun, and a Really Good Man! Such a Talent, but even more than that, He was a Friend! My Dear, Crazy, Wonderful, David …. Or Unka Peasters as I called him…and he called me Tabby (from a show we did and I played his daughter), You Will Be Missed and I Shall NEVER EVER Forget You! RIP DAVID PEASTON, I Love You!


Denzel Talks About Being Black In Hollywood

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R&B/Gospel Singer David Peaston Dead At 54
Ruth Manuel-Logan
Thu, 02 Feb 2012 20:35:22 GMT