Red Lobster and its historically Black patronage

For CNN, Nathaniel Meyersohn wrote about Red Lobster’s recent bankruptcy and why that’ll be a loss for the Black customers who still account for a higher share of customers than other major casual chain restaurants:

In a 2015 presentation to investors, Red Lobster said 16% of customers were Black, two percentage points higher than the Black share of the US population. Red Lobster did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on current customer demographics.

The chain hired Black workers and served Black guests from its beginnings in the South in the late 1960s, and Black celebrities such as Chris Rock and Nicki Minaj worked there before they became famous. (Minaj later joked about being fired from “all three or four” of the Red Lobsters where she worked over “Lobsterita” drinks and cheddar bay biscuits with Jimmy Fallon.) And Beyoncé sang about taking a romantic partner to Red Lobster in her 2016 song “Formation,” which addresses police brutality, Hurricane Katrina and Black culture in America.

This is meta but stick with me: the CNN article is about Red Lobster’s history of Black patronage. So why is the title “The forgotten RACIAL history of Red Lobster”? Just say Black. You lose nothing by having the title reflect the subject matter which is exclusively about Black people. Using the word “racial” suggests a wider clientele when that’s not what is written. I know Nathaniel Meyersohn didn’t write the title so this is on whoever calls the shots for headlines: you’re not helping.

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