Imbibe 75 People to Watch: Keba Konte of Red Bay Coffee - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Imbibe 75 People to Watch: Keba Konte of Red Bay Coffee

When he founded Red Bay Coffee in Oakland in 2014, artist and entrepreneur Keba Konte knew that a responsible coffee company was about more than building ethical supply chains; it was about building community. It’s an approach that’s been fostered within the operation from the beginning, whether serving as a hub for art exhibitions, concerts, and panel discussions, or creating true inclusivity by actively hiring from often marginalized communities like women, people of color, people with disabilities, and the formerly incarcerated.

“This industry still has a long way to go in regard to being more inclusive,” says Konte. “I would like to see the 15 percent doctrine more broadly adopted. African Americans make up 15 percent of the U.S. population; we demand that every industry reflect this percentage in their hiring, executive leadership, and the vendors they support.”

While 2020 delayed Red Bay’s plans to open their first location in Los Angeles (now slated for 2021), Konte used the time to create a podcast, Coffee Dojo, having in-depth conversations with creatives and thought leaders, bringing Red Bay’s mission to the airwaves. “Our community connections run deep,” says Konte, “and a few months with no café seating is not going to shake that.”

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