Racial bias charges have dominated the spotlight leading up to this week’s 2022 Super Bowl game, as the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) protested prejudice in awarding contracts by one of the game’s biggest advertisers and a Black coach sued the National Football League (NFL) for hiring discrimination.
The NBFA has charged PepsiCo, the giant snack food and drink company, with discrimination for denying Black farmers contracts to provide corn, potatoes and other agricultural crops used in its production process.
NBFA President John W. Boyd accused PepsiCo of reneging on its commitment to increase its contracts with Black farmers after a year of talks with his organization. (https://afrotech.com/national-black-farmers-association-pepsico-bullying-discrimination)
“PepsiCo’s all talk and no contract for NBFA members is the exact same thing the NY Giants and the NFL did to former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores when they interviewed him for a position they had no intention of hiring him for,” Boyd said. He called for a boycott of PepsiCo and the NFL Super Bowl LVI’s halftime performance featuring Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre and Eminem.
Flores’s lawsuit underscored the NFL’s overwhelmingly white coaching ranks in contrast to its 70 percent, mostly Black, labor force—- the men on the field.
For PepsiCo, the “ultimate objective is to become a company that is focused on equity and genuinely inclusive,” the company declared in its 2020 report on equity and inclusion.
For the 31st Annual NBFA Conference, Boyd released “The Land” featuring KJ Skippa Mak Marley, an international hip-hop artist infusing reggae and dancehall, while invoking the unmistakable musical spirit of his legendary grandfather Bob Marley, to highlight historical and ongoing broken promises, broken treaties, racial discrimination and land loss suffered by Native Americans and Black Farmers in the US.
As one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, CEO Ramon Laguarta said, PepsiCo “must understand its local markets and put them at the center of everything we do . . . [to] ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion are embedded in our DNA and tightly woven into our strategy.” The NBFA’s Boyd scoffed at the PepsiCo declarations.
“This is one time I’m not going to sit back and not say anything,” Boyd said in a January 29 YouTube interview. “I’m not letting these companies off the hook.” PepsiCo, hailed as one of the most loyal advertisers of Super Bowl Sunday, began airing some of its game day commercials early. Boyd called for a boycott of PepsiCo products, the NFL and of the Super Bowl itself including the halftime show.
“We are asking everyone to stop buying all PepsiCo products and refuse to attend NFL games or watch the Super Bowl until the NFL and PepsiCo stop discriminating against Black people and Black Farmers. We are now open to new relationships with companies who value the work of NBFA.”