Havas Chicago serves black coffee with a purpose

Coffee is a piping hot vehicle that can showcase what many black people experience, and have experienced, in corporate America.

The Havas Chicago team is at it again. Having become known for their amazing and provocative lobby installations tying into noteworthy months such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the agency has launched its fourth annual #BLACKATWORK installation.

Over the last four years, #BLACKATWORK has become an important mirror, an accurate reflection of the community, the creative expression that exists and that which is still to come. Havas’ platforms have become one of celebration, education and influence.

#BLACKATWORK platform evolves from just highlighting the issues, to providing solutions.

Titled “Black Coffee,” the installation is “an experiential coffee shop (yes, donuts included) meets cultural coffee talk” set up in the agency lobby at 36 E. Grand. A statement boasts that the experience is full of flavor with nuanced notes that makes each cup unique.

“We challenge you to appreciate the deep, rich stories of Black culture, Black people and everyday blackness in its essence. As you exit, coffee in hand, we hope you leave inspired to uplift those who exist unapologetically.”

It’s this statement and idea of coffee that rejects the notion that we must change to fit in and celebrates every flavor and every note of the full-bodied Black experience.

Black History Month is an opportunity for Havas Chicago to spark a dialogue about the current reality of the black experience. According to a statement from the agency given to Reel 360, the agency continues to recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion.

“Our diversity and inclusion strategy recognize different people, not as quotas, rather as assets who bring new, fresh, and brilliant ideas. We also recognize the necessity for diversity of thought not just in our creative industry but in all facets of business and industry.

The #BLACKATWORK platform allows us to actively practice that strategy. Every year, the activation is led by black employees and allies, who design a concept that is rooted in the current black experience at work that way, the activation remains authentic and culturally relevant.

This approach ensures that we understand, embrace and create a diverse culture in our agency, which ultimately guides us toward a culture of inclusivity.

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In true coffee shop form, there is also amazing artwork donated by 9 Black Artists from Chicago, including local artists @AmiMusic_ and @AmareSymone, a live painting by @DwightWhite and a talk from poet, author, educator and playwright Kevin Coval called “how to be white & work toward racial justice?”

All artwork featured in the space is for sale, with 100% of the proceeds going back to the artist.


In addition, all proceeds from coffee and doughnut sales will be going to Black Girls Code, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields through exposure to computer science and technology.

From 2017- 2018, the Havas installations have garnered over 44.6 million media impressions sparking conversation across the country. By creating an open forum for these experiences and microaggressions on both a broad and intersectional level, led to a partnership with the 7th Annual 3% Conference in November of 2018.

Havas invites Chicagoans to come inside, eat from the doughnut wall and enjoy a cup of coffee provided by L!VE Café, a black-owned boutique coffeehouse.

Source: Havas Chicago