al copeland

theguardian.com
Fran works six days a week in fast food, and yet she's homeless: 'It's economic slavery'
Fran Marion and Bridget Hughes are leading voices in Stand Up Kansas City, part of the Fight for $15 movement that aims raise the minimum wage across the US
By Tom Silverstone

Once a customer has barked their order into the microphone at the Popeyes drive-thru on Prospect Avenue, Kansas City, the clock starts. Staff have a company-mandated 180 seconds to take the order, cook the order, bag the order and deliver it to the drive-thru window.

The restaurant is on “short shift” at the moment, which means it has about half the usual staff, so Fran Marion often has to do all those jobs herself. On the day we met, she estimates she processed 187 orders – roughly one every two minutes. Those orders grossed about $950 for the company. Marion went home with $76.

Despite working six days a week, Marion, 37, a single mother of two, can’t make ends meet on the $9.50 an hour she gets at Popeyes (no apostrophe – founder Al Copeland joked he was too poor to afford one.) A fast food worker for 22 years, Marion has almost always had a second job. Until recently, she had been working 9am-4pm at Popeyes, without a break, then crossing town to a janitorial job at Bartle Hall, the convention center, where she would work from 5pm- to 1.30am for $11 an hour. She didn’t take breaks there either, although they were allowed.

“I was so tired,” she says. “If I took a break I would go to sleep, so I would work straight through,” she says.

Even with those two jobs, Marion was unable to save – and when disaster struck she found it impossible to cope financially. Last month, the city condemned the house she rented – the landlord had refused to fix faulty wiring and the leaking roof – and she was made homeless.

Her children, Ravyn, 15, and Rashad, 14, are now living with a friend, two bus rides away. Because of the time and distance, Marion hasn’t seen them in a week. She and her dog Hershey, a goofy milk-chocolate colored pitbull, are sleeping at the apartment of fellow fast food worker, Bridget Hughes: Marion on the sofa, Hershey on the balcony.

It’s a downtrodden two-bedroom apartment in a sketchy neighborhood. Sex workers stake out the busier street corners; many of the houses are boarded up or burnt out. The detritus of drug addiction litters the streets.

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On December 12, Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem, will speak about the groundbreaking 1994 Whitney exhibition Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art and its afterlives with writer Hilton Als and art historian and critic Huey Copeland. Register now!

Installation view of Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, November 10, 1994–March 5, 1995) Photograph by Geoffrey Clements

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In the fall of 1994, the Whitney Museum presented Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art, a groundbreaking exhibition curated by Thelma Golden. Conceived in dialogue with an extraordinary group of contemporary artists, Black Male investigated the complex aesthetics and politics at work in representations of African-American men in the post-Civil Rights era. On the twentieth anniversary of Black Male, Golden, Director and Chief Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, speaks about the exhibition and its afterlives in conversation with writer Hilton Als, who edited the exhibition’s catalogue, and art historian and critic Huey Copeland.

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Here’s Adam Copeland’s #ALSIceBucketChallenge! Adam’s #WWE tag team partner, Christian - WWE Universe as well as wife, Beth Phoenix - WWE Universe, joined in for this great cause!

Can we talk about the Popeyes lady?

No, not Annie (though we’ll talk about her later).  I wanna talk about CEO Cheryl Bachelder aka Boss Supreme Chicken Lady!  My favorite thing she’s ever said about Popeyes success is in reference to other fast food chains trying to serve salads:

“I’m not trying to solve the world’s problems here.”

YES!  THANK YOU!  I came to Popeyes for fried chicken, not for a Healthy Snack Rebecca.

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