A black cake company boss has revealed he asked his wife to front his business after facing racism and prejudice ‘on a daily basis’.
Junior Thompson only recently announced he was the man behind Khalids Kakes in Birmingham after being inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
The father-of-three said he felt he had to stay behind the scenes because customers would walk away if they saw him behind the counter.
The 30-year-old, who set up the occasion cake shop nearly 10 years ago, said they were happy to approach his wife Rose for orders.
Junior Thompson (left) only recently announced he was the man behind Khalids Kakes in Birmingham after being inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. The 30-year-old, who set up the occasion cake shop nearly 10 years ago, said customers were happy to approach his wife Rose (right) for orders
He told BirminghamLive: ‘Coming from where I’ve come from, from street culture, it was a hard thing to accept, it was hard to have to hide from something I can’t change – I can’t change the colour of my skin.
‘I felt the only way my business would be successful would be if I got my partner to front the business. It had to be done.’
He said he had been inspired by the protests taking place across the world after the death of George Floyd in police custody in the US, adding: ‘No more hiding’.
In a video on Khalids Kakes’ Facebook page, he told customers who had a problem with his colour to ‘take their money elsewhere’.
Speaking through a face mask due to the threat of coronavirus, he said: ‘You’re probably wondering what am I doing on this screen, who’s this person? Who’s this brother?
‘I’m Khalid’s Kakes. You’re probably thinking: ”How come I’ve never seen you before”?
‘Because I’ve been doing this cake thing for nearly ten years and even today, man go through this racism stuff – ”Oh there’s a black guy, causing trouble, we don’t want a cake from a black guy, etc etc”.
‘So to go through all of that there, I felt the only way my business would be successful is if I get my partner to front the business.
‘If you want to come through to Khalid’s Kakes, you’re more than welcome regardless of your colour, but if you have an issue, you can take your money and go somewhere else.’
The business (pictured, some of the cakes), based in the Winson Green area of the city, was first launched to help Mr Thompson steer away from ‘violence and drugs’ as a teenager
The business, based in the Winson Green area of the city, was first launched to help Mr Thompson steer away from ‘violence and drugs’ as a teenager.
But he soon found himself faced with prejudice as he claimed customers were more responsive to his white wife.
He said: ‘We used to stand upon the street corner selling cakes and biscuits, when I was the person who was doing a lot of the talking and the selling, I would get a negative response.
‘Then going into the social media aspect, we realised that when my wife would talk to people she would get a better response, they would be more willing to talk to her because of her white-sounding name.
‘When we had a shop, we had more prejudice moments, people would see me behind the counter and walk away, but when I wasn’t there people would come and speak to her, so I kind of just made her the front of the business.’
Mr Thompson said he hoped speaking out would inspire others to do the same as demonstrations continue to take place across the UK.
He said: ‘Regardless of who you are and what the colour of your skin is you shouldn’t need to hide yourself.
‘Be proud of who you are and how far you have come because how else can you inspire others to elevate themselves if they have no examples of people doing this?’
Mrs Thompson added to MailOnline: ‘He wants to try to uplift the youth who sometimes get a bad reputation these days.
‘He wants to show those who come from the same background he came from that they can do something with their lives.’