Millennials showing the world they can change it

Detric McCoy

Detric is a founding member of Taharka Brothers, a Baltimore-based ice cream shop where customers savor social commentary while enjoying sweet treats.

Q: How is Taharka Brothers different from other business models?

A: We are a social enterprise, which means that money is not the main purpose of the company. The main difference between us and other ice cream companies is that we are really about our social mission. We make flavors that push for a cause and get people thinking. I usually don’t see other ice cream companies doing that.

Q: What made you want to create these kinds of business goals?

A: We started out as a nonprofit called Sylvan Beach, which was basically an ice cream shop and the guys lived in the same building as the shop down on Preston Street in Baltimore. They had good outcomes but they wanted to make a bigger impact, so that’s when we switched over to Taharka Brothers. We just took it one step at a time.

Q: What kind of vision or intended achievement do you have for Taharka Brothers?

A: Honestly, we can’t change everything. But we want to inform people and get them to stay and talk. We want a place to spread our mission and to connect with more people.

Q: How would you describe your mission?

A: We are an ice cream company and we make all of our own ice cream, but basically our mission is to inform people of social issues. We can’t’ change everybody’s opinions and we can’t tell people how to live, but our main focus is to bring up that conversation and at least try to get people to talk about things.

Q: How do you start that conversation?

A: We try in different ways. We don’t say “this is wrong, this is bad, this is what you should do, this is what you shouldn’t do,” it’s more that we try to support different ethnicities and keep people aware. We had an ice cream flavor called Chocolate Lives Matter during that whole movement. We do things like giving away books in our ice cream truck and we’ll also post things from history from all different types of backgrounds on our Facebook. There’s not only one thing that we do.

Q: How did you become involved in this business?

A: I started in my sophomore year of high school. Around that time I wanted to go to college, so I got my associate’s and came back. Sean, who is the owner of the business, is a friend of my family and one day my family was having a cookout and we got to talking. I heard his ideas and they lined up with my ideas. Business has always been my main focus, so when he heard about what I wanted to do with my life we matched up and I joined the team.

Q: What advice would you give to other activists who are also passionate about their interests, but may not know where to start?

A: Nothing happens in a day and you have to stay after it. The first few months in the very beginning are probably the hardest time to stick to it and it’s important to prepare for that. If you have an idea and you think it’s good, go after it. A lot of times people have ideas and they don’t do it, then someone else gets that same idea and they go after it and have different results. Go after your ideas and make sure no good idea is wasted. It’s also important to learn to adapt, which is probably hard for anyone, but you have to prepare to adapt to a different kind of lifestyle. If you’re pushing social matters, once you become mainstream your personal and social life changes because now you have everyone looking at you and paying attention what you do. If you make a mistake, people are going to think that the whole mindset and business is false. You have to prepare your social life for what you stand for.