Iowa’s Blk & Bold partners with ‘Wakanda Forever’ on coffee collection

Black-owned coffee brand Blk & Bold created a themed ‘Wakanda Forever’ collection for the new film.


When you need a music single for your upcoming film, you call Rihanna. When you need a themed coffee collection, you collaborate with Iowa-based business Blk & Bold.

The company teamed up with Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” to feature Black Panther characters including Shuri, Okoye, Nakia, and M’Baku on two of its most popular coffee flavors, Smoove Operator and Rise & Grnd, paired with a black and gold design.

Pernell Cezar, co-founder and CEO of Blk & Bold, called the deal “…partnering with businesses that get it right.”

“Wakanda Forever” is the latest Marvel film and the sequel to the 2018 film “Black Panther,” which starred the late-Chadwick Boseman in the title role. Following Boseman’s death in August 2020 at the age of 43 as a result of colon cancer, the sequel’s script was reworked.

More:Who’s the new Black Panther? Here’s what we know (so far) about Marvel’s ‘Wakanda Forever’

Des Moines-based Blk & Bold claimed the title of the first Black-owned nationally distributed coffee brand after its creation in 2018 by co-owners Jarrhod Johnson and Cezar. The pair landed on the Des Moines Register’s 2021 People to Watch list as a result.

The growth Blk & Bold has seen since launching, specifically working with the Target retail chain, has opened doors for the company, Pernell said.

“It’s definitely while supply lasts, if you will …The product is in the market now,” Pernell said of the items in this themed collection. “(The K-Cups) have been in Target since September… our bagged coffee you can get on our website.”

As a fan of the first film, Johnson added that this Marvel collaboration is also exciting because he perceives an overlap in the values of Blk & Bold as a company and the “Black Panther” films.

“The (value) that stands out the most to me and that means the most to me is the emphasis on community,” Johnson said. “Wakanda is a community where the inhabitants of that society would do anything to protect it, it defined who they were and shaped how they looked at the world.”

Fittingly, “Wakanda Forever” shows the community reaction following the death of Boseman’s character, T’Challa. The plot also sees characters dealing with a new threat to their kingdom.

In that same vein of community, Blk & Bold pledged 5% of its profits to nonprofit organizations that work with at-risk youth. According to the co-owners, there are 14 organizations across the nation that benefit from this pledge.

In the coming year, Blk & Bold plans to create a nonprofit foundation to help at-risk youth.

More:Blk & Bold co-founder Pernell Cezar adds reality television to his resume with a new show, ‘Bet on Black’

“The goal of the foundation is to own more overtly how we support youth and needs across America in addition to supporting our current nonprofit pledge partners,” Johnson said.

Though it’s still in the early stages of naming and planning, the foundation is currently known as The Blk & Bold Foundation and is expected to launch sometime in 2023.

“I’m just excited that consumers and fans of our respective entities get a chance to celebrate. I know how the first film made me feel and how represented I felt,” Johnson said. “It was a double dose of feeling seen. I felt very represented in the movie in a very positive and representative way and then I felt seen again… when Marvel and I were able to align on some very similar values.”

“Wakanda Forever” collaborated with other brands such as MAC Cosmetics, Lexus and McDonald’s. A Black-owned business based out of Flint, Michigan — Comma Bookstore & Social Hub — was also featured in a Mastercard commercial done in collaboration with the film’s release.

Prior to this, Blk & Bold worked with the NBA and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and the co-founders have appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and the “Shark Tank”-eque reality television show “Bet on Black.”