Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shaking your tail feather with white folks in a burning house.

“I fear, I am integrating my people into a burning house.”

~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Dr. King said the above statement to Harry Belafonte in a conversation they had before his death. Belafonte startled at the statement said to him “What should we do?” Dr. King told him that we “Become the firemen, Let us not stand by and let the house burn.”

On the flip side of that, you have a speech by Malcolm X. It was entitled “The House Negro and the Field Negro.” He spoke about how the House Negro loved the Master more than he loved himself. And that if the Masters house caught on fire, the House Negro would try to put the fire out. On the other hand you have the Field Negro. The Field Negro hated the master and despised his very existence. If the Master’s house were to catch on fire, the Field Negro would pray for a strong wind to come along.

Here you have two black thoughts that are on opposite sides of the spectrum. The feelings are as true today as they were when both these statements were proclaimed in the mid 60’s.

Urban Fiction author Teri Woods is suing a nightclub called Greenhouse for $1 Billion Dollars due to a claim of racism. Apparently she arranged a party at this club in the New York City section of SoHo to celebrate her new book. The lawsuit claims that her guests were denied entrance into the club because of their race. There are also text messages from the doorman to the club owner expressing a need to keep people out based on appearances. One text read “I couldn’t let in 300lb girls.” How she got a hold of text messages from the doorman to the club owner is still hazy to me. Woods was planning on doing it up big time at the club with her 175person guest list. But it turned into a night of disappointment for the New York Times best selling author. When she rolled up to the club she saw her black guests standing outside, while her white guests were let in. One of the plaintiffs in the case, Kashan Robinson, was listed as being the sister to rapper Queen Pen. Errrrrrrrrrrr….pump the breaks. Yes!! You heard me. This was actually listed on website. Someone actually took the time to research that tidbit of insignificant information. I hope Ms. Robinson wasn’t at the club yelling that in order to get in. That would be the equivalent of me saying I’m related to Father MC in order to get into a party. I’m not related to him but you get the point.

What makes this interesting is that some of the comments to the story were mixed. Many comments were in favor of Woods suing the club and others blamed Woods for the incident. The comments blaming Woods expressed the sentiment that black folks shouldn’t be chasing after white folks approval. And if we want to enjoy ourselves, we should support our own clubs or better yet build them. I remember black owned clubs I use to frequent back in the day. Places that weren’t very well lit and had only one entrance. It could only have been God that kept me alive when I went to those places. Some of the shadiest characters in America can be found in those clubs. I hate to racially profile folks but even Helen Keller would know a Thug if she could see one. Not all black owned clubs are death traps. You have real nice ones that are perfectly safe to frequent. But even in cities where blacks have large numbers, we don’t have ownership in half of the clubs.

For all that have been paying attention to our current situation - *News Flash*. Black folks, we have already been integrated into a burning house. The house was on fire when they started busing black children to white schools and it has been burning brightly ever since. It’s too late to go back now homie!!! People should be allowed to attend any club that they want to. We can’t be mad at other blacks because they want to party uptown. Now if Woods went to a Klan picnic there would be a problem. It’s all about freedom of choice folks. I personally don’t hang out that often so I don’t get turned away from clubs. Most of the time when I go to a club I know that I’m getting in. But things might be a tad bit different in New York.

Is this a common occurrence in major metropolitan cities? Have you ever been turned away from a club because of racism? I’m just asking………


Monie said...


A billion dollars?! Who sues for a billion dollars, wow.

Here is my opinion; places become trendy because people go there. As people go they have the money to improve the venue. So if people, like this author, continue to choose venues that belong to other communities then our venues will always be second rate.

What's that old saying; a lot of Black people believe that a White persons ice is colder than a Black persons, or something like that.

And I think racism is everywhere. The reason this made news is because there is a lawsuit but that doesn't mean this club hasn't always been racist.

I'm from N.Y and I never had any problems so I wouldn't say it's widespread.

Max Reddick said...

This perhaps should be a wake-up call. Certainly, we should be allowed to go whereever we please; however, incidents such as this one just go to prove how far we really have to go. I have spoke to many who have some mis-guided belief that one can transcend race. I am not sure where exactly one can do that, but it certainly ain't here.

And yeah, she should sue the club. No person should have to endure an indignity of that nature.

Citizen Ojo said...

Monie - It goes like this - "The White Man's Ice Is Always Colder"

Yes we should support our own (only when it is of good quality, black folks have to be professional just like everyone else) sometimes we forget that when we conduct business. But for those that don't want to they have the right to support other institutions. Some of our venues are 1st tier but don't get the love but that's on us. I guess you think 1 Billion is excessive.

Max - Who are these individuals that think we are past racism. Take them outside and beat them with a bamboo stick.

FreeMan said...

Out here in LA we have margarita bar called Lola's and Blacks are suing that club for discrimination. Now me I've been able to go in and out without too much of a problem. I'm about 6'4 250lb so I don't sneak in. But then again I like to dress like a man not like a kid.

I wonder if the clientele that were coming in were a bit too thuggish. Second I wonder why she didn't just exclusively get the club for the night instead of trying to get some BS ropes for her own event. Third I don't know if the club is worth a billion but cmon how about looking reasonable with your lawsuit so it doesn't look like a knee-jerk reaction.

Racism ehhh I want to say Classism at its best. When I lived in NY all the clubs in Manhattan seemed to have a certain level of Class they were trying to maintain. Is it always Racism when they turn one of us down or can it be something else. I'm not making any excuses for it.

I'll sum it up like this. If you know the venue you pick serves or seems to be a lily white establishment and you are Black trying to come in there shouldn't your Spidey Sense go off that this might not be the right place. Or that you should prepare the ground before you show up. Or you should go to a more public venue that really doesn't have time to do these EXCLUSive practices.

Monie said...


Well considering no one died, yeah it's a bit high. I suppose she was trying to get a lot of attention with that high number. It certainly got mine.

P.rofessional H.ater D.egree said...

I really need to see all the facts in this case. If they are getting turned away because of their attire, so be it. PHD doesn't do Tims or baseball caps in a sophisticated environment. Hell, PHD doesn't do Tims or baseball caps anywhere!

Black folk need to stop trying to blame everything on racism. Also, it is true that Blacks don't own 90 percent of the places they frequent. You want to call some shots? Own the spot. To quote your greatest rapper alive, Jay-Z: "I don't buyout the bar, I bought the night spot." Now that man is a quoteable genuis.

Now the weight issue, something totally different. PHD sticks to the thin mints but whatever floats your boat, float on. But if the doorway can not accomodate their shapely figure, then you simply can't let them in. Don't want someone getting stuck in the doorway...then you'd have a ton of people waiting outside the club mad as hell and a ton of people inside the club who can't get out. Not a good look.

Inform your guest list next time of the dress code and weight limit.Good luck getting a Billion!

Citizen Ojo said...

P.H.D. - You only stick to thin mints? But why??? Don't you know Big girls have all the fun???

FreeMan - Thanks for stopping by. You make a good point. She had to talk to the club owners before that date. Why didn't they get the whole club? Could it just be classism? Didn't someone tell her that's how the club rolls before she got there. Interesting indeed.

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

I can't remember being turned away from a club because of my skin color ("race" doesn't exist). But I well remember a warning from a friend in France, who told me that a Black man was admitted to a club and then beaten up inside, after he insisted on being admitted.

In retrospect, that really is a hearsay account and I have no personal knowledge of that incident. If I had been denied entrance to a club in France during my 30 months there, I would remember that.

I avoided clubs in the US, because I wanted to stay alive and the wisdom of the Foundering Fathers - that everyone can pack a machine gun in a daycare center if he wants to - made clubs too dangerous to risk visiting them. I found church services and gospel concerts to be much safer for me.

I think suing for a Billion dollars is a way of saying that there is no amount of money that can compensate this writer and her friends for having been subjected to this humiliation and induction of group fury.

We have to imagine that this writer had paid at least some of the money for this party up front, not to mention the catering, etc., and now she was powerless to let her Black guests take part in the party she had paid for.

There isn't enough money in the world to compensate this writer and her guests for what they encountered at that club. Unfortunately, here in Brazil cases like this from the United States regularly make the evening news. Literally, the whole world is watching.