Reflections of a once discouraged Black Man that can’t get into “certain” clubs

08 Feb

 You likely know exactly what I’m about to say. And likely, exactly what I’m about to call out. To most of you reading,  this subject isn’t a surprise. It’s not even news anymore. It’s a story that happens…and continues to happen on a regular basis. For those unaware of such activities, let me sum it up for you: 

Black people have a hard time getting into “certain clubs”.

And we’re not the only culture, but I can only speak from my perspective and experiences. I’ve even recently heard of cases of folks getting in trouble who stood up for their peers (in this case, teammate) who were discriminated against. If this hasn’t happened to you yet as a black male, you either don’t go out, you’re always over-dressed when you do go out, or you simply just stay ‘in your comfort zone’.

Going to college in Austin, TX, I learned these lessons at an early age. Ya see, back in 2004 when I was a freshmen, brothas were still in the blazers, long button-ups, jeans, and Air Forces.

Thanks for this trend, Usher!

That was ‘dressin’ up’. That was all we needed to go out.

Until club owners didn’t appreciate the crowd that wore Air Forces in theirs clubs.

The popularity of Air Forces back then seemed to bring about the “no white shoes”rule. This eventually grew into the “no tennis shoes” rule…and at some places, the  “no laces” rules…Or the “no white laces”…and I’ve even heard ”your laces are too thick” rule.

Other cultural staples got ruled out as well.

R.I.P. Polo Boots and Tims, you served me well.

So by the time I was turned 21, I was well-aware of all of the rules, and was ready to explore clubs of different people and genres all along 6th St. Brothers started investing in loafers. Brothers started to wear slimmer jeans. Brothers started wearing shirts that (really) fit. All for the sake of being able to get into general clubs and bars.

Now, most of us have been pissed at an underdressed friend on a night of going out.  He might as well had forgot his ID that night, because he wasn’t going to get into any of the places we were trying to go to. But then ya’ll feel bad for leaving your friend alone, and ya’ll end up being over-dressed at a “very comfortable” establishment where your Cole Haans are getting scuffed by other dudes with Timberland boots. (Nothing against such establishments, but I wasn’t dressed to sweat)

Then there were those other nights when you ensured that all your friends had the right clothes on. You get to the door of a nice place, and the doorman tells you that your 6′ 4″ friend that weighs 250 lbs. can’t get in because his jeans are too baggy…”at the bottom”. Keep in mind, he’s a big dude (He’s in shape considering his size) , dressed as sharply as he can, but still can’t get in. Meanwhile, other patrons get in with cargo shorts and hoodies. I’ve witnessed this.

And now I’m a grown ass man…with a job…with money to waste on over-priced drinks, and a charm that can break the ice of any crowd…and I know how to dress.  


Bluntly, I'm the type of black dude you want at your party!

But even as a grown ass man, the double-standard still prevails. And I’m still getting shit from doorman, such as:

"...But there's only a lil' bit of padded leather around the toe of my shoe."

“…But this is a V-neck from Banana Republic. Wanna see the tag? I ain’t lying.”

"I thought I could wear this Affliction shirt like every other douche you let in" (Note: I no longer wear this shirt)

"No, they're not. These are relaxed fit."

"I ran track! My thighs are big. I'm not going to wear skinny jeans out!"



Maybe the 5% rule is more prominent than I thought.

And my feelings on this came to a head a few weeks ago when I wasn’t able to get into Sawyer Park(@sawyerpark) in Houston around 3:30PM on a Sunday Afternoon to watch an NFL Playoff game because I had some sporty windpants on that looked “too relaxed”. On a Sunday afternoon with the intent to watch football.

Let me say to the club owners and bouncers, that I understand and agree with the enforcement of dress attire for certain venues . But make sure that you’re not being too subjective about it, if your poor souls can help it. And to be real, in many cases it doesn’t only seem that you’re discouraging certain attire, but it seems they’re discouraging (or discriminating) certain cultures as well.

We know what you want. You want $$. You want no drama. You want “beautiful” people. You want a good reputation for fun and exclusiveness. Whether or not you feel black people can help them achieve all that is another question which I’ll try not to assume the answer to. However, don’t be surprised when black people try to get into your place.

There’s no glory in being discriminatory, but if you’re going to enforce such standards as “dreads can’t be too long”….”we can’t let too many black people in at once”… then claim that shit. Man up, and claim the conditions that you enforce. 

 Seemingly, club owners don’t care about being called discriminatory. Their patrons don’t either. Exclusiveness is what makes these places thrive. Same thing that made Facebook thrive over MySpace and Hi5.  If their patrons don’t want to be around black people, then a club with loose-principles will cater to that. These places want to make you feel that you’re not worthy to get in, when they’re not a worthy place to get into. They try to say that we’re not dignified enough to come in, when in fact, they’re not a dignified place at all. And I’ve come to peace with the fact that these type of places aren’t going anywhere, and that I shouldn’t burden myself with letting such places make me feel like less of a person.

 “So Justinfication, surely you don’t expect this to end. What are you going to do now when you go out and you run into this again ?”

"...what I'm gonna do is look out for myself and I'ma get mine."

My strategy goes like this:

  • Get rejected
  • Ask why?
  • Express disappointment (in a civil way)
  • Walk away and give business to a welcoming bar (“…get mine”)
  • Tell Others (perhaps write a blog)

Throw some sarcasm somewhere in that list, depending on my mood.

 In my dreams, I would be able to belittle the doorman in public, “Good Will Hunting” style, and walk away from the bar to the applause of all bystanders.

…and I also hope that my rejection into the club eats away at the bouncer’s soul.

“Don’t envy bad people; don’t even want to be around them.”

-Proverbs 24:1


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5 responses to “Reflections of a once discouraged Black Man that can’t get into “certain” clubs

  1. MichaelYoungHistory

    February 8, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    LMFAO HAHAHAHAHAHA!” Bluntly, I’m the type of black dude you want in your party”

  2. Jay Howard Gatsby

    February 8, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    The Thread Blog. Where Amazing Happens.

    Awesome post, Justin. I laughed because it’s funny now but it wasn’t back then, when I couldn’t get in. smh

  3. Joy Diggs

    February 17, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    I LOVE this post! I can definitely relate… from a female’s perspective… trying to get into a club with a group of guys that can’t get in, though they are dressed appropriately. Also witnessed somebody pay $50 for their friend to get in because the bouncer was giving the friend trouble, which I totally DO NOT agree with. Good stuff!

    • justinfication

      February 21, 2012 at 10:03 AM

      Thanks! “They just be concealing it”


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