by Shane Thomas

It’s Friday, so chances are that you may be heading out to socialise tonight (or tomorrow). Even if you’re like me, and prefer to spend most of your weekends away from the prospective nightlife of music, dancing and alcohol, there’s no doubt that it makes up a major part of some people’s weekends.

Some of you may even be heading to central London, but beware because the nightclub Libertine, (formerly known as Chinawhites) reputed to be one of the most estimable clubs in London, appears to have an admittance policy akin to Jim Crow-era America.

600_prp_libertine_london_34109

This was initially brought to light by fashion blogger Fisayo Longe, who described her experience at being refused entry to Libertine, with the woman on the door saying to her and her friends, “Not tonight ladies, please step aside.” It was only after repeatedly demanding an explanation that Longe was told by a separate member of staff, “Maybe because you’re black”, as well as, “…probably because you’re not good looking enough.”

It isn’t just Longe who’s had issues with being allowed access to Libertine. User reviews on other websites detail this racist door policy, while a scan of Twitter also produced emetic anecdotes:

https://twitter.com/OgediStevens/status/551788709520371713

At the time of writing, Libertine’s response has been telling. They’ve made no comment on the criticism they’ve received online. I also emailed them about their door policy, with their response being, “We obviously do not have an admission policy based on race.”[1]

What’s equally as telling are a recent series of tweets from their Twitter page, the undertone of which stating, “Look, we can’t be racist. We let the odd black person in.” However, these are little more than racism shields. You can’t claim diversity by stating “One is enough”.

While such conduct is truly abhorrent, this is a problem that goes further than one nightclub. Libertine isn’t the only establishment to have been called out for racism in deciding who they let gain access. Indeed, promoters are sometimes advised to allot their guest list places on the basis of race.

You may be of the mindset that this issue can be rectified by eschewing going to these venues, or maybe you’re an introverted person, and would never dream of spending your weekend in a bar or club. But the problem remains that these clubs are a symptom of the systemic racism in this country, that far too many like to tell themselves doesn’t exist[2].

For some, these nightspots function as a much needed social crutch. After working for 35 hours plus during the week, being able to mix with friends – with or without the aid of alcohol and/or music – can be a valuable decompression period. A brief oasis of renewal where the often restrictive nature of 9-to-5 can be cast off, before having to get back on that treadmill on Monday morning.

Go to the website gallery of numerous clubs and bars, and you’ll see a litany of revellers. Many of them women, and most of them white. The image being portrayed isn’t just one of hedonism, but also that their venue should be where you want to go to, because all the pretty people are there.

The pretty people. Which means thin, cisgender, able-bodied and white. It’s not just the bigoted gradient of melanin and violence that’s the issue here, but also that racist beauty standards assert that black women (especially dark-skinned black women) can’t be pretty. Or at least, not too many of them.

It also proves that it doesn’t matter how black people dress in terms of them being treated as human. Respectability never obviates blackness. One can wear the most expensive and stylish attire to some clubs, and it’s still subsumed by racism. The first, last, and only thing the staff on the door see is your race. You can forget V.I.P, when you’re not even seen as a “P”.

It’s important to note that white supremacy has caused blackness to be twinned not only with violence, but with poverty[3]. I’m certain I’m not the only one to try and gain entry to a club or bar, only to be superciliously told of the entry fee, as if that would automatically dissuade me from going in.

The message is clear and simple: we don’t want you here. Just because we play plenty of black music doesn’t mean we want to house black people.

Well, this remains our country, too. All our names are on the list. It’s about time Libertine – and clubs of their ilk – realised that.

[1] – What’s also obvious is that anti-racist words come a lot easier that anti-racist deeds.

[2] – I’m expecting at least one person in the comments to accuse me of “playing the race card”.

[3] – So take the “It’s really all about class” sentiments elsewhere.

All work published on Media Diversified is the intellectual property of its writers. Please do not reproduce, republish or repost any content from this site without express written permission from Media Diversified. For further information, please see our reposting guidelines.


TWOWEEKSNOTICE “Two Weeks Notice” is Shane Thomas’s bi-monthly column encompassing Pop culture to sport, and back again”.

A mixed-race film graduate, Shane comes from Jamaican and Mauritian parentage. He has been blogging about sport since 2010 at the website for The Greatest Events in Sporting History. He is also a contributor to ‘Simply Read’, the blogging offshoot of the podcasting network Simply Syndicated. A lover of sport, genre-fiction, and privilege checking, Shane can be found on Twitter, both at @TGEISH and @tokenbg (and yes, the handle does mean what you think it means).

85 thoughts on “London’s clubs where “white is right” and “if you’re black, get back”

  1. They also practice age discrimination!
    I managed to get on the guest list Lux yesterday. Promoter called me to confirm and I get a message that my booking was confirmed.
    -I arrived on time, 10.30.
    – I had the dress code, very expensive dress
    – I had heels
    Once arrived on the door, the girl was very unpolite, rude, unprofessional,saying it’s not possible this night!
    What is not possible??
    I met all requirements and arrived on time…what’s the problem?
    They checked ID to everyone, but not me and my friend…because they just let go girl in their twenties. Libertine does age discrimination.
    I found disgusting.
    Don’t waste your time in this sheet place

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  2. You should be able to have a white clubs bars that arent in redneck nazi. Right in the working class and middle-class people that just have a lot in common .. The focusing on black people is got to stop

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    1. So how do you account for the other black women who couldn’t get in? Are they employed by rival clubs as well? Is there a little-known cabal of black blog writers who have gainful employment by spreading scurrilous rumours about other clubs?

      Well, thank goodness that you left this comment. We must get the word out! Circumstances demand my next piece focuses exclusively on these liars! I’ll get to work on it right away!

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      1. Good article and I agree with your take on it completely. However, there may be more going on than racism. As rancid as it sounds, the proprietors may have felt that there’s some justification for racial discrimination. Witness the black owner of the Fridge in Brixton attributing the closure of her club and 13 other South London venues to exclusively black violence.

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  3. It’s an exterior we all look the same on the inside.
    No matter of your gender, race or age you should be aloud to go where you want to.
    Money & colour does not make you any more important than someone else.
    Every person on the planet has a different personality.. Some cause trouble and some don’t… Makes no difference where your from and certainly not from a skin colour!
    I would personally like this club to either move into 2015 and stop causing trouble itself or be closed down!

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  4. West end clubs are rubbish anyway, have been for ages now, if your black, or white, I would suggest you go and spend your hard earned money else where instead of standing around tables with over expensive bottles and pretentious sh*t heads spending ridiculous money. This is 2015 people, the world is getting realer, be real, and any West end club, libertine, mayfair, wherever it may be, is not one bit real. Go shoreditch and have a drink with some REAL cool people, no fights or bad attitudes regardless of skin colour and enjoy the real of london.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow… The ignorance on here is strong!
    So how about this? Black people are a minority. And the blatant fact they have a different skin colour makes them stand out however add that up against all the white people that get kicked out and rejected from clubs I bet my life black people don’t compare to that number. I’m a mixed woman from a middle class background… colour doesn’t equate to the amount of money you have.

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    1. The difference being which white people are being refused entry to clubs on the singular basis of them being white? It seems even with the ignorance on here ostensibly being “strong”, you managed to surpass that with some gargantuan ignorance of your own.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m really saddened to hear this is going on in London clubs, but not surprised. As a middle-aged white guy who last went clubbing in London as a uni student a decade ago and now lives many miles away, i’m well out of the loop on these things. However, i can say for sure, a large number of us gay white guys, love gay men of colour and would be delighted to see many more in the clubs i now go to 🙂 And do bring your lovely women friends of any sexual persuasion and any skin tone – you’re all beautiful!

    When I went to a London uni, i lived in South East London, an area with a large Caribbean and African community. I often went ‘up west’ to go clubbing but found I had my best nights out in Lewisham in clubs with no pretentious door policies or dress codes. I can understand that club owners don’t want trouble in their establishments, but race or even financial backgrounds of customers is no measure of how they will behave inside. Shame on Libertine.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Damn it I wrote a really long comment but it has not materialised so i’ll write a shorter summary.
    I used to work in clubs in London, not central London clubs, but I know about that scene as well. These places want people with money. Unfortunately the black population of mostly Caribbean origin are not an affluent bunch, even the more affluent ones seem to be cheaper than the whites. Trust me, I’ve booked parties with ‘urban’ promoters, DnB promoters, reggae promoters etc.. they all have the lower bar tab thing in common. I do know about one exception though, in the early 2000s Ministry of Sound had a Friday night called ‘Smoove’. It was very successful and made a bucket load of money. Purely because it was good music and excellent sound system (come on ministry is an excellent venue) where you could hear garage without getting stabbed or dirty looks from aggressive types. But as time went on it got blacker, south London gangster types started ruining things for everyone else and the security routinely got threatened with guns, knives etc…
    They had to stop it this hugely successful night – I used to go and I am a former employee at MOS. This night actually made loads of money!!! In general though, as an event booker, especially older black people, they do not spend loads of money on booze like white people do. They also have an attitude problem, sorry i went there, but they do. The UK afrobeats nights are much more pleasurable experience than something ‘urban’ but they STILL have more attitude problems than other types of nights. Apart from DnB, dubstep and rastafarian reggae crowd – they are more chill. these dodgy ass ‘urban’ promoters have spoilt it for the everyone else.
    I’ll give you example of how some of the ‘attitude’ that (mainly caribbeans) have. Mau Mau bar in Ladbroke Grove is one of the only bars i know in London that has a mainly black audience and is a ‘decent’ place. I have been a few times and the attitude of alot of the people is just not needed.
    The fact that these poshy clubs don’t want black girls makes me sad face 😦 though, that non obese ones, they are beautiful, rich arabs don’t know what they are missing.

    In short, there are issues in the black community (3%) of the uk population that make it really easy for businesses to say ‘no thanks’. if you all became rich, the tables would eventually turn, money controls the market.

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    1. There’s an awful lot one could unpack with your comments, but the main problem is confirmation bias. When you say, “I’ve seen black people…” it reinforces the stereotype about black people being inherently violent, and troublemakers waiting to happen.

      Of course black people sometimes cause trouble in clubs. Because everyone sometimes causes trouble in clubs. Remember, there are plenty of places in this country where violence happens on a night out when white people are involved. But it doesn’t lead to white people being stereotyped as trouble (with the sometime exception of poor white people).

      And the thing about money controlling the market, yes indeed. Structural racism is a part of the reason why black people are often among the poorest people in Britain.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I have very little sympathy for black people who will beg and plead for entry into anywhere where they are not wanted. Rule No.1 Do not put yourself where you are disrespected. Simple.

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      1. Ok, I think this needs to be stated with absolute clarity, because this “don’t go where you’ll be disrespected” and “begging entry” is coming up a bit:

        – Libertine did not have a sign saying “No Blacks”. How is anyone meant to know ahead of time that the club has a racist door policy?

        – Saying it’s a black person’s fault for being refused entry is nothing short of victim blaming. It’s never a PoC’s fault for suffering racism. Never.

        – Queuing up to go into a club is not “begging”. It’s not as if black people are there like Oliver Twist, going “Please, sir…”

        – For all this apparent disgust at black people going to clubs with racist door policies, where’s the disgust at the racist people for being, y’know… racist?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. And they surely would not allow you in their place it’s all a bigger working is going on you’re wearing down at is a people

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  8. So as someone who has worked in the murky night club and music venue world in events and management in London, I will say that unfortunately when your place attracts to much of an ‘urban’ crowd I.e black, then the place develops an unsavoury reputation. Also, slightly controversial comment here, but as someone who has booked parties and events for ‘urban’ crowds, they tend to spend less on booze. There are a couple of exceptions but in general this crowd are a pain in the bum bum. Especially ‘urban’ promoters. They often have dodgy connections and can’t behave themselves. I am not saying that white people always do, ever thrown a ‘indus’industrial techno’ party consisting of arrogant Italian anarchists??? They are arrogant as fu*k aandlile to fight ssecurity. My point is, lots of clubs have had issues with large groups of mostly black wanabe gangsta types usually male and they just don’t wanna deal with a shooting or stabbing. It’s just too risky. Ministry of sound is a good example. For years they had a night called ‘smooove’ on Fridays towards the end of UK garage heyday. That night got blacker as time went on and they had to stop it due to shootings etc..
    unfortunately the black community in London is still not mainly affluent and a significant percentage are involved in gangs and criminal activity. It probably isn’t larger than anyone else, I.e whites, but they make up 3% (2011 census) of the total UK population. If a large number in that relatively small group are culturally bad attitudes, in fighting and have lots of low level criminal connections, would you as a business owner want them as your customers???
    What’s interesting though is that the difference between west African and Caribbean is notable, the Nigerians spend way more money out in agro beats night’s than any Jamaican.
    It’s not fair, it’s somewhat racist, it’s definitely prejudiced. When black people are more affluent and spend more money then these clubs will eventually let them in. The free market regulates itself. A club owner may hate black people but if black people begin to spend more money than whites, I think you’ll find a few changing their tune….
    also, Urban promoters need to fix up and stop letting riff raff into their parties. Afrobeats scene is generally a pleasurable experience and has good vibes, bashment and rnb nights with too many blacks from the lower end of the spectrum economically spoil it for the rest of the decent well mannered black people out there. Also, generic African dudes fresh off the boat, please stop grabbing girls in clubs before you speak to them. Security find this stupid behaviour so tedious. To all the well mannered aspirational black folks out there I am sorry if this offends you, but you are not a yardi or riff raff or hood rat. Or butter black older women ( sorry but this stereotype is real!!!). Let’s start our own places. No one likes those pretentious west end clubs anyway!!!

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    1. Yet another person trying to justify it. Look, if you know “generic African dudes” and “a yardi or riff raff or hood rat. Or butter black” or whatever is a problem, how does that justify banning black people en masse? I hardly think a try hard, fresh african in a nightclub justifies the restricing of blacks going out at night altogether. Look at the woman in the example link (Fisayo Longe) and tell me which one of your inappropriately used racial stereotypes she fits into?? That’s right, none.

      Because just like the government does to young people, you use a very small amount of bad actors to *color* everyone else with the same brush.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have worked in hospitality in London for 6 years. A lot of people like to play the race card when they are refused at the door. The reality is they were drunk, not dress appropriately or eith the wrong crowd.

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        1. Haha. Look at [2] in the footnotes of this piece. No, really. Look at it. Take your time, I’ll wait…

          Ah, so you’re back. You checked the footnotes, then? See what I mean? I should really get some kind of prize for this.

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    2. You are exactly right if they spend more and do not destroy property and do not assault people he would probably start to like them

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    1. I’ll be honest with you. One of the Media Diversified writers would sadly beg to differ. I’ve also been out in Leeds a few times (as I know a few people up there). My experience hasn’t always been positive.

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  9. This is rife! Happened to me and a group of friends in New Cross (I vowed to never step foot in that place again). We were refused by a bouncer who gave us numerous reasons: 1) Student party, 2) No groups -yet they blatantly let a group of white guys in the venue right in front of us. After a few minutes one of the bouncers who was behind the other two came up and tried to comfort us by saying ‘the manager is racist, he doesn’t like black people in his establishment, I don’t make the rules, I just work here’. The puzzling thing was that the bouncer who told us was a black American guy who was knowingly enforcing these policies.

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    1. Your story gives an interesting illustration on how white supremacy sometimes functions. I’m sure the black bouncer doesn’t especially like the door policy, but if he speaks up, he likely loses his job. He then has to go into a crowded job market, in which black people are inherently disadvantaged.

      Added to that, if he works as a bouncer, I assume (maybe incorrectly) that he’s quite a big guy, and larger black men are often stereotyped as especially scary and threatening. You only need to look at what happened to Eric Garner.

      This doesn’t mean I’m excusing the bouncer not speaking out. But I understand – and empathise with – why he doesn’t.

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  10. It annoys me when I see black ppl outside this so called posh west end clubs where u get treated as shit even if you have all the money to spend. Why don’t this ‘black’ people patronise clubs/bars which r run by their fellow blacks? They think they r better than places like guvnor bar, cokobar or steam bar cos ‘freshies’ go there. We black ppl need to stop our discrimination before we start talking bout race. We amongst ourselves classify some as FOB, freshies etc. They say charity begins at home.

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    1. I think this comment makes a wide – and somewhat unfair – generalisation on why black people choose specific venues to socialise. I honestly think less thought goes into it then you suggest. Do many people scrutinise the owner of a place before they choose to go there? Maybe I’m being a touch naive, but I’ve never heard anyone go, “Nah fam, that place’s shit. Black person owns it.”

      Going somewhere on a night out isn’t patronising the place. It’s just wanting to have a good time with your friends. And it’s the only chance most of us get at a good time until we have to go back to work on Monday.

      I’m definitely here for supporting good black owned clubs, but are there actually that many around? Again, I’m open to hear suggestions if that’s the case. I may end up mentioning them in a future piece.

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      1. There actually isn’t any black owned clubs I know in central London. I know of one black-run hotel and a casino but that’s it.

        Also note that in a lot of central London clubs the management do not own the venue.

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  11. As a white male in a mixed race relationship with an Indian woman I am always staggered how differently she is treated with me there and without in certain bars. We work in nearby offices and I have taken to meeting her and walking her into to some places rather than go on ahead and get the first round in

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    1. Not to tell you how to handle your relationship, but the one thing I wouldn’t be is staggered. It’s a common part of the life of a PoC. I’m hoping against hope that it’s not a regular part of what you & her have to deal with.

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  12. I have experienced racism in one of the clubs in Nottingham. It is really sad that this act of racism still exists.

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    1. Yes I experienced racism in Nigeria we thought African was gonna trade program where the white people going to Africa and be treated like the black people in Europe

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  13. London belong to us as much as anybody, we need to pressure the council and the press to check it out and if those clubs are found to be breaking discrimination laws, get them shut down. From my experience a lot of these clubs are now owned by russian/eastern europeans who came here just the other day, who I have seen for myself as a ex-promoter, have a no black policy (or only a few). I know its only about clubbing but we gotta stop accepting this treatment, if we don’t stand up for ourselves we’ll continue to get this kinda treatment. Can start off by filming your experience, then sending evidence to the relevant people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not sure if that will work on its own, Aaron. But I concede that my piece was more of a jeremiad, and didn’t propose much in the way of solutions, so I appreciate your suggestion. It’d be nice if a conversation could develop on how best to combat this kind of treatment

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  14. Having been a promoter in the west end for the last 7 years I agree with this article and have watched the west end slowly die a death. Clubs alaways use the excuse of not being on the guestlist when everyone knows that the clubs do not operate a named guestlist anymore. They will alaways blame the promoter than tell guests that they are simply not attractive enough or deemed worthy enough to get past the velvet rope.

    All the west end clubs are shit now and everyone is fighting for the same table and girls hence why so many clubs close. Asian guests get far more racism than blacks as they generally get very aggressive especially the men after a few drinks

    I hope libertine reads this article and this story makes the national papers and they close down as the staff are the most arrogant twats I have ever met

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  15. Indeed, however, in essence, having analyzed the grand scheme of things. The social fact remains, that racism is firmly embedded within the fabric of society. London, for if we people of ebony tone, or shades of ebony i like to refer to us as, are to be accepted/embraced to a degree. Then it is imperative that one utilizes the powers of one’s mind, and play the social game….. uncle tom, spring to mind. When in rome, one tend’s to do lie the roman’s. Sustain, and project a social ilusion, wear a plastic smile, and when you are subjected to social embarrassment, and ridiculed simply smile, and look them up and down, with share pity, and smug. even in everyday social situations, one is subjected to subtle signs. Such as waiting in line at a cafee, in stoke newington. you get made to wait twice as long as your caucasina counterpart,( ahead of you of course). I’m merely a struggling actor/blogger/music producer. see also my profile: http://www.soundcloud.com/Divine1-1 let this be a learning curve, for life is a game, it depends on how we choose to play it.. hmmmmm

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  16. Its incredible how pessimistic some of these comments are. No, we cant accept racism simply because its not a problem for white folks. Where would we be if many years ago, people like Martin Luther king felt the same way? To just not vote because the white man didn’t want the blacks to vote… they had to stand up against what was wrong. What these clubs are doing is wrong, that is the fact. Whether you’re black or not shouldn’t be the issue. I’m not comparing this incident with the civil rights movement, but racism is racism in whatever form it is practised.

    I understand that avoiding conflict and becoming self reliant would be the more dignified route to take but the fact is, we as a race are not there yet. Yes racism lives and breeds in Europe (my recent trip to turkey testifies even further to this) the only way to overcome it isn’t by avoiding racism, its by addressing it and letting the culprits be seen for what they are. Racist.

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  17. I worked in the West End for over a decade. The simple fact is yes, there is racism. But it doesn’t end there…. Venues will not let in ugly girls unless they r with attractive friends, or ugly guys unless they buy a table.

    These venues anxiously let in a lot of black people, mainly guys who want to spend money or good looking girls. But they do not want huge numbers of black people. This is for multiple reasons, 1 being the police and council, they do not like venues with lots of black people, or ‘ghetto’ venues as they call them. They see them as trouble. And the other reason is the perception of a bad atmosphere in the venue. A lot of the high spending white and Arab table bookers want white girls basically.

    Saying this there is hundreds of black people who work in this industry knowing all of the above and they never speak out about it. Promoters, managers, bar staff…

    The other issue is ugly people… The simple fact it, unless you are attractive, or at least ur friends are you are not getting in. Ugly guys get in if they buy a table. Fact.

    I no longer work in these venues and why anyone would want to go to them is beyond me. They r over priced, pretentious and shit. Shit dj’s, scumbag promoters and rubbish in every way.

    I’m so happy to see original bars with no entry policy on the rise. The west end dies years ago. Let it rest in peace.

    Ps, that free vodka you girls r drinking on that promoters table is not grey goose or belvedere, it’s tesco!!

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  18. This is such a load of rubbish! I always see a lot of blacks in Libertine. It comes down to looks and money… If you’re not hot or rich, forget it. Nothing to do with race. This sounds like it was written by an ugly girl with ugly friends who got refused entry. One racist comment from one member of staff doesn’t mean the club is racist!

    They only let good looking, well dressed people in and there’s always a mix of good looking black, Asian and white women inside – evident from their facebook photos.

    Sorry, you’re just ugly… :/

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    1. Not only is this racist apologia, but you do know I’m not talking about me in the piece? Central London’s a place I try to avoid, so Libertine is a club I’d never likely go to. Allowing some black people in doesn’t mean the place isn’t racist. That’s basically the “I have two black friends. I can’t be racist” defence.

      And not allowing people in because of how they look isn’t ok. Also, there’s no way of telling how much money someone has by looking at them. Unless….

      Ah yes, I’ve got it. You spend generations inculcating societal beliefs that certain races are hideous looking, poor, and are nothing but trouble. Then you can treat them like second-class citizens and get away with it. It’s what some of us call white supremacy. Do some Googling.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah, well that’s settled, then. Clearly no racism, nothing to see here. Let’s move on.

          I don’t mean to make light of your experience, which I’m sure was horrible. The way clubs decide who (and who not) to let in isn’t always on the basis of race, but just because it may not arise in every instance, doesn’t mean it doesn’t arise often.

          If you want to point out how clubs also tend to shun fat people, then I’m with that. It’s an important point. It’s also a point I made in the piece. But if you’re trying to say that what happened to you means that racism in club admissions (and further afield in society) isn’t a thing, I question your motives for commenting in the first place.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Your ignorance is unreal. Yes it has a lot to do with looks and money, but it also has a lot to do with race. A couple of friends went to the club one night on the guest list after calling prior to get their names on there. It’s a guest list, so they already know that money isn’t a factor, if it were they would have gotten a table. So at this point it boils down to race and looks. They were told at the door that they should step out of the line, and discuss between themselves which 3 would get in and which 3 would have to go home. Not like 3 were hand picked based on looks. They were told to discuss. What made it worse was the group of about 6 white girls behind them in the queue as they stepped out were let in. So it is definitely a race issue. Don’t go around calling people ugly when you don’t know enough facts. Makes you sound silly.

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      1. All those saying its not a rave issue. Your ignorance is unreal. Yes it has a lot to do with looks and money, but it also has a lot to do with race. A couple of friends went to the club one night on the guest list after calling prior to get their names on there. It’s a guest list, so they already know that money isn’t a factor, if it were they would have gotten a table. So at this point it boils down to race and looks. They were told at the door that they should step out of the line, and discuss between themselves which 3 would get in and which 3 would have to go home. Not like 3 were hand picked based on looks. They were told to discuss. What made it worse was the group of about 6 white girls behind them in the queue as they stepped out were let in. So it is definitely a race issue. Don’t go around calling people ugly when you don’t know enough facts. Makes you sound silly.

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  19. These super clubs aren’t just racist. It’s about how much money they think you will spend or generate. If you don’t look like you’re contributing to the superficial facade, you won’t get in, unless you are the son of a Saudi prince, or the daughter of a fashion label. I get your point but these places are vile, you lose nothing not getting in, and it’s more about money than it is about race. Part of it is that they think that white girls are what the big spending clients want, and part of that comes from the stereotype that they’re more likely to put out. The whole vibe is murky.

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    1. And the thought that white girls are what people want. What is that if not racism? Like I said in the piece, “It’s important to note that white supremacy has caused blackness to be twinned not only with violence, but with poverty.” Automatically assuming that if you’re black, you’re poor is both racist and classist. It is possible for oppressions to intersect.

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      1. This is way too much bullshit here want to just go to a different club damn people can choose who they want to be in there establishment Melissa membership only

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    2. Imani, it really has nothing to do with how much money you spend. Or are you saying Black Asian and mixed/people of colour inherently are or look “poor”?.I’d say we tend to show out when we get dressed up and spend a lot! The bleached blonde girls in their jane norman/lipsy dresses , certainly don’t look like big spenders to me! When you go in, they are not the ones with tables, or even ordering drinks. It’s a dangerous mindset to have Imani. Not all people of colour are poor and we do not bring down the tone of a venue. Why are “black” raves usually expensive then??

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    3. I agree in part.
      In society white is easier and more appealing to look at on the surface and as you say its also about money, a whiye girl is more likely to be offered and accept a drink than a black girl who will be less noticed and more inclined to strangers plying her with alcohol.
      Yes the clubs may seem racist at the time but if you look deeper its clever business, we all their prey and they just want the tills full, white girls are the bait and being exploited just as they have been through history so if your black say it loud and count your blessings.

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      1. Thing is, what you’re calling “clever business”, I call racism. Like you said, “In society white is easier and more appealing to look at on the surface”. Well, that’s racism.

        Also, not sure about this thing about black girls being more inclined to have strangers ply them with alcohol. Don’t really know where you got that from?

        And these white girls who are being “exploited” are having free rein to go to whatever venue they choose to let off some steam on the weekend. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s plenty wrong when other people don’t have the same choice open to them. Being refused entry to a place because of your race/gender isn’t a blessing.

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        1. I ment ‘less’ inclined that was just a typo.
          And ‘blessing’ i ment there nothing wrong with being of colour so to speak, im black and im proud.

          But i agree clever business or not classing someone based on there skin color is racism.

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  20. I do not go to Mayfair or any other “central” London venue, unless i have to. I have gone for a friends birthday who was white and “connected”. That is the only reason why i was let through the door. Many black promoters, “celebrities” and i use that term loosely, know exactly what is going down and frequent these places. I have heard black promoters say they don’t want any black girls in here, your only allowed in if your friends are white. That is not a lie. I was disgusted. The same thing has happened to me in Manchester and to my friends that live in New York. I do not visit these places. I spend my money where the music is good, where i can get it and have fun and that is not in central London. I have no desire to be seen in these places which are trashier than any hole in the wall that i have had such a great time in, in less salubrious parts of London. I don’t agree with the discrimination, it angers me and i wish it would stop. It won’t. I won’t even visit these places if invited now because i have no desire to support them. They need to be exposed, but what good will it do?

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    1. Maybe the good it will do is they won’t be racist? I’m not saying this one piece is going to change things on its own, and any change it won’t be immediate, but at the very least, we (and by “we” I mean “society”) can clearly delineate what is, and what isn’t acceptable in our society.

      Ftr, I avoid Central London as well. I can’t imagine Libertine is a place I’d ever go to, regardless of their door policy, but I didn’t write this because it concerns me directly. This is more important than me.

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      1. Hello Shane. My retort was more rhetorical, but i remember many moons ago the BBC even doing a hidden camera expose of nightclubs being racist to Asian patrons, in the north of England.It didn’t stop it at all. If you go on review sites, there are countless POC talking about how racist these clubs are. I don’t know if you can even legislate these things. I don’t want these places to be forced to accept us. Why should i beg anyone to be accepted?Spend money where you are comfortable and feel good. These places ain’t it!

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        1. For clarity’s sake, my purpose wasn’t to get Libertine to immediately start having their club filled with PoC. That wouldn’t get to the heart of the problem, tbh. The whole point isn’t only to make people aware of how Libertine – and other clubs – treat PoC, but also to show how white supremacy infects every aspect of our society, in areas that seem relatively benign.

          It’s more shining a spotlight on ugly facets of the country, and trying to make it common knowledge. While it should be, it’s still not widely known the type of things PoC have to deal with as a part of everyday life. These kind of problems are normally easier to combat when most people are aware of them.

          I definitely wouldn’t encourage any PoC to go to these places to make a point. Going to a club should be a fun occasion, and I think anyone should go where they choose. The crux of the piece is that PoC choices are more limited than they should be.

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  21. I’m not at all shocked. They have these sort of “exclusive” (and well veiled) kinds of establishments all over Manhattan. I have been “the odd Black” at a well buried club/party or two and, let me tell you, I didn’t feel special. One glance at the crowd and i knew the only reason I was granted entry was due to the party I was with that evening, because had I come alone…I would have go the “not tonight, guy” from some meathead at the door. The two points of the article that stuck out most was (for one) these primarily white clubs love Black music, but want no parts of us. Secondly, I’m surprised they were so sexist on top of being overtly racist. Most nightclubs are far less fastidious with female patrons, but I shouldn’t be shocked. After all, they have ‘Fancy’ and an assortment of appropriated imitation Black music to choose from these days. Like Voguing (which was created by gay Black men in NYC clubs and brought to light by Jody Watley, not Madonna) and Hip Hop, I suppose Black folks are getting the “Thanks, but well take it from here”, once again. Perhaps it’s past time we stop seeking basic humanity from those who obviously do not possess it and stop fighting to give them our money.

    People like to assume racism was created in America. It thrives here, but racial bias (and of course religious persecution) is Europe’s baby.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just to add to your comment, yes, these clubs do want lots of women in the building, but only certain types. It’s like I said about the “pretty” people. And history has taught us that black women don’t count as women in the eyes of many.

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  22. This is clearly a case of racism and it is all too common. This article aside, similar things happen in “exclusive” clubs in NYC as well. They treat Black people like absolute trash. It begs the question as to why Black people continue to queue up and spend big bucks in these establishments.

    It’s not a secret how these clubs operate and you’d have to be living in a hole to not know about their practices, yet come Friday and Saturday night, you’ll see Black people lining up for the mere privilege of getting the opportunity to pay $300 for a bottle of alcohol and be disrespected by doormen and club staff. It’s a pitiful sight. I’m a concert photographer and I keep late hours. After shows, I see the lines at clubs and it’s always Black folks pleading and begging with the bouncers and security to be let in, as scores and scores of white people are let in right in front of them. They never get the hint (or maybe they are in denial about white supremacy in action). They continue to beg, plead, explain away, talk about being on so and so guestlist (as if this matters to a white racist). They will demand answers, as if being denied entrance and being told you can’t come in is ambiguous. This is when some Black folks will think they can throw their weight around by asking to speak to management. Listen, you’re standing on a line outside (often in inclement weather) and a burly man guarding the door just told you to piss off. It should be pretty clear that you’ve got no weight to toss around at all and they don’t respect you. They don’t want you in their club! Yet, despite this treatment, Black folks will line up at another “exclusive” club only to be insulted again. This is madness.

    Granted, no one deserves to be treated like trash and don’t misconstrue this as me victim blaming, but at what point will we stop patronizing white owned establishments that continue to do us wrong? Even if they didn’t do us wrong, why do we want to go there to begin with? Is the allure to queue up on line, have your eardrums blown out with obnoxious music and spending a small fortune on overpriced drinks that great? Aside from the justified anger Black people should have after being discriminated against, the other question should be why some Black folks continue to play this game in the first place. Stop spending money with people who openly despise you. If it means going to a hole in the wall in South London, or staying home, then so be it. At least you’ll still have your dignity and most of all, you didn’t fatten the pockets of a white supremacist organization. Keep your money in your pockets or spend it in Black owned establishments if you are fortunate enough to have them where you live. Don’t force your way into spaces that don’t want you. Go where you are wanted. Go where you are respected. Go where you are welcomed.

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    1. I see what you’re saying, but the problem with this mindset is that it puts the responsibility on black people (and all PoC) to fix this problem. No PoC should have to avoid going to a club/bar. It’s the club/bar that shouldn’t be racist.

      The accountability lies solely with the venue in this case. No PoC should have to play a personal game of “pros and cons” with deciding where to go out, which includes, “Might not get in because PoC”.

      Like I said in the piece, just avoiding these places on their own is an understandable survival tool, and I wouldn’t impugn anyone who chooses to do so, but unless there’s pushback against this type of racist conduct by establishments, how will it ever change?

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      1. No mate, never said a thing about fixing a problem. Accountability? You think there’s accountability to be had here? LOL! In what world are you living in friend? When was the last time an establishment publicly acknowledged and owned up to their racism and white supremacy?

        Call me a pessimist, but I’m at a place where I know “the problem” will never be fixed, because it’s only a problem from the Black person’s perspective. We wouldn’t have to take action or write blog posts on these things if white people viewed it as a problem. For white people, by and large it’s no problem at all. It’s actually a solution to their problem, which is namely Black people in their spaces.

        In my opinion, it is foolhardy to have to convince someone of my humanity in the first place in this day and age. If the idea of change is me sitting in a racist’s establishment for the privilege of giving them my money after publicly shaming them, then I will pass. Of course, you’re free to see it a different way and some Black folks can keep pushing back. That’s their prerogative and choice to do so. I’m certainly not impugning anyone, but it’s a sad sight to see Black folks essentially begging. Let’s call it what it is. It is begging to be treated with decency and begging to get into places where they clearly aren’t wanted. Why would you want to be there? Some of us publicly shame these establishments in the hope that things change, with their idea of change being sitting at the table and in the spaces of those who openly despise Blackness. Some of us haven’t gotten the memo that white society falls in line with the viewpoint of these establishments, but for the sake of ending bad PR and expediency, these establishments will cave and “let you in”. Is that victory? To some it might be, but for me it’s not.

        Perhaps it’s pride, perhaps it’s my own idea of self respect, but when someone shows me how they are and what they think of me, I take notice and act accordingly. I’m not in the business of fixing a white supremacist’s perception of me or hammering them about entrance into their establishments. Why should I convince them that I am worthy? If they created a space that doesn’t want people like me, then so be it. I suppose I have the Zora Neale Hurston way of looking at things, in that it astonishes me that some choose to deny themselves the pleasure of my company. I certainly won’t be starting any campaigns for them to let me in otherwise. For what? Of course, if a Black person received bad treatment at these establishments, they should let people know about it publicly, but that should be about Black people not patronizing these establishments ever again, not about demanding entrance or pleading with them to “change”.

        I also see these blatant examples of racism as a reality check. Far too many of us have been lulled into the illusion of inclusion. Some really think that because they’ve got an education, nice jobs, nice clothes, nice living quarters and a rainbow coalition of friends from all backgrounds that racism is old news. Some of us don’t notice microagressions. The racism is subtle and covert. It literally takes a meathead manning a door at a club telling them to piss off and racially abusing them verbally for them to get it. An overt example snaps you back into reality and tells you what they really think. Forcing establishments that don’t give a damn about you to “let you in” just means they will cave and give you lip service because of bad PR. It doesn’t mean they want you there, it means they don’t want bad publicity. Again, that’s no victory to me. Furthermore, the racism will just be covert instead of overt. Maybe they’ll take longer to get you that bottle service in the VIP section, maybe they’ll ignore you, maybe they won’t give you their best service. But hey, they let you in their club!

        I’m fully aware that my views on this matter might not be for everyone and might be tough to swallow for some. That’s ok.

        Now if we want to talk about pushing back against things like the prison industrial complex, education reform, bank loans, home ownership and gentrification, then I’m all for it. As for pushing back regarding getting into the club on a Friday night. No thank you, I’ll pass on that. Speaking only for myself of course. Those that want to are free to do so.

        btw – I don’t do the “PoC thing”. In this situation I think you mean Black, not the umbrella term of PoC. It’s by and large Black people being treated like dirt and being denied entrance in these establishments. In the event you didn’t mean Black people exclusively, then I myself am talking about Black people exclusively. We can still center Black people, can’t we? I’m suffering from PoC fatigue to be frank.

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        1. Completely agree with you, I’m glad black people are realising so much more quickly now through social media that racism is alive and kicking.

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          1. There was a study done recently. Sorry, i forget the source, but it said UK blacks believe largely that class rather than race is in issue in their lives. It broke my heart. Blacks are insanely deluded that racism doesn’t exist in this country. Very sad.

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            1. I think that’s partly because in a large part of the national consciousness, there the mindset that the problem is class, and not race. There’s a lack of an intersectional approach, understanding how multiple oppressions can exist at once.

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              1. Absolutely agree, Shane. I also think part of this delusion, on the part of black folk is, interracial relationships being the norm now, has got folk thinking that it somehow means the racist system doesnt exist any longer.

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                1. That’s a fair point. Obviously it’s not the only factor, but any toxic structure is made up of myriad different aspects. Interracial relationships in and of themselves are fine, but it’s meretricious to say that racism is over because of them.

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        2. Well, yes, I think there is accountability to be had. You’re right that establishments owning up to their racism is conspicuous by its absence, but I think that’s something that needs to change.

          If it’s a problem that “will never be fixed”, then why pushback against any form of racism? Surely trying to combat racism in the prison industrial complex, education reform, bank loans, home ownership and gentrification would also be pointless, no?

          Btw, queuing up to enter a club isn’t “begging”. It’s demanding basic human treatment. I think you’re right about some people not noticing microaggressions, and stuff like this coming as a rude awakening, but the fault lies with the oppressor, never the oppressed.

          Re my use of PoC, my initial draft on this only mentioned black people. However – partly due to the rise of Islamophobia – South Asian people are often tarred with the brush of being troublemakers as well. Not wanting to exclude them, I ensured I used PoC.

          It’s a slightly different discussion, but I agree that sometimes non-black PoC like to co-opt the struggles of black people, and assume we all suffer the same issues when we don’t. But I didn’t think that was the case in this specific instance. However, I did distinguish the difference, as I specified that black women (especially dark-skinned) suffered the result of racist beauty standards.

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        3. I disagree. Leave these people ALONE! If they don’t want you in their clubs, then don’t go! I will never go to a place where I am not wanted. End of!

          Yes they are probably racist, but forcing them to accept black people ain’t gonna change their attitude. So let them be, and find another club that don’t discriminate.

          I have a serious problem with black people fighting to be accepted into establishments that clearly don’t want them, so please black people, have some dignity and pride, and take your business elsewhere. Yes I am black and proud, and I will never go to these kind of clubs, and guess what? My life still goes on.

          And yes, I know we have rights, blah, blah, blah. But these incidents are another wake up call to black people to realise that just because we can speak the queens English, and we now have degrees, and some of us try our hardest to behave as if we are white. The underlying fact is that you are judged based on your colour first and foremost.

          We as a people need to stop fighting for acceptance, and learn to empower ourselves so we can have choices and don’t have to be constantly begging the white man for his acceptance.

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          1. It’s interesting that a few people have said black people shouldn’t beg for acceptance. There was nowhere in the piece where I said they should. I also haven’t advocated for black people to head to Libertine en masse to demand they be allowed in.

            I don’t know if you’ve read Fisayo Longe’s blog that I linked it, but if you do, you’ll see she didn’t head to Libertine to beg to be allowed in the “white” club. She simply wanted to go out with friends after a long working week. Nothing more. That’s why many people go out in the first place. To let off steam and have fun.

            As I said in another comment, when racism occurs, the fault lies with the racist(s) only. No-one else. It doesn’t show a lack of dignity to want to go out with your friends, and although Libertine is a place I’d never go to, that doesn’t mean others shouldn’t have that option.

            The lack of choices PoC have isn’t down to lack of empowerment. That comment infers that it’s our own fault for racism. The problem isn’t PoC. The problem is white supremacy.

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            1. Do you think white people should stop going to these nights in order to not be seen as complicit? I hear what you are saying of course it is the fault of racists and POC want to go out and have a good time does not mean they are endorsing white supremacy!

              Loved your article btw!!

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              1. Interesting question. I wouldn’t want to say to white people who go to clubs like this, that it’s their fault the club has a racist door policy, but there’s no doubt if people stopped going, then it would send an important message. Sadly the current state of things indicates that if the bulk of those people were white, it’d probably have a greater impact than it PoC were to boycott.

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    2. Spot on. I apply this to people STILL begging Hollywood for more racially diverse films. Hollywood has been in existence for how long? 100 years +, no? I think it is obvious white hollywood do not care to change things.

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