It’s been a little over a month since DSTRKT, a popular London nightclub made international news for allegedly refusing to allow a group of Black women in because they were “too dark” and “too fat,” now, another UK club has apparently done it again.
According to London-based blogger Jessica Gregory, she and her friends were turned away from Bambu, a club in Birmingham, England, because there were already “too many Black people inside.” The result? Gregory’s entire 11-woman group, which consisted of both Black and biracial women, didn’t get in.
She detailed the experience on Facebook.
So last night myself and of group of friends drove to Birmingham for a birthday celebration! Very excited we spent money on the travel, hotel and in the week the birthday girl booked us on a guest list for a bar/club called BAMBU.
When they arrived, however, Gregory’s group–some of whom had driven about 120 miles to celebrate their friend’s birthday for the weekend–were told they weren’t on the guest list.
“We were asked to ‘step out’ the queue while they continued to let in white guests,” Gregory said in an email to CLUTCH.
While they waited for the club to decide if their group would be allowed in, Gregory said another group of Black women were also turned away.
Feed up, the birthday girl asked to speak with the manager who told them part of their group could get in the club. The catch? The invite only applied to the biracial women.
“He pointed three of the mixed race girls out and said they could come in. However pointed to the darker skinned girls and said they couldn’t,” Gregory explained. “This contradicted the fact they were adamant NONE of us were on the guest list, so therefore if it’s a guest list only policy, why are they hand picking who can suddenly come in?”
Gregory continued: “We were a group of mixed race and Black girls, a range of sizes smallest being a 6 and biggest being a 16, but it seems he picked the 3 mixed race girls all sizes 6-8 and told the rest of us we simple weren’t on the list.”
The women didn’t let the incident mess up the celebration, however. They set off to another club, but the encounter still stung.
“We were disappointed and essentially really hurt by it all,” Gregory admitted. “It’s the knowledge that these places are so comfortable discriminating because they have always been allowed to run this way and never faced any backlash from it.”
Since sharing her story on Facebook, others have spoken up as well.
— Marti Burgess (@martiburgess) October 25, 2015
— Dane Baptiste (@DaneBaptweets) October 27, 2015
😂 no shock to me this has been going on for years at that place https://t.co/i38TZHXUSY
— #Finessin‼️ (@A_Finese) October 26, 2015
— Kash Rex (@KashRex) October 29, 2015
@BambuBirmingham I remember when me and my bredin showed up in suits and despite being on guest list still never got in lol
— Wiz (@WizFlickz) October 27, 2015
This isn’t the first time Bambu’s been accused of racism. In September, the club allegedly told a Black job applicant they were hiring but needed “less Afro Caribbean staff.”
While some have chided Gregory and her friends for not doing their research about Bambu’s history before booking a reservation, she thinks the criticism misses the point.
“I don’t believe we should have to research whether ‘plus size or Black’ is a no entry policy for a club,” she told CLUTCH. Gregory runs the site, The Fat Funny One, and writes about body positivity and loving yourself unconditionally.
“When we look up where to go, we look at the music being played, the cocktail menu, the decor, the location. I don’t sit and count how many Black people I see in the promo pics to work out if we will be allowed in, but it seems that’s what we have to do? No. I’m not comfortable with that at all,” she said.
Gregory said the folks at Bambu have yet to respond to her messages, but the club issued a statement denying the claims via Twitter.
— Bambu (@BambuBirmingham) October 26, 2015
Despite their PR attempt, many didn’t buy Bambu’s version of events.
@BambuBirmingham Terrible response from management, what a cop out. Own up to your mistakes and make a change!!!!
— Liv Morgan (@Livliverbird) October 27, 2015