It was on this day in 1968 that Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered. His life is celebrated on the third Monday of January near the date of his birth, the 15th. This is a nightlife column and I will deal with that narrow window in regards to Dr. King’s legacy. Despite a black president and a supreme court justice and many milestones, black youth are still snuffed out in random acts of ignorance and/or hate, and black role models mostly play with some sort of ball. Again, I’m just a nightlife blogger so I will keep to what I know. I know Martin Luther King’s birthday falls on a Monday and so clubs usually make much-needed loot off the 3-day winter weekend. For most operators, rememberance stops there.
I see an industry where it seems that there are even less black people in power than, say, 10 years ago. Racism in upper management, the job market, and at the doors of top-notch clubs is still rampant. The answer from one player was that his joint is not racist at all – the motivation for entry isn’t really black or white or yellow, just green. If a person is buying bottles his money is, within reason, good. There is always the qualifier: those if’s, and if he is within reason to justify what really happens. The percentage of non-whites in the perceived best joints does not reflect reasonable racial policies.
Out in Bed. Stuy. this past weekend for the Awards Ball, my companion and I were two of possibly half a dozen "white" people among the thousands. Although those kind of ratios are rare, I have been in supposedly chic NYC spots and seen only a handful of non-whites amongst the crowd. Of these "lucky" few, most were models or well-known atheletes or musicians with very small entourages. As far as staff, a handful of non-security personnel keep it from being obvious. One dude told me that "they" aren’t turned away; "they" just don’t show up. I wondered if "they" knew not to show up because "they’ were denied entry when the place first opened. "They" probably talk.
It was refreshing to see a black doorman at Southside, a place I visited once a few years ago with a beautiful, 6-foot, educated black woman. On that night, it was just her and a couple of promoter-types that were non-white inside. She noticed and was taken aback. In a column around the holidays that year, when I was giving out gift ideas for club operators, I offered them "Brotherly Love." Brotherly Love is still mainly missing around town and It just isn’t cool. I think club operators should take a minute or three on a day like this to remind staff of their obligations to move off these disgusting norms. They may want to practice their speech in the mirror before…and after.
From Dr. King’s "I Have a Dream" speech:
"All I’m saying is simply this: that all life is interrelated, that somehow we’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one, directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality."