Stories of black women being excluded from nightlife venues have been circulating for years—on Yelp, social media, and discussion forums. The stories are nearly identical across the country—being denied access to bars and clubs for not “having the right look.” Women of color who didn’t fit mainstream beauty standards—for hairstyle, body type, skin tone, etc. —were most often excluded. Yet these aren’t isolated incidents. This interview exposes the most common exclusionary practices by nightlife “gatekeepers,” and how nightlife in the future can be more welcoming and comfortable for women of color.
Sarah Toutant is a Ph.D. Candidate in Urban Education Policy at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education and Researcher at the USC Race and Equity Center.