The birthday crew

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.

The partygoers.

The birthday crew

“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.

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.”

Jessica Gregory

Jessica Gregory

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 Oneand 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.

Despite their PR attempt, many didn’t buy Bambu’s version of events.

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  • Lelani

    We are back to the same struggle from the civil rights era to fight for the rights of black people to be included in public/social spaces. This may have happened in England, but it happens here in the U.S also. Plus America was created by British colonists, they share a similar racial view. Guest list indeed. The struggle continues.

    • Windy Johnson

      we need to have our own clubs and stop trying to assimilate into white ones, they will never accept us.

    • Lelani

      Maybe, but we should not have to. Plus I don’t see it as assimilation, but more like being able to be part of your community and enjoying all the facilities, including clubs that are available to everyone else.

  • First, I am glad that more people are overtly opposing this form of discrimination. Any policy of unwarranted discrimination that is racist should be called out. The freedom movements in the UK and in America continue today. Back decades ago, Afro-British freedom fighters Claudia Jones, Darcus Howe, Olive Morris, and Paul Stephenson stood up against discrimination. Today, we are still fighting the same fight. I commend those who told their story since we need more awareness. The Bambu club is trying to insult people’s intelligence since tons of people have given testimony to its racist actions. We will stand up by using our resources to support those who support us and never ally or financially support those who harm us or discriminates against us.

  • mdottwo

    Necessity is the mother of invention. BLACK WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD,

    • vintage3000

      Yup, then watch everyone else try to get into these banging clubs started by savvy Black women.

    • Mr. Z

      isn’t that the truth… then will come the cry of reverse racism…

  • vintage3000

    It would be great for some savvy Black Brits with connections (mostly women though) to pool their resources and open their own banging club. Then watch everybody else try to get in.

  • mywordsaremypower

    Oh yes America only has a race issue. Being from England myself I can testify among others it is still here and has not gone. You have white English people say there is no racism here anymore but then spew the most foul shit when it comes to anyone who is not white and not been born and bred in their country. It does not surprise me, but I bet you they will playing some R’n’B and Hip Hop. We should just make our own spaces and then see what happens. White tears will flow and feet will be stomped about how come we cannot come in. I say we start to push back.