Far too often we’ve had to write about Black women being mistreated in various locations. But there seems to be a particular phenome of Black women being degraded, denied, and in this instance, literally dragged from the club.
Rarely do these stories make the news. But if you talk to a handful of Black women, they have tales of blatant or subtle discrimination from the very same places meant to cater to paying customers.
There were the women who were dismissed from a restaurant in Ohio because the owner didn’t approve of their attire and natural hair.
And today, we learned the story of Keisha Young, a 22-year-old girl who was dragged down a flight of steps by her braids from a bar Washington, D.C. called Nellie’s Sports Bar.
There is video of the incident where thankfully other customers attempted to jump in and defend Young from the unnecessary assault.
Young told WUSA 9 she was assaulted by security for allegedly bringing a bottle from outside into the bar into the venue.
“It was an altercation in there. They were trying to get some other people out because somebody else brought a bottle in there. Somehow I got mixed up in an altercation because I look like somebody else and I got hit and dragged down the steps. I didn’t nothing wrong. And that’s all I remember, is first walking up the steps and getting dragged right back down the steps.”
When asked if she had seen the video of herself being dragged, Young said, “It’s a little bit much.”
Finally, in response to the reporter asking her what should be done about Nellies, Young said simply, “I want them gone.”
In response to the incident, Nellies issued a statement via their Instagram page.
“We were incredibly upset and disturbed to see the unfortunate event that took place at Nellie’s last night. We are undergoing a full investigation of the situation. At Nellie’s we foster an inclusive and safe environment, so events like this are completely unacceptable to us.”
Comments for the post have been restricted.
As video from the altercation went viral, local organizers staged a protest at Nellie’s in defense of Black women.
A protestor explained that Young is a college student who was at the bar to celebrate pride. Much of Nellie’s clientele belong to the LGBTQ+ community. And also shared the reason people had gathered to protest in her honor.
“America, just like this white a$$ establishment, don’t respect Black women and they damn sure don’t respect Black people. So we’re here to hold their a$$ accountable. There is no Pride without Black people. Because Stonewall was a muthaf*ckin riot. And being in Chocolate City, we’re going to shut this sh*t down.”
Another protester shared that this is not the first time Nellie’s has been accused of only respecting Black dollars but not Black people.
“None of this is new. Yesterday was not a surprise to me…I was disheartened. I was frustrated. I was livid but not a surprise because many of us have dealt with this from Nellie’s security, from Nellie’s management, from Nellie’s owner.”
He said bar employees have made comments about putting upsales on Hennessey, a stereotypical Black drink. He encouraged people in the D.C. area to boycott the institution in favor of establishments that care more for their customers.
In 2018, the bar drew attention for hanging a “thin blue line” flag. While the flag was created in the sixties to honor officers, it has most recently been associated with white supremacist groups. The bar explained the decision saying that they hung it in an attempt to honor officers killed in the line of duty and apologized for people associating it with standing on the side of police despite the brutality enacted by police against people of color.
In light of this history and the most recent incident with Young, protesters are asking that the community protest in front of the space and boycott the establishment entirely.