A Black restaurant owner has received backlash after he was filmed telling Black diners he didn’t allow “twerking” in his establishment and refused to accept that “part of the culture” at his restaurant.
Kevin Kelley owner of True Kitchen and Kocktails in Texas addressed social media over a viral video of him yelling at customers to leave because they were dancing and standing on furniture.
In the video posted to Twitter on November 29, a customer is filming themselves eating while a live DJ is heard in the background, and in security vision shared by Mr Kelley, customers can be seen dancing and one person was seen standing on furniture.
‘Don’t bring it here’
Halfway through the video Mr Kelley can be heard shouting as he asks for the music to be turned off so he can address customers’ behaviour.
“I invested a lot of money into buying this building and to developing this concept so Black people can have a nice place to go to, ok?” Mr Kelley yells.
“Somewhere where our people can feel good about ourselves and our culture,” he says about the restaurant that serves comfort food and celebrates recipes from traditional Black culture.
“So all this twerking and s**t, take it to the (club), don’t bring it here because we’re a restaurant,” Mr Kelley yells.
After the video was released online several people argued that if the restaurant owners didn’t want customers dancing, they shouldn’t have a live DJ playing dance music.
“So shouldn’t the music reflect the environment he wants for the establishment?” one user asked on Twitter.
While others suggested Mr Kelley didn’t have a problem with dancing in general, only that the female customers were ‘twerking’ - a dance move made popular by Black music and considered as part of Black culture.
“It’s gross seeing Black people look down on each other for DANCING. Lol something we naturally do in our native lands. You can’t say you stand for Black people and then tear them down,” one person wrote on Twitter.
‘Culture not an excuse for twerking’
The restaurant owner addressed the video on Facebook writing he wanted to “share a bit of detail associated with our guests twerking, being asked to stop, being addressed, and asked to leave”.
Mr Kelley started off the post by “apologising for my poor choice of wording” and said he had already addressed the customers’ behaviour and had reached his “final straw” when he was filmed yelling at them.
“We reserve the right to address guests who we believe fall below the standards of the concept created,” Mr Kelley wrote.
Mr Kelley posted three videos from security cameras that showed the customers dancing and having a conversation with him before the video of him shouting was filmed.
Mr Kelley said he was initially concerned from a legal perspective as one customer “stood on her seat, placed her hands against the glass windows and began to twerk”.
“My immediate reaction was this woman could fall through this window and we could be the target of a lawsuit if she is injured. My second reaction was enough is enough.
“After already addressing this behaviour twice, these customers no longer deserved the courtesy of kindness I expressed in the earlier encounters as it was met with disrespect and intentionally ignored. This is why they were told to leave,” Mr Kelley wrote.
The owner said he was planning to adjust the music played in the restaurant and that regardless of the type of music played, ‘twerking’ was not welcome at his restaurant.
“As for twerking being a part of our culture, we do not welcome the part of the culture that will come into a restaurant, stand on furniture and twerk while using “culture” as an excuse.”
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