TRUE Kitchen + Kocktails in Dallas, Texas was at the center of a social media firestorm this past weekend after video showed the restaurant’s owner—Mr. Kevin Kelley going slap crazy on a group of women who had been dancing on his furniture, taking photos with their heels digging inside the surface of his couches and seats, and twerking liberally about the restaurant.
The video was posted to Twitter by user @DJGreenVillain, and shows a person who resembles Kelley going into a James Evan’s Sr. style chastisement of the women and their overzealous response to a Dallas anthem by spirited Dallas rapper Lil Ronny MothaF’s “Circle (Throw Dat Ass In A Circle).”
Check out the video by clicking the link below, which has garnered up more than a million views, here:
I understand how difficult it can be sometimes in providing elevated experiences within some segments of our communities. Regardless, the experience at TRUE is ripe for discussion and is ultimately a lesson we can all learn something from. Here’s my score card on the fiasco.
|James Evans Sr.
|Twerking Black Ladies||Winner|
|His use of profanity when addressing Black women was out of pocket.||A Black man should not be comfortable speaking to Black Women in that manner. Would he have cursed out a group of twerking white women? What about a group of Black men?||Twerking Ladies|
|Customers were wrong to damage his property, disrespect the brand, and disturb other diners.||Regardless of how moved they were by the music, dancing on the furniture and disrespecting the environment was wrong. Their behavior was childish, embarrassing and toxic. It’s not asking too much for Black people to show respect for Black spaces. If this were a white owned space, would these ladies have behaved the same way?||James Evans Sr.|
|The type of music played in the restaurant determines the customers’ behavior is a fallacy. The owner should be able to have any type of music playing without it being used as an excuse to behave inappropriately, damage his property and destroy the atmosphere for other diners.||The ladies were wrong. If you can’t control yourself from the sound of music, then that is called a possession. They were possessed by the sounds of Lil Ronny and James Evans simply became the Restaurant Exorcist. With any good exorcism, there will be profanity one way or another.
I used to love visiting this amazing taco spot in LA that played heavy metal. Not once did a mosh pit break out. I also attended a TRAP Yoga session, and at no point did anyone lose control and begun twerking on the furniture. So, let’s kill the argument that music is the culprit in ADULTS making childish decisions.
|James Evans Sr.|
|The owner’s decision to address the entire restaurant regarding the ladies’ behavior was unnecessary.||Twerking ladies were wrong, but the rest of the restaurant didn’t need to hear that.||Twerking Ladies|
Looks like a tie. What they both have in common is self-hate. Each party shows the work that needs to be done to respect ourselves and each other. The owner’s language was inappropriate and the queens’ behavior was disrespectful.
The restaurant attempted to create a space for our people to enjoy ourselves through dining, craft cocktails, and music that is indicative segments of our culture. The ladies’ excitement when they heard the music is perhaps understandable, but they should have respected the owner’s apparent requests to tone it down. Again, had this been a white establishment, neither incident would have happened. James Evans would not have arrived and the women would not have disrespected the establishment in that manner. More examples of the privileged that is enjoyed by our melanin and gluten free brothers and sisters.
For all the folks suggesting that the owner should have escorted the ladies out, do you really think they would have left willingly? To James Evans’ credit, he didn’t call the police. Had he gone that far, possibly creating another unnecessary hashtag, everyone would really be angry with him. You know good and well ain’t no escorting our people outta no where so chill with that recommendation.
Ultimately, I pray that the Black food and drink ecosystem can receive the same amount of press for positive experiences. Like when our chefs receive the James Beard Award or when our chefs, cooks, and owners are pull together to help feed our neighborhoods through Covid or natural disasters or to spotlight the resiliency of our spaces surviving what is now the restaurant apocalypse. Maybe talk about how our farmers are working with Black Caribbean nations in creating trade agreements or what can be done to stop the green economy from leaving our food and drink entrepreneurs behind. Let’s join in sharing those stories as well. Let’s celebrate and congratulate those who are making a difference in the minority food and drink industry, like the creation of www.myblackpantry.com, the nation’s largest Black Owned culinary product website. Let’s give the press something to talk about.
Yeah, give us the same press you give the anti-twerking mess. Follow us @thehungryblackman and subscribe to us by placing your email below. For further reading on this topic, check out our last article here: https://thehungryblackman.com/2016/09/15/stop-talking-s-about-black-restaurants/
I get the frustration but this food has my full attention!