Monday, December 18, 2006

Onyx's not the Men's Club

I expected Onyx, formerly Rick’s Cabaret, to be a black version of the Men’s Club.

After interviewing the company spokesman, I envisioned Onyx as a place where I’d see black men wearing collared shirts, slacks or at least fitted jeans and nice shoes.

When I arrived about midnight Saturday, the line stretching down the side of the building told me Onyx was no Men’s Club. Men waiting to get inside wore oversized jeans and shirts, ball caps and track jackets.

I thought the men wearing athletic gear would be turned away because they weren’t wearing the proper clothes for an upscale club, but once inside, I realized these men made up the bulk of clientele.

I don’t know how folks party in Houston (home of Rick’s first Onyx club), but the Charlotte crowd wasn’t upscale on Saturday, the finale of a three-night grand opening party. It was the same crowd I’ve seen at Champagne and Peaches and Cream, but at a nicer venue and with better-looking dancers.

Let me clarify: I don’t have a problem with the oversized-jeans and ball-caps crowd. I don’t have a problem with Champagne or Peaches and Cream. But if I’m supposed to be going to an upscale club for professionals, I don’t expect to see patrons who look like they stepped out of a Lil Jon video. Yeeayah!

This crowd tends to be fun, lively and willing to spend money on
dancers and alcohol, but it will also keep the doctors and lawyers away.

With that said, Saturday’s crowd was 70 percent men and 30 percent women (not including the dancers). The manager said the club had about 65 dancers there that weekend. Sitting in the audience, you couldn’t turn around without seeing somebody getting a private dance, and there was also at least one dancer on stage. They ranged from looking so skinny that a bucket of Bojangles would only get them to a size 2 to looking so overweight that Jenny Craig would run away screaming.

The women hailed from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, including white.

Our favorite dancer was Black Ice. She had ebony skin, a fiery red mohawk, a ripped body and a feather getup that was far more creative than the G-strings most women wore. It’s a nice club and a fun crowd, but black professionals will have to be willing to get out of their element if they plan to hang there.

Here’s my question: Am I stereotyping Charlotte’s black professionals? Are most of them willing to party with the white T-shirt crowd whether it’s at a strip club or any other night spot?

Post your replies below.

Also, on Wednesday I will address the uproar I caused when I announced the arrival of Onyx. Several blog readers were upset that Onyx explicitly caters to African-Americans.

This anonymous quote is indicative of several posts: "You are such a hypocrite. If a club that ‘caters to’ white people was opening, you’d be first in line to call that racist. Yet this you celebrate because it is geared towards blacks."

I’ll say this now: Unless a club calls itself a hip-hop club, an urban club, a Latin club or a club for any other ethnic minority, the assumption is that the club caters to white people. But let’s talk about this on Wednesday afternoon.


LaniLaKai said...

Being a young, black professional (I truly hate that term) female, I would rather NOT go out of my element and hang with the white T shirt crowd, no matter where it was. I wasn't raised around those type of people and don't want to put my life in danger...yeah, I said it...for the sake of going out and having a couple of drinks. I'll stick to the "white places".

Jules McNamara said...

"I’ll say this now: Unless a club calls itself a hip-hop club, an urban club, a Latin club or a club for any other ethnic minority, the assumption is that the club caters to white people. But let’s talk about this on Wednesday afternoon."

Ok. The fact is blacks as an ethnic group aren't going to go to any club en masse unless it is a designated "black club". This is the hypocrisy of the African American condition, the fact that they are the ones who insist on segregating themselves. They actively resist any effort to assimilate themselves.

Any sort of notion that if a club isn't a designated ethnic club is a "white" club is clearly a by-product of racialist attitudes presented by black people themselves.

That, along with your veiled separtist rhetoric implys that there's some racial opression at work, when this is clearly a byproduct of black America's seperatist and racialist mentality. At least Tonya and the idiots she works so hard to "give a voice to" has finally found some common ground with David Duke.

You can't have it both ways. You can't be both equal and seperate, society doesn't work that way.

As for the menacing 4X white T shirt wearing idiots, the only people that want to party with them are other 4X white T shirt wearing idiots and the socially challenged women that love them. Just because people don't want to associate with thugs and advocate the wholesale pollution of public places with them and the laundry list of problems that comes along with them doesn't make them racists.

How dare you suggest I accept the gang-banging crime, violence and stupidity that swirls around these idiots like a virus in the name of racial equality.

My advice to you and all the rest of stupifyingly assinine idiots who don't want to understand or admit the realities of what it means to be a responsible adult should grow the hell up and stop whining about how you're being "kept down" when the truth is you get more breaks than anyone.

Maybe if these droopy-drawer slack-ass backward hat wearing imbeciles started acting like they had some self-respect, dress, get an education and a job and talk like adults, then maybe they'll finally get treated as such.

You have to give respect to get it.

Nikki St. Croix said...

*rolls eyes* Sigh...The same exact thing can be said about clubs who don't designate themselves as Goth, Gay, Country, etc..

When it comes to nightclubs, it's about concepts and genres, not about skin color. Jameson is clearly trying to create an issue where there is none. Why would people who enjoyed listening to hiphop want to spend their free time and disposable income on a place that didn't play hip hop??

What would make you happy, if just every place in the free world forced everyone to listen to hip-hop so they aren't viewed as racially intolerant??

Damn. You would think a black women that makes a living covering the bar scene would know these simple everyday truths.

Seriously Tonya, I'm embarassed for you. You're a clueless idiot who shouldn't be allowed to inflict this lame nonsense on the public. I hope your boss is reading this.

Lee-Lee said...

Just because people wear hip-hop attire it doesn't mean that your life will be put into danger if you hang around them. I have a couple of friends that are in the NBA and NFL and when we go out that is a very popular clothing of choice. Surely no one gets the idea that there life is in danger when they see them. So as far as I'm concerned Ms.Ianilakai stick to the "white places" because your ignorant stereotypical kind is not needed.

Grant Wickersham said...

It's clear Tonya has pulled a "Kramer" what with her ridiculous comments about Allen Iverson and Ghetto Topless Clubs enhancing the city's nightlife, (what!?!?!) and has no other recourse to keep repeating her own collosally ignorant comments and her ironically backward views on race that she painted herself in corner with.

It's time we ignored this sad and shamelessly dumb caricature named Tonya and move forward.

The fact this piece of trash blog is associated with a site like makes my face burn with shame. I say dump it, and dump tonya.


Anonymous said...

The Observer will never dump Tonya because she is good at playing the race card when she needs readers.

MrAfternoon said...

i just hate it when clubs cater to white people. Like Applebees...Applebees was Krunk of the chain last tuesday night...they had 1/2 price riblets, and my boyz and i were dancing the chicken noodle soup, and these white people just looked at us..I KNOW! LOOKED AT US!!!! listen, I know that Applebees is white people food, with their chicken bowls and chicken parmesan, but why cant a club like Applebees let me and my brothers and sistas get ill once in a while? And they tried to kick Dashiki out because she brought her bojangles chicken box in (she dont dine on swine, so no tasty Riblets for her...) Especially on Riblet Night! come ON!! Wake up white people, and wake up Applebees while your at it! We just trying to keep it Real!!!


ps- Anyone know how to get Riblet sauce out of an Allen Iverson jersey?

Janet L. Franco said...

Tonya writes:"They ranged from looking so skinny that a bucket of Bojangles would only get them to a size 2 to looking so overweight that Jenny Craig would run away screaming"

Wow. Nice to see Tonya is doing her part to promote unhealthy attitudes towards women's body image issues. Way to go , homegirl!!

Makes a nice side line in addition to her trying to create racial unrest in Mecklenburg County with these boneheaded and meritless musings of hers.

I'm guessing we won't ever see her shaking her plus-sized, saggy old milk chocolate booty on any local club runways or stripper poles either, thank goodness.

Anonymous said...

The issue is not about race, it's about having a classy place to go to. As a white male, I'd like trying to enjoy a rock show at Amos' without some redneck or testoserone charged meathead picking a fight after too many beers. I would assume most African Americans, or 'buppies', would like the same...a nice, professional place to go without the 'ghetto-fab' element stinking up the scene. It's not about race, it's about taste. Unfortunately, most Charlotteans, black or white, don't have any good taste. And another thing, I don't see how a topless bar enhances the quality of Charlotte nightlife, no matter what race of demographic it caters to.


Jimmy Mac said...

My God Topless nightclubs a pressing social issue for Charlotte?
Sorry homegirl even though we are both from Charm City,you are going to go down alone on this post!Shee!

Anonymous said...


The term upscale as it pertains a strip club references the quality of the strippers. These girls will normally be more attactive than the average stipper you may find at other places. The clientele will remain the same yet the upscale club will also caters to the ball players, entertainers, and high profile individuals.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that a "white" strip club like Men's Club, Uptown Cabaret, or Platinum Plus in Cola are very different experiences than a "black" strip club like Peaches and Cream, Bada Bing, or Fantasy Island in Cola.

Plus, the clubs are just better in Columbia anyway. They're aren't as stuck on themselves and more friendly down there anyway!

George said...

Aw, come on. She threw out a thought-provoking question, and some of you shouldn't even be allowed to join the dialogue if you're going to naively insist it's all about "concepts" or class. Of course race is always an issue in this town. I accept that, based on the simple fact that in this country's short history, not enough time has passed to make it otherwise in a still relatively small southern city just beginning to accept, and thankfully, for the sake of the economic success of us all, the necessity of welcoming black and other non-white people with money to spend on the town. I love this town because of its promise of the good life -- good weather, good economy, natural beauty -- but I as a black professional have had experiences in a (very) few of the city's establishments that give me pause when considering where to hang out. And they come from both sides of the fine citzenry -- white and black, or I should say 2 of the 3, although I haven't gotten to know much of Charlotte's Latino scene in the year and a half I've been here. But I can tell you, while some of my less-sophisticated brethren can be wary of a mixed-blood but raised-in-the-black-American-culture black man, they are nowhere near as hostile as many if not most of the locals I've encountered outside of the uptown spots (e.g. brothers beware of a few places in Plaza-Midwood or the Montford Rd area). That is why I am just as likely as not to choose the white T-shirt crowd over another scene, depending on my mood and companions, if any. And quite apart from the patrons, a lot of the local bar owners have adopted their own suspicious parameters to decide whether to admit or, in some specious cases, eject, certain people based on whether they think it's good for their business. These spontaneous applications of the "parameters" usually appear to me to come down to how many blacks and/or Latinos they think is good for business. Things like this make it sad that a simple matter of deciding where to go out has to take all this into account. But this is how I see it through my own prism, at least.