London’s West End nightclubs are turning away black people: Why?

One woman was told she was ‘too dark’ for DSTRKT


Recently, two black girls were denied entry to DSTRKT after being told one was “too fat” and another was “too dark”. The girls looked like Instagram famous babes in my opinion, but that’s not the point: regardless of how they looked, these reasons for not letting someone in a club are complete trash.

The scandal comes on the heels of another incident where promoters for DSTRKT and other West London clubs told a girl “Do not bring fat girls” as they’d get turned away from Cirque. This wasn’t an isolated incident either: I’ve been told to only bring good-looking girls with me before, though I never actually believed the club would reject anyone who didn’t match their definition of pretty.

Everyone’s told to only bring good-looking girls with them but until recently I never believed they were serious

I’m the exact demographic West London clubs cater to. I’m white, middle class and I don’t look like I’ll start a fight. I’m petite, always nicely dressed and can afford (a few of) their extortionate drinks. I’ll travel the hour and a half journey to a West London club and not even think about having a backup plan if I’m turned away, because it’s never happened to me and it never will.

I fit in here. Due to their strict door policies I’m surrounded by other white girls, and the (also white) men who are too scared to approach me, so stay on their tables and in their booths, hoping the sparklers on their £1000 bottle of champagne will attract me enough to go over to them. I’m in a club surrounded by hundreds of clones of myself. But it’s always a shit night.

If you’ve never been to a West London club, let me paint you a picture. Guest list-only policies, doormen screaming at you for daring to talk in the smoking area, £20 vodka cokes, white girls with fake boobs staggering around in Louboutins which have seen better days, tables of semi-professional footballers holding bottles of Grey Goose to lure women to their table rather than to drink. All this plus a handful of black people who were only let in because they’re on one of the £800 table lists and arrived with a group of white people.

If you want to go out in West London, you'd better like sparklers

If you want to get a girl’s attention, have a sparkler in your drink

Racial sensitivity isn’t something West London understands. The DJ will happily play YG’s My Nigga to a crowd of white people who drunkenly point at their friends and sing along without thinking about what they’re saying. You’ll see white girls with ass implants wearing bindis, twerking and trying to make their butts the sole focus of group pictures. You can’t move for appropriation of black culture. So why are no actual black people allowed in these clubs?

West London clubs will always be exclusive. They wouldn’t be able to charge over £20 for entry if they let people in who were too drunk or didn’t search people for drugs.  I’m 100 per cent in favour of screening club-goers in this manner. At a push, I’d even defend their “Fewer men than women” policy, because I feel safer surrounded by a larger ratio of women than men. But they are out of their minds if they think it’s okay to be denying “fat” and black girls entry.

Obsession over getting the “right type” of people in your club isn’t a West London-only problem either. East London clubs with nights aimed at people of colour and black culture have come under fire recently when DJs have posted pictures of their “No grime and bashment” policies. On the rare occasion a club night allowing mostly black people in does happen, it’ll be monitored and shut down by police for no reason in a matter of hours.

Where exactly are black people meant to go in the evening if everywhere is too scared to let them in their clubs for absolutely no reason? Even typing this and separating people into “them” and “us” feels like something I shouldn’t have to do this many years after segregation ended. London: you need to sort yourself out. It may seem hyperbolic, but if you continue like this I wouldn’t be surprised to see a “separate but equal” policy come into play again.

I can only hope that, in a few years, some will shut their dated doors as more and more people turn away from their offensive notions of exclusivity. Maybe then, West London clubs will be replaced with something less discriminatory and racist.