UPDATE: Blake’s on the Park has responded to the dress code sign controversy, see bottom of article.

Two weeks ago, people of all colors in the LGBT community came together at the intersection of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue to celebrate a major civil rights accomplishment. Now an incident at that same intersection is raising concerns over racial attitudes within the community.

Popular Atlanta gay bar Blake’s on the Park is taking heavy criticism for a sign displaying a new dress code, which includes restrictions like “No hoodies,” “No sagging pants,” “No bandanas/dew rags” and “No oversized chains or medallions.”

The final line of the sign says, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”

blake's full sign

(Photo courtesy Gee Session-Smalls)

“To me I took it as ‘We prefer blacks not to be here’ without saying ‘No blacks,’” says Gee Session-Smalls, who was at the bar Thursday evening and posted a picture of the sign to social media, leading to a flood of comments and critiques. “Even though many of us do not dress like that, I still take offense to it because I know you’re trying to eliminate a group of people.”

Session-Smalls, co-founder of The Gentlemen’s Foundation, says he asked the doorman how long the dress code had been in place, and he answered, “As of 30 minutes ago.” The sign was posted at both the front and back entrances.

The sign was no longer there as of Friday morning but it is unclear if it is only posted during working hours. No one answered the door at either entrance, a Blake’s employee who answered the phone would not comment on the matter and Blake’s management did not return calls or text messages.

Holiday Simmons, the the director of community education and advocacy for LGBT legal group Lambda Legal, says, “Certainly some of these are based on racial stereotypes and that’s highly problematic. We believe in intersectional work and LGBT equality is nothing without racial justice. We are a diverse community of people of color, people with disabilities, all kinds of folks and Blake’s in particular is sort of a meeting place for so many people during Pride season and throughout the summer, so we don’t know if they are intending this or not but it’s certainly suggestive in ways that are problematic.”

For Session-Smalls, the sign isn’t an anomaly but a trend.

“I think that in Atlanta, especially amongst the black community, there is an overall feeling that we aren’t really welcomed in a lot of the gay bars and establishments,” Session-Smalls says. “Blake’s being one of them, but we don’t have many choices of where to go.”

[poll id=”140″]

UPDATE 2:01 p.m.: Blake’s on the Park posted the following response on Facebook. The message reads in full:

In an effort to improve the safety of our customers at Blake’s on the Park, the management team met to discuss measures that might be taken to curb the presence of unidentifiable individuals within the establishment. The primary concern was the wearing by some of hoodies and dark glasses so as to make oneself unidentifiable. When we have had to review videotape for security reasons, the perpetrators have consistently been wearing such attire. Our customers must feel safe and the banning of hoodies and dark glasses, especially at night, will be enforced. 


The recent posting of a laundry list of banned dress was not developed by management of Blake’s. The dress code is a standard code adopted by many local clubs and bars. Our intention was to post an edited list to address our specific needs, but the code was prematurely posted in error prior to the appropriate edits having been made.

We apologize to anyone who was offended by the error. We welcome ALL at Blake’s, and we will continue to make efforts to ensure the safety of ALL our customers.

Here is the post:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152996221482654

psaunders@thegavoice.com | @patricksaunders

66 Responses

  1. Gregg Wynn

    Bad journalism at work here. There is no corroboration behind the facts. This an example of terrible reporting.

    Reply
    • Matt

      Gregg, the newspaper here has done their due diligence, seeking, they say, multiple times in multiple ways to get comment from Blake’s. They cannot control if Blake’s declines to comment. If they later decide to comment, I’m sure Georgia Voice will update their story.

      Reply
    • Johnny

      There were a couple of different photos of the same sign. Unless you are suggesting it was a mass hallucination. Regardless, if this isn’t true then the owners would have (or should have) been very quick to kill the story. Which they didn’t. This makes me think it was indeed real.

      Reply
      • Chris

        I agree. Like, how hard is it to show a picture of the sign or link me to their statement? Damn. Get it together.

    • ChristopherATL

      Blake’s has always been a “certain type of gay bar” anyway. The guys who go there epitomize the worst stereotypes in the gay community and the posting of this sign is no big surprise. The degree of bigotry among some gay men goes hand in hand with the pathetic nature of the plastic sub culture who frequent Blake’s. Maybe it is my own bias but their clientele always made me cringe the few times I ever walked in. Let them have the label wearing queens. It’s that kind of bar.

      Reply
      • What you say

        I agree Blakes has always promoted a unspoken white’s only policy to the point that I have seen their patron’s verbally attack black men and call them “nigger” in front of management and absolutely nothing was done. It has been a constant thing floating around about the “niggers will ruin our bar.” Racism is very much alive in the gay community. Wake up people.

    • Nonya

      I don’t understand why you all are so shocked? Blake’s, Burkharts, Heritic, Woofs, Eagle, and even Bulldog etc… all have been racist for years. The owner of Bulldogs, The Eagle, Burkharts and Woof have all said that BLACK men are only good for sex but not to date. And you are shocked because they put a sign up… GET REAL!! They owner are still alive and just as racist as they were back in the 80s and 90s. What we need to is open up new places for all and maybe a few place for BGM OWNED BY BGM a FBGBBG (For black gays By black gays)

      Reply
  2. Kieran

    I recently went to a gay bar whose dress code was. “Leave your tennis shoes at home and dress like you’re meeting your boyfriend’s stuck up mother.” Most of that would me off the list and is worded in a way that doesn’t make you sound like a douche.

    Reply
  3. Starship Captain

    Why not just a picture of the one or two people you want everyone to look like who enters the bar?

    Reply
  4. Kan

    Of course they r racist the white gays r super racist in Atlanta if your not white your wrong I never had any problems at blakes but I know they r racist

    Reply
  5. Jerry Hohnson

    A few of these could be suspect.
    I do want to ask the question: WHy do you think People do not want Blacks in the Bars? there must be a reason behind it..

    Reply
    • DW

      Yeah, just like there must have been a reason to keep blacks out of lunch counters, swimming pools and the front rows of buses 40 years ago. Right?

      Reply
      • Jerry Hohnson

        I know for MANY people it is all about hating a certain Skin Color.
        But the question needs to be asked.. If this is not the case, what is it that makes other races question why they are afraid of blacks? Why do they not want to socialize ? Why do they question why they keep their distance and are not open to friendship..?? These are sincere questions we need to be asked? Why is there so much Violence in S/W Atl?

    • Bree

      Because many white people in Atlanta’s parents and grandparents were spending their free time picketing integration and throwing rocks at buses, and this generation was raised where it may have been illegal to discriminate but their parents sure said a lot of nasty things in the home when they were growing up. Why don’t they want to socialize with the black people in their community as adults? Because as children they were socialized not to do so.

      Reply
    • Mouse

      Aside from multiple robberies carried out by people of color near Blake’s, sometimes a bars clientele changes without the establishments control. This can lead to lower bar sales, higher frequency of violent or criminal incidents at the bar, and unhappy employees. There is no easy solution to this sort of thing, and it can ruin a bar in a short amount of time. Atlanta is notorious for taking it out on people of color–and these are the reasons the Atlanta city council scaled back last call 13 years ago, effectively running many bars and clubs into the ground. Let’s hope the city council doesn’t pull this shit again.

      Reply
    • Ron

      Pre-judging based on skin color is a slippery slope; I mean, a lot of wild-eyed white dudes have been gunning down rooms full of people, here lately.  Wouldn't want that stereotype to stick, would we?

      PS, I'm white.

      Reply
  6. Andreas

    I wish they did this in LA. Majority of gay men in LA dress like shit looking like they came straight from the gym. It’s not acceptable. Straight people dress better in clubs than gay people do.

    Reply
    • T.A

      I agree Andreas…when I moved to LA 15 years ago and the gay guys made an effort to l dress nicely and look good when they went to the clubs. Then something happened and there was this shift where people started wearing flip flops and workout clothes to the gym and it has gotten worse ever since. And you’re right about straight clubs as well. The straight guys use to dress like crap now they’re all metro and are more stylish than most of the gay men in LA. I don’t even like going out in LA anymore because it’s gotten so trashy.

      Reply
  7. Mark S. King

    You can take the confederate flag down across the south, but Blake’s is still whistling “Dixie.” I suppose the only black men welcome there are either drag queens or will tap dance upon command.

    Reply
    • Auggie

      That is kind of racist to assume that only blacks would dress in such a manner.

      Reply
      • Dru

        Don't dress in a way you can conceal yourself or a weapon… Must be racist? What does that say about how those claiming racism see our own community? Everybody welcome to come in dressed appropriately is only a racist policy if you think blacks can't look like more than thugs & gang bangers. Little self examination please 

  8. Gregg Wynn

    In my opinion as a fellow journalist, this story was originally published too soon. The Voice should have waited for corroborative evidence first. The update puts the issue in better perspective. Better still will be seeing what the actual dress code will be.

    Reply
    • Patrick Saunders

      Hi Gregg. I’m not sure I understand your point here. Waited for corroborative evidence of what? We posted the sign in question, that’s what the story is about. We also gave multiple opportunities for anyone at Blake’s to tell their side of the story, including calling and texting management, calling the bar and even physically going down there and knocking on the doors. All we reported on were the facts, and reporters don’t hold stories because one party involved refuses to comment.

      Reply
      • Gregg Wynn

        Good reporters do indeed embargo a story until a faithful representation of facts is assembled. You rolled too soon on this one, pal.

      • Gay King

        You did an excellent job on staying on top of the story and being quickly reporting the facts! If anyone disagrees, their just butt hurt that Blake’s been negatively exposed.

      • Patrick Saunders

        Gregg, please list for me the facts and/or corroborative evidence you keep referencing that was missing from the story and we’ll be glad to update it.

      • Gregg Wynn

        GA Voice ran with a story based on the flimsiest of evidence; a complaint originated by one person and a photo posted to Facebook by that same individual. Not until the establishment made a comment, or refused to comment, did this story have merit. As a former reporter with the Associated Press and CBS Radio, I would have waited until more of the facts had been revealed.

  9. Chris

    OMG, thank cheeses! I’ve gotten into so many weird conversations when I confuse one dude for the next. It’s like, “Would you please take off your slippers so I know who the hell I’m talking to.”

    Reply
  10. Costtarozza

    Hysterical. But the real question…will Blake’s cater a straight wedding?

    Reply
  11. Manny Cartina

    I always felt like this bar was trying to keep it predominantly white. Every time i have visited I felt out of place, and walked my ass to bullbogs lol, and I don’t even wear anything listed on that list.

    Reply
  12. JC

    I voted option number two. Not because I totally agreed with this option, but because I found your poll options to not be quite satisfactory. In such a case, I’m not in a position to damn a bar completely by voting for “It’s racist.” It’s not as simple, to me, as a question of whether there’s nothing wrong with it or it’s racist. I don’t know precisely what they were thinking when they put it up. But I’ve been shoo’d off a couple times for coming to Blake’s with a backpack-ish bag (before they posted this) on the way home from work, and I’m white. And there’ve been other instances where I’ve been treated with what seemed like more than a bit of suspicion upon entering the place.

    If it’s racism behind this sign, I’d be hesitant to accuse them of being conscious of it. I remember on my way to and from work, the area right around Blake’s often has a substantial amount of homeless people. As is often the case, many seem to be struggling with addiction, mental issues, or both. In a minority of cases, they’ve exhibited traits of these issues towards me in a kind of unsettling way. It doesn’t bother me so much, but if that consistently was bleeding into the bar on an every-now-and-then basis? Well, there’d be complaints from people. Given all this, I strongly suspect that classism fuels this more than racism… even extending to seemingly more arbitrary and racially divided fashion aspects singled out (sagging, and particularly large chains) they’re still barring things that are already often seen as being in bad taste, with slippers falling into a similar category. To me it seems like they’re simultaneously trying to put an extra oomph into barring homeless people from their establishment and maintain their air of snooty upper class taste judgment to give it that pizzazz. There’s something wrong with it, but I can’t honestly say it’s just racism.

    Reply
    • Tee

      I agree with you. It’s about the certain types of people they want in their establishment. So how do you fix that? A lot of “upper class’ people sag and wear large chains.

      Reply
      • JC

        Sunglasses after dark, too! Some fashion trends are commonly held as being in bad taste, and that intersects their elitism and classism.

        I think a startup fix would be more and/or better assistance for the homeless and disabled poor. But Blake’s (and much of the city’s bars and clubs in general, frankly) being snooty prudes certainly doesn’t help, at the very least. But they have their attitude and I can’t deny that their location on that particular corner could be setting up some problems for their customers. But if they moved up to Buckhead where they could keep their heads in… uh… the sand, it wouldn’t fix that spot for the future tenants, or the problems that would ultimately lead to the “problems” with that spot, which are actually people with unaddressed needs and not problems at all.

  13. RJ

    Oversized chains or medallions? They’re really security problems or inappropriate attire? No. It’s clear who they want and don’t want in their establishment. I don’t wear either – but the message has been received and we won’t be back.

    Reply
  14. Mark S. King

    Breaking Down the (Not Racist At All) Dress Code at Blake’s

    1. No Hoodies.

    Well, right there you have some solid fashion advice. Hoodies went out of style with condom porn. The only people still wearing them are poor folks who – wait, wait, never mind.

    2. No Over Sized Tank Tops or Tee Shirts

    The Blake’s customer works out, and I don’t mean at one of those populist L.A. Fitness sweat shops. They have personal trainers, for God’s sake, and no one spends that kind of money and then wears a droopy tank top. 1% body fat is meant to be on display. Oh, but shirtless is okay if you’re totally hot. And Nordic.

    3. No Sagging Pants or Excessively Baggy Clothes

    Can I just say How Important This List Feels in All Caps? It has the air of some kind of serious decree that the plantation owner nails to a tree for the cotton pickers to see. Of course, they couldn’t read, unlike the uppity blacks in Atlanta. Where was I? Oh yeah, saggy pants. How are we supposed to see your box, people? In all of gay history, this is a constant.

    4. No Sweat Pants

    Remember on the show Roseanne, how she and her chubby husband wore sweat pants all the time? Gross me out why don’t you. Don’t get me started on fat people. Next?

    5. No Bandanas / Dew Rags

    Unless you’re doing that Aunt Jemima impersonation, ‘natch. It kills, every time.

    6. No Sunglasses after Dark

    If you can remember the club hit “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night,” you are too freakin’ old and you do not belong in Blake’s or any other gay establishment. Please resume decomposing and leave the rest of us alone.

    7. No Back Packs

    There are exceptions, of course. Blake’s is not fanatical about all this. Hottie students carrying back packs are welcome (Emory, not Morehouse, and student ID’s will be checked). See how flexible they are?

    8. No Over Sized Purses

    This is a no-brainer. Blake’s is known for hosting the most sought-after gay demographic: the straight-acting gay male. That means no bright belts and a certain deer-in-the-headlights stupidity that our clientele find hard to resist. Besides, any addictive substance that may be secretly destroying the patrons’ lives can easily fit into the front pocket of non-pleated Tommy Hilfiger khaki slacks.

    9. No Slippers

    We do not care if they are fucking ruby slippers, bro. Dorothy and all that crap went out with marriage equality. Decades of gay culture mean nothing when you’re trying to create a post-gay, post-camp, post-pride establishment. Blake’s gay cultural sensibilities go only as far back as the last issue of Details Magazine.

    10. No Athletic Wear

    Okay, they’re just kidding. Wear tanks and shorts tinier than anything you would dare wear at the gym and Blake’s will reward you with more sexual harassment in one night than the pentagon has seen in the last twenty years.

    11. No Over Sized Chains or Medallions

    Yes, I know, this whole trend against “over-sized” things is ironic, isn’t it? Because if there is one thing you can expect to find at Blake’s it is huge, and I mean enormous, penises. Everybody knows that. And they must keep that mythic reputation alive. Which is why they might feel strongly about not including a population that stereotypes suggest would blow their median girth right out of the water. Even if it’s a stereotype. Because you never know. So, um, in other words, no black dudes.

    12. No Head Phones

    If we have to listen incessantly to the latest inane pop single served up to gay audiences to keep us dancing and drinking and not worrying about our utter lack of LGBT employment protections, then so do you.

    13. No Weapons

    Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just glad to be safely in a bar in the middle of a predominantly African-American city that caters only to people with the milky glow of Swiss miners rescued after months without sunlight?

    14. No Bad Attitudes

    Your first test would be this list, of course. If you respond unfavorably to it, you probably have exactly the attitude that it is meant to be plucked from the premises. Please move along quietly. Hands in the air.

    Reply
    • Hwoarang

      The thing about is blakes is not an upscale bar so why the dress code…and I see they left off no shoes no shirt sign…

      Reply
    • Jonathan

      Brilliant! I guess I’ll just have to click my heels and take my ruby slippers home…

      Reply
    • Derrick

      In the time it took you to write your list, your time might have better been spent writing a friend or family member and say something worth while….keep in mind this is about a bar in Atlanta. I doubt this has any affect on your life. There are a lot more important things to get worked up about.

      Reply
      • Brice

        I hate the “There are more important things….” argument. What you mean to say is “There are more important things TO ME!” Stay in your lane…..

  15. Rajahm Sellers

    It’s hard to vote on the issue. I don’t find it racist yet it is a problem, on one hand. On the other, some of these codes I have seen at many bars, clubs, and establishments. I can see how African American would take offense but some of those codes could be offensive to Caucasians. For example: sunglasses, purses, backpacks and slippers. I have seen many of my counterparts walk into the bar dressed like they were the last diva. Most of them drag queens. I personally don’t go to places were I cannot dress freely unless I’m planning to attend a a event with specific attire.

    Reply
  16. Sandi

    THIS is why the LGBT movement and The Civil Rights Movement shall remain separate. Racism is racism.

    Reply
      • ChristopherATL

        Agreed. However, many PEOPLE, including all races, are racist. Blake’s will never get my business. Not just because of this issue, but because I hate the whole, “I’m a small town queen and I think Atlanta is gay Mecca and I like to put on a show and flame out because I need to cover deep seeded insecurities about who I am” crap. It’s embarrassing! But let’s not point fingers at an entire race for being bigots when hatred exists in all communities. and quite frankly, many non-white bigots feel just as entitled to hate as the Confederate flag waving, knuckle draggers that make all white people look bad. Hatred comes in lots of colors. We all need to look within our own consciences and lead the way instead of perpetuating bias.

  17. Mark Malbek

    How come the photo of the sign has some writing outside the page?

    Reply
    • Booger McFarlane

      EXCELLENT POINT! Actually the words “DRESS CODE” appear to be slightly curved, consistent with the curvature of the paper in the window, yet the remaining darker printed text is straight and inconsistent. This is a fake.

      Reply
  18. Paris Smith

    Wow, this does not surprise me at all. White Supremacy/Racism is almost equal to the south, white supremacy racism is a religion for these people. Homosexual and otherwise.

    In places of entertainment, melanin recessive individuals who refer to themselves as “white,” have showed non-white individuals that they do not want there patronage. Why are we shocked? They enjoy the black music but not the customers!

    When referring to non-white melanin dominant males, the term “bbc,” is ubiquitous. Stemming from slavery, when non-white individuals were considered chattel in America, and many melanin recessive people who identify as homosexual, do not find this “racist,” when in fact the foundation of the concept of “bbc,” is rooted in the human chattel slavery system .

    Me being a white or melanin recessive individual, I find the acts primitive. WHITE is a SOCIAL POLITICAL CONSTRUCT. Every human on the planet comes from the negroid. That’s right; all humans are black. Do your research.

    Until whites or melanin recessive people dismantle “white” or whiteness we will always have white supremacy/ racism because the very definition of white is superiority of non-white persons. Whites are the sole cause of the white race problem and they are the ones who have to make a quantum leap in relinquishing there prejudice. In partially accepting and understanding that we as whites are black as well, the same genes 99.7, of all human genes are exactly the same.

    Justice for all Humans.

    Reply
  19. Celeb

    The list also said no slippers, no sweat pants, no oversized purses, and no athletic wear. So I think there should be outrage from old women and bicyclist too.

    Reply
  20. Papa Bear Irons

    I just want to let everyone know, this isn’t how we do things over here at The Eagle; our philosophy is come one, come all. If you wanna wear the biggest medallions and as many as you’d like (copious medallions!…heck…amounts that other, less progressive folks might find excessive or ill-advised due to neck-muscle strain) we aren’t ones judge ya bub. And you might even be interested in a purchase from their various leather wardrobe assortment that they sell (out of their very own exclusive in-house store).
    The Eagle – 306 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308

    Reply
  21. d.c.

    I don’t even live in ATL and I see right through this. Someone on FB even pointed it out. More than likely, if you are having people who dress like this (and the restrictions do sound stereotypically “Black Urban”) frequenting this bar, (which I take is predominately patronized by White males) then more than likely there is some “tricking” going on. Hustlers know where their customers are. Even if there is a racist undertone to the bar, there are plenty of men in there seeking BBC, no matter whether it is objectifying or not. This happens all over the country, especially now that Black gay bars and clubs are few and far between. In my town, the bar that would be Blake’s comparison decided to get rid of the featured night that was popular with the Black patrons. Changed the music, changed the DJ, changed the theme. All to stop them from coming in the large number they had been. And–used the excuse that the Black crowd “doesn’t spend enough money on alcohol”…..really? So instead of just charging an admission to the dance party, they’d just rather shoo them away. Racist! Yet, they still have their loyal Black customers, the acceptable ones, who come and spend their money so they can be among the “type” they are attracted to.

    Reply
  22. James Fulcher

    How about the “bad attitude” of the person who created that sign and all the “bad attitudes” of all the stuck-up folks who will continue ignore each other in that bar? Sounds to me like more treating someone like trash because they’re not your type.

    Sure, I’m a bearish guy who wears loose clothes and carries a pair ear buds. It’s who I am and what I like to wear. If enough people tune me out and ignore me, I stick my phones in and carry on or leave because I don’t feel welcome. I don’t sag my pants, wear a “Du-Rag”/bandana/necklace or medallion. I also don’t carry a weapon or a back pack in a bar. I also never flash gang signs. But I also wonder, would the “no bandana” clause be applicable to a hot biker (or other white guy who rocked a bandana) who walked into their bar? How about a white guy who sags his (skinny) jeans a tad so his underwear show? (Seen it enough times)

    Personally, I LOVE slim White/Latino guys. (as well as many other cultures and mixes) They’re so hot. I’m willing to understand their cultures. And just because someone isn’t my type, that doesn’t give me the right to act as if he never existed or treat them like they don’t deserve to talk to me. Who the am I to add onto what he’s already dealing with? Feeling like a ghost is something I’ve come to know all to well after coming out 2 years ago and trying to join this “community”. It’s been very tough trying to socialize and network with my gay brothers when we all ignore or look down our noses at each other. A rude awakening I received that contradicted the image of unity and “pride” I saw.

    That just gives me a reason not to go to their bar (or bars with this “bad attitude”). Also, one thing that surprised me is the subtle racism (and class-ism) within the community. Why would we use the struggle of Blacks (in the civil rights movements) to get our rights and then turn around and exclude black gays (and other members of a “lesser” class)? It’s the same as Blacks getting their civil rights and then turning around bashing gays (or keeping us out of their church…or disowning us)–Both situations of discrimination of which are very real and equally screwed up thinking.

    Now I understand with some of these, but come on. Couldn’t you just have said “no thugs?” At the same time, I understand that they don’t want to support any criminal element. I also find it really funny, you can “reserve the right to refusal of service” for not adhering to a dress code, but you can’t be straight and refuse to bake a cake (for a couple for not adhering to your religious beliefs) without a major problem. It just sounds like some hypocrisy in our “community.” My final (and more logical) response to this situation is this: If you don’t want me in your establishment, then you don’t want my money. I’ll see you when you get your mind right. Keep thinking that way and your income and community support will diminish.

    The sad part is that I’m making an argument or expressing a feeling here, because it is a right of that establishment’s owners and my feelings are irrelevant. Now, I’m morally superior to absolutely no one, but It’s just not right after all the political correctness that we shoved down each others’ throats. It’s just backwards. This sign would also make more sense if it was at a “Waffle House” or “Denny’s”…but not a gay bar. “No bad attitudes”? What a joke!

    I’m certain my whole argument might be wrong, but it’s my perspective. Sorry for writing an book, because I wasn’t just addressing this story, but a few other issues I’m passionate about. I hope what I said made sense.

    Reply
    • Deveal

      Nicely said sir ….common sense is a beautiful thing. This sign promotes separation.

      Reply
      • James Fulcher

        Thanks man. I appreciate it a lot that someone read it.

    • Ricardo Red

      James you are absolutely correct, at least someone gets it. They would do better to just post a sign that said WHITES ONLY!! We all know what the underlying implications are. When you are a person of color, you get used to interpreting “coded” language and recognizing that people that look like you are NOT wanted…you’re systematically cast onto a list of “undesirables”. I personally don’t wear baggy jeans..but i certainly wear hoodies & loose fitted jeans or shorts. Ask yourself when was the last time you saw a white dude wearing a “Doo-rag”? We’d have to be completely ignorant to not understand what their intent was. The black/latino community is NOT a monolithic community and neither is the LGBT community. Yet the greater national LGBT movement stands on a platform of being inclusive and promoting diversity and tolerance and #nohate8 #LoveWins while discriminating against their LGBT brothers/sisters of color. This is a window into a conversation that is seldom discussed much less acknowledged within the LGBT community. The fact that there is blatant and clandestine racism within the community is no surprise to me. The even more unfortunate thing is that some of the people who have commented don’t even realize their comments are racist, which is even more disturbing. Its time for a serious dialogue!!! #LoveWins but does it REALLY??

      Reply
  23. Ricardo Red

    First of all i am completely dumbfounded at the perceptions of some of the people commenting in this blog….Unfortunately black/latino people don’t have the luxury of divorcing ourselves from our racial identity or the ignorant stereotypes assigned to us without having to defend ourselves in a public forum. Having a dress code would be understandable if you’re an upscale establishment that doesn’t allow casual wear, however Blakes’ does NOT fit into this category. Trust me that flyer posted in the window wasn’t a mistake. The ONLY mistake was that they got caught…if no one had spoke out against it on social media & public radio..we wouldn’t be having this discussion. They would have quietly implemented this policy with very little or no input or public opinion. Furthermore i can unequivocally tell you that as a former customer of Blakes’, that there is an undercurrent of racism that flows thru the place..not only from management but also from some of the employees (some whom are still employed there) & some have even commented in this blog; not to mention some of the customers. This is quite evident in their use of the “n” word quite frequently in describing black bar patrons..or the use of “coded” language to describe the bar as having been inundated by “hood rats” and a few other terms commonly used to describe people of color. That is unacceptable..but there is a code of silence that exists there and it is the accepted norm….they have unfairly typecast an entire cross section of their customer base mainly black/latino, in an effort to create an environment that caters exclusively to the majority of their customers..white gay men, Nothing wrong with that?…they have been doing that for a long time. When you wanna change the racial demographics of a club..just create a dress code & change the music. Furthermore, if the majority of their patrons were black or latino and they implemented a dress code that didn’t allow Abercrombie & Finch, Gap, Banana Republic, H&M fitted jeans, polo shirts & shorts or boat shoes, how well do you think that would be received? Yes i am being stereotypical here but so were they…both of them are wrong. The idea of eliminating “unidentifiable” people…how do you determine that? What’s the litmus test? To the management at Blakes’…no use in flip-flopping now! We heard you LOUD & CLEAR! No need to issue a disingenuise apology! We have a choice of where we spend our money! Spend YOUR $$ where everybody knows your name & they’re always GLAD you came! Wake up LGBT community!!!

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  24. Christopher Bacot

    AMEN! As a non-conforming white guy married to a very sexy, culturally rich Brazilian man, I say screw Blakes, the management staff and the clientele! Atlanta has grown enough to move past this type of establishment. Just as Blakes has made it clear they do not want our business, we can show them we don’t need their bar. Atlanta is rich with diversity and it is time more places open that showcase and celebrate Atlanta’s diversity instead of basically creating Jim Crowe rules to keep us out.

    I’m bored talking about Blakes. Just like I was the few times I went there.

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  25. Art

    I don't care how Blake's attempt to "dress" it up, THEY knew who they were targeting when this list went up.    Yes, typically African-Americans wear most of what's on the list.  However, this one doesn't and I don't knock it if someone does.  

    Truth is Blake's has ALWAYS catered  to the white LGBT population of Atlanta.   This has been going on for as long as I have been in this city, 1995.   I have only been in there once and that was enough for me and my friends.  We all just didn't feel welcome, so we left.   Blake's  will never see any of my money.  

    And for those Non-Whites that think there is nothing wrong with this "list', to you I say Bless You.  

    just my opinion.  

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  26. jose

    When I go out. I try to dress with a little style. I don’t see anything wrong with the dress code. I can see how one could take offense if you look to take offense. I have always said if you dont like how a business is ran, don’t due business there. I know I may not have room to comment sense I’m not from that area, however, I just dont like seeing gay/gay friendly bars being targets of unnecessary drama. It’s bad enough in some places the gay community is not protected legally let alone have a gay bar to feel comfortable in. I would like to see the Gay community appreciate their ability to have a safe place to drink, dance, meet other gay men or women, and feel safe. There is no reason why the gay community can’t unite and work together to solve issues instead of creating a huge controversy over something as elementary as a Dress Code.

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  27. DJ Ephraim Adamz

    So strange that a gay bar even has a dress code. Are the bathrooms gender neutral? God forbid they are transitioning. I take it Lesbians aren’t welcome either? Maybe I want to show up in full drag? Or all leather? Or wear heels? This is a LGBT bar isn’t it? Maybe my bandana is a certain color to attract a certain kind of fetish. It’s like gay bars these days have lost all sense of culture and history. We used to be full of so much richness and diversity. Now everyone want to look, act, and dress the same.

    Reply

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