“Stripper Strike” is now a thing and it is spreading worldwide.
As reported, to make money during the coronavirus pandemic, Lucky Devil Lounge strip club in Portland launched a food delivery service with their girls called Boober Eats. With this, the dancers would deliver food topless to customers.
After the concept went viral, a few local dancers noticed that the clubs Instagram featured very few black girls.
According to Rolling Stone, two local dancers, Cat Hollis and Brianna Cistrunk later saw that the club posted a Black Lives Matter pictures on Instagram. In the now-deleted post, there were arguments in the comments about how the club doesn’t hire black dancers.
As Hollis argued on the post, “There are more #BlackLivesMatter signs than there have ever been black butts on that stage.” Shon Boulden, the owner of Lucky Devil Lounge, acknowledged the issue, saying, “If there ever was the idea that we weren’t open to hiring all ethnicities, I guess I’d just want to say, yes of course we do. In our hiring, maybe it didn’t look like we were.”
Even after that statement, Cat Hollis took charge and now leads the Haymarket Pole Collective.
Per Rolling Stone, the movement, nicknamed “stripper strike,” is “advocating for clubs to adopt non-discrimination policies and undergo cultural sensitivity training to create level playing fields for black dancers.” The group’s momentum has picked up and is starting to go national. Currently, the Haymarket Pole Collective now has members in 18 states.
Another issue “stripper strike” is addressing is how African Americans who are hired are treated. “It’s more of a grassroots effort targeting an often-overlooked industry to revise its business practices, many of which, black dancers say, are outdated and racist.”
Some issues they are bringing to light are that some clubs tell the performers to straighten their natural hair and ban hip-hop music during sets. Another issue Cat Hollis and Brianna Cistrunk say they’ve encountered are the informal quotas for how many dancers of color are permitted to work per shift.
As Hollis explains, “On the phone when you’re setting up an audition, you can use your little white phone voice and they’re super down. And then you get there and they’re like, the manager’s not here, we’re not contracting, x-y-z.”
Cistrunk adds, “With George Floyd and BLM it really put people in the position where they had no choice but to play along if they wanted their business to survive. Now there’s this incredible social pressure [on club owners] to play the part, where they would have ignored us before. But that’s not what I’m asking for. I’m asking for them to give us our basic human rights.”