A video showing the owner of a Dallas restaurant shouting at customers has people on the internet talking. It all started because a few women were twerking.
The owner of TRUE Kitchen + Kocktails, Kevin Kelley, said there’s more to the story than what has now become the viral moment. He said he was talking to customers Sunday evening when he noticed a group of women twerking inside the restaurant.
“At a certain point, some of the customers started to get up and do a twerk dance. And so, we just discouraged them from doing that because we are a restaurant,” Kelley said.
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Kelley said he asked three tables of women two more times to stop twerking. Surveillance video from inside the restaurant supports this claim. He said he began to shout when he noticed it happen a third time. A woman is seen on a viral cell phone video standing on furniture and twerking with her hands against a glass wall.
At the time, a DJ was playing the song "Circle” by Lil Ronny. Kelley asked the DJ to stop the music and said anyone who wanted to twerk could “get the [expletive] out of my restaurant.”
“One of the things that I did do was say get the ‘eff’ out. But at that point, once we had a few peaceful conversations with the customers and that conversation was not given back to the restaurant, we had an obligation to turn things up a little bit,” he said. “And I wish I hadn’t used that language but I’m very glad the customers left the restaurant.”
Patrons in the restaurant at the time of the incident who NBC 5 reached out to did not comment Monday night.
The video started an overnight conversation about how Kelley handled the situation and spoke to his customers. The video also sparked a conversation about respectability politics, racial bias, misogynoir and the overall treatment of Black women.
Kelley said 75% of his customers are Black women. And he stood by the decision he made Sunday evening.
“In business we understand that you cannot serve everyone. But we want to serve the people who don’t want people twerking on glass. We want to serve the people who carry themselves with respect,” he said.
In a Twitter post late Sunday night, the TRUE Kitchen + Kocktails page released a statement questioning whether the women would have started twerking at a predominately “white” establishment. The comment quickly received backlash, and the post was deleted. However, Kelley said he stood by what was said.
“Whiteness being the standard is one thing. And behavior in a white environment is something different,” Kelley said. “When the comment was posted online that our people wouldn’t perform this way in a white restaurant, we stand by that. We don’t see videos of our people going to Nick & Sams and twerking like that.”
Kelley was criticized for the music and what many people called an environment akin to that of a day party, which would encourage dancing. TRUE Kitchen + Kocktails released a statement on Facebook and Instagram that said the playlist and DJ selection would be modified, but that the atmosphere was not conducive to standing on furniture and twerking.