When women started twerking on tables in a Texas restaurant, the owner of the establishment went off. His rant was captured on video and posted to social media, where it received both praise and backlash. Which do you think it deserved?
Kevin Kelley, the owner of TRUE Kitchen + Kocktails in Dallas, Texas, was left disgusted with the behavior of some of his restaurant’s patrons on a Sunday evening. In fact, Kelley became so fed up, he cut the music and began scolding a room full of customers in a now-viral video after some “ladies” decided to get on the furniture and start twerking.
According to Kelley, several women had gotten onto tables and began twerking against a glass wall placed in one area of the restaurant. He approached the women involved, telling them to stop, but they only returned to dancing again. In footage shared on social media, a woman is seen placing her hands against the wall as she danced to the upbeat music playing in the background. That’s when Kelley had enough:
With cameras rolling, an obviously upset Kevin Kelley confronted his restaurant patrons, lecturing them for their lack of class. “I invested a lot of money into buying this building and developing this concept so black people can have somewhere nice to go to,” the black restaurant owner began, raising his voice at the crowd. “Somewhere we can feel good about ourselves,” he continued.
“Stop the music!” Kelley then shouted, silencing the DJ. With all attention on him, the owner continued, demanding the “ladies” show some respect for themselves. “Real talk. All this twerking and s*** … don’t bring it here because we’re a restaurant,” Kelley said. Explaining that 75% of his clientele are women, he added, “I want men to show respect for themselves and how they carry themselves when they’re here.”
“How can I tell men to respect themselves when you all are twerking on glass? If you want to do that, then get the f*** out of my restaurant. Because I did it for ourselves and I did it for our culture,” Kelley scolded the customers. Although the crowd is heard gasping at the man’s remarks, he continued, “Don’t do it again. I don’t want to hear it. If you don’t like it, get out because I don’t need your money.”
Things were far from over, though. With the incident captured on camera and shared to social media, the viral moment drew both Kelley and his restaurant into a media frenzy as he received both praise and backlash for his response to the behavior. Show respect or get out. Is that really a controversial statement? Apparently, it was as people took to Twitter to debate the confrontation.
While some faulted the twerking patrons for their behavior, others pointed blame at Kelley for his part in picking the music, and then there were those who lambasted such rationalizations. “The excuses are that if a restaurant doesn’t want patrons to hop on furniture and twerk against the walls then they shouldn’t serve alcohol or play music. That is actually being said… by adults,” one such woman wrote.
“He’s not wrong. As a restaurant owner, he wants a specific ambiance. Twerking is not it. He gave them choices to freely express themselves but please respect his establishment, his investment, and take the antics to the appropriate places. That’s business 101,” another wrote, agreeing with Kelley’s message, according to Daily Mail.
Of course, not everyone was supportive. “How you mad at women twerking in your restaurant while having a DJ playing ‘Body’ by Meg Thee Stallion in full blast in your establishment?” Comedian Jessie Woo chimed in, blasting the black restaurant owner for his music choice if twerking wasn’t allowed in his restaurant.
“Doesn’t matter if the DJ was playin that type of music…have some class sit & eat like a normal person…people always doing s*** to be seen,” another responded, coming to Kelley’s defense, while others claimed they didn’t have a problem with Kelley’s request, but rather his delivery. “His disrespectful tone to the women, who are paying customers, isn’t right. He set the tone for his restaurant with a DJ, so this is on him,” one woman wrote.
In a statement the day after the incident, Kelley addressed his “delivery,” saying, “I can assure you I was a gentleman earlier, but my nice words weren’t respected. TRUE will be for some and not all and this is ok.” Explaining that the issue revolved around three tables of customers who continued to twerk after being approached by him, he said TRUE was created to be a place where music could be enjoyed while customers sit and eat.
“No song played is [an] excuse to stand on [our] furniture and do what this lady did,” Kelley wrote, referring to the woman captured on camera. Speaking with TMZ, Kelley said he didn’t have anything against twerking, but he did not want it in his establishment.
“We have so many classy and nice black women who come to this restaurant that define what TRUE Kitchen + Kocktails is, and the actions of the women standing on the sofa and pushing on the glass to twerk is not that,” Kelley said. “When we talk about advancing the culture, I’m mindful of how we all look,” he added. “I’m very steadfast in making sure our guests carry themselves in the right way of this restaurant.”
That seems to be at the root of the debate. What encapsulates the “right way” to act in a restaurant? What defines “classy” behavior? Most would say that standing on tables, shaking your backside, is far from it. While some have called Kelley’s rant “restaurant suicide,” others might be more inclined to visit, knowing they aren’t going to be forced to watch a spectacle while trying to enjoy a meal and music.