BammRose was sitting in her backyard on a June afternoon, when it had only been a week and a half since George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police, sparking protests across the country in defense of Black lives.
A pole dance instructor and stripper, Bamm, 24, felt the time had come to hold her own industry accountable for the racism perpetuated against Black women, who perform at strip clubs for a living. She texted the owner of Sin City, a strip club in a South Philadelphia neighborhood, where she taught pole dancing classes: “He’s profiting off of Black and Hispanic women. I asked him, how do you intend to give back to us?” Bamm alleges her employer didn’t have her number saved. After telling him who she was, he didn’t immediately respond to her question. Sin City did not respond to requests for comment on the club’s treatment of its Black strippers.
That same day, Bamm announced that she would no longer work for Sin City via Instagram.
The post attracted over 500 likes and comments from strippers and allies supporting her decision, and became a call to action.
Bamm decided to switch to activism full time, and is now the CEO of Stilettos Inc., a grassroots organization led by sex workers that provides support to Black dancers, and has called for a strippers’ strike in Philadelphia. The Stilettos, as they call themselves, are not alone in mobilizing for the workplace rights of Black dancers in the stripping industry.
In Portland, more than a hundred strippers went on strike in June against what they claimed were racist hiring practices, and organized rallies pressuring strip clubs to hold racial sensitivity trainings, hire Black dancers, and give them profitable shifts. The hashtag #NoJusticeNoBooty trended widely on social media in late June.
The movement started when strip clubs participated in #BlackOutTuesday, participating in “performative activism” that frustrated Cat Hollis, a Black dancer and founder of Haymarket Pole Collective. Hollis alleges that the clubs claiming to support Black Lives Matter rarely hired or…