Why We Need More Black Women Workspaces
Unfortunately, the most popular co-spaces aren’t always the most welcoming
In all, Asha Grant had only been part of The Wing’s West Hollywood location for about a month before she found herself feeling disregarded and out of place.
On May 28, she and a guest (both Black women) went to the location only to encounter an angry White woman in the parking lot, upset that Grant had snagged a spot she felt “belonged” to her. Grant alleges the woman, a guest at The Wing, followed them into the location yelling insults and threats. Once inside, she gave the middle finger to Grant, her guest, and another Black Wing member, Stephanie Kimou, Grant recalls.
“The harassment did not end,” Grant, the director of The Free Black Women’s Library Los Angeles, says. “It was clear that she was not going to stop saying things to us… I was like, ‘Okay, you need to be asked to leave.’”
The woman was not asked to leave in accordance with the location’s guest policy. Instead, staff members allowed the woman to remain in the space, saying there was nothing they could do about the “sticky situation.” They said they did not feel “empowered” to confront the woman, leaving Grant and her guest feeling unsafe and uncomfortable, she says. In exchange for her discomfort, Grant was offered a free meal.“It was another example of White women’s comfort prioritized over Black women’s pain,” Grant says. She terminated her Wing membership and never looked back. Kimou left with her in solidarity.
The Wing confirmed the incident, telling ZORA that the woman has not returned to the location. A spokesperson says the woman alleged Grant and her guest used a homophobic slur — which Grant, a Black queer woman, vehemently denies.
“Every day at The Wing, thousands of women across the country come to our spaces because here they feel empowered, seen, supported, and safe — and it’s imperative that we deliver on that promise to every member of our community,” The Wing says in a statement to ZORA.
“In this specific incident, we struggled to get it right and we are deeply sorry. We know how important it is to build an environment and team that reflects the diversity of our membership and the cities we inhabit…