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18 January 2011


Son of Baldwin

Why do I feel like we're being systematically erased?


To mark my friend's words "gay life in NYC is dead" We as people of color will never own anything exclusively our own. (ertain genres of music come to mind).We owe it all to the white gay community for making ourselves visible. zus creating an environment of inclusion and allowing our lifestyle to be targeted by madison avenue advertisers. It's not about black or white, or pink, for that matter. What it comes down to is 'green' -who's got it and what they can do with it. And it's clear we as SGL of color are on the losing side of the coin.


I took a few photos of Chi Chiz in December, knowing that it would be reduced to yet another empty storefront (there are tons) in Manhattan. This is tragic on so many levels, and whatever one might have thought about this particular bar, or Starlite Lounge, or Two Potato, Keller's, the Spike (co-owned by a black man before it was sold), etc., the loss of these spaces is a serious hit for many reasons.

Bernie B

Sad ... Gay black-owned bars or gay black -themed club nights in NYC are non-existent nowadays. It's like a ghost town. Glad to have grown up and been apart of the history but feel sad for the youngins looking for some meet n greet n fun times. But we are resilient. Someone will open up something soon. There are way too many gay, bi-men of color in this city (with disposable income) to ignore.

Lang B

Truly sad indeed. The black gay scene in NYC is truly a needle in a haystack.


Man that's a shame. I love living in NYC so much but as the others have said the black gay nightlife is gone. I mean there are a few "nights" that are catered to us but overall there aren't any black owned spots that I know of. I see why so many of my friends have moved to DC & ATL, but NYC will always be the greatest in my eyes.


Sad story. Makes me even more appreciative of all the clubbing/partying options that we have here in Atlanta.

Mel Smith

This is really sad because I remember visiting chi chiz when I was younger.

Black Pegasus

Once again, it seems like Black folks are "waiting for Superman". We're waiting for "someone" to come along and save us from ourselves. Lets use our energy and spending power to create our own spaces for entertainment and enlightenment.

I don't want another "white owned" club/bar owner to come along and offer us a "Black Themed" night with overpriced watered down drinks! F*CK that! We can do better!

Derrick from Philly

I've gotten into arguments with folks on this blog when I say that some things were better for Black Gays in the 1970s & early 80s than they are now. But here in Philly there were Black owned (or rented) establishments for Black Bays in Black neighborhood: in South Philly, North Philly, West Philly & Germantown. What happened? Along came AIDS, crack and anti-Gay Rappers, and of course, a rise in crime in our neighborhoods. It became impossible for Black Gay entrepreneurs to take the risk....or rather, impractical.

At my age, not having a night spot is easier to deal with--atleast for me. I often feel bad about the young folks not having a place to really enjoy at night.

I first went to Chi Chiz on a Sunday afternoon in 1999. They were playing church music. Everyone was nice and it was cute. I didn't enjoy the crowd (not very friendly...atleast to me) later that night, but that maybe that was on me (too haughty actin' when I get drunk, I guess).


I'm saddened by the closing of all of the clubs/bars/lounges that I grew up going to when I first came out in NY. I now live in LA, and gotta tell you - it's not any better. There are less than a handful of Black bars/clubs/lounges in the city proper.
Going into Weho is fun, but as a person of color - no matter what hue that may be - you quickly realize and notice that you are not wanted there for more than a few hours, or a night...We are still viewed as a curiousity and/or fantasy.

Mel Smith

Black Pegasus, I agree with you 100 percent.


I have been visiting New York since 1962, and I lived in Manhattan for one year and in Brooklyn for two years. It is so sad to see these important bars, meeting places, fun places disappear into history. And not willingly. I remember Two Potato and Keller's and now Chi Chiz is gone too. They were all an important part of the Village.

A Black Themed Night? What an insult.


I hope black gay life in NYC will rise from the dead. Right now it's horrible...


Part of the problem is that the bar wasn't really supported the way it should have. Everytime I went there, it was always empty, a ghost town. The people that were there were pretty suspect. You always thought you were gonna be robbed or killed. The owners had a huge part in it's downfall in my opinion.


Best thing to happen on Christopher Street. Black people (most so the young) think by holding on to the lowest common denominator of ourselves should be rewarded. Chi Chiz was a "hole in the wall". It did not represent the very best of Black Gay Life nor did it attract it. The management ran it like a cash-cow and invested nothing back into. Now that its gone, the Black Gay Community want to eulogize it as if it was an important part of their lives?

Open up another Black Gay Club, maintain it with dignity and respect, keep the drugs and escorts out, demand better of your patrons, keep the place clean and step away from all of the fake Homo-Thug bravado and you will have a place that will stay open.

I personally am glad Chi Chiz is closed ... this was the Black Gay Community's wake-up call.

SMH ...

Carl's viewpoint is interesting, because it is something I've heard from a few people I know in NY and NJ who have been there over the years. Though I've frequently traveled and partied in NY over the years I never got the chance to hang out at Chi Chiz. However, I can say that what Carl mentions in his post is true of the gay black establishments in the city I am in. Our spots land themselves in these positions because the owners turn a blind eye to a lot of the foolishness that goes on or just flat out encourage it. A club populated with drug pushers, hooker-boys and porn stars is gonna become a problem at some point. It's a given. Why make your business a target? And before you go off on "white folks do it" that really does not matter, because WE cannot do what they do. And until our businesses learn that this will continue to happen. I guess I'm indifferent to most nightlife because it attracts elements I have no desire to be around, but I do feel bad that young gay men are running out of place to call their own. It is just sad all the way around.


I had some good times at Two Potato. We have to figure out how to invest in and support well-run establishments.


Some of these uppity queen NEVER cease to amaze me! drug pushers, hooker-boys and porn stars are all in the white bars also!!!

The key word is WHITE!

SMH ...

The point is, as I said in the post, they are WHITE and we are not. Period. Black people cannot do the crap they do and get a pass - just ask any celebrity who has screwed up and been thrown under the bus. White people doing anything and getting away with it is no reason for us to expect to get a pass on it. We should know this by now.

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