That, dear Jasmine, is your problem. It sure as heck isn’t your employers.
Jasmine is the “stage name” of Danielle Everett, who’s an “exotic dancer” at the Ebony Inn in Prince George’s County, Md. Everett recently filed a lawsuit against the owners of the Ebony Inn and the Showcase Theater, another Prince George’s County club featuring “exotic dancers.”
Look, there’s plenty of room for me to make all kinds of wise-cracks about rump-shaking, scandalous, nearly butt-naked hoochies here, but I’m trying to take the high road, OK?
When Everett worked the Ebony Inn and the Showcase Theater, she had to pay $20 to dance. She was also nailed with “fines” of $10 or higher for offenses like being late.
All for a salary of, well, that’s just what Everett has a problem with. She didn’t get a salary. She worked for tips only – those dollar bills the horny, lecherous patrons of “exotic dance” clubs thrust down the dancers’ G-strings.
Some contend this is illegal, a violation of state and federal law. Everett said, that from talking to people, she learned the owners of the Ebony Inn and the Showcase Theater are supposed to pay her a salary, with benefits.
Others – men and women alike – scoff at the very notion. Climbing on a pole, swinging from a pole and rump shaking in a scandalous outfit that leaves you nearly butt naked, is, such folks contend, not a REAL job.
That’s been the advice I’ve heard repeatedly given to Everett and all her “exotic dancing” colleagues: you tricks need to get a grip on reality and find a REAL job.
I have a daughter that has an excellent, well-paying job. She never danced on a pole, never had to, and never thought of doing it.
Ditto for a slew of female cousins, aunts and nieces. Add in friends and acquaintances, and there are scores, if not hundreds, of women in my immediate circle that don’t, won’t and will never have to dance on a pole to make a living.
For their part, the club owners contend that the “exotic dancers” are “independent contractors,” not employees. The “independent contractor” status means club owners don’t have to pay them salaries and benefits.
There have been judges that have ruled in favor of the “exotic dancers” in previous lawsuits, so the owners’ “independent contractor” argument does not seem to be carrying the day. But Everett’s real gripe isn’t, or shouldn’t be, with the owners.