Pusha T Alleges Virginia Beach Club Denied Him Entry Due to 'Blatant Racism': Exclusive

pusha t
Courtesy of Def Jam Recordings

Pusha T photographed in 2012.

Pusha T (aka Terrence Thornton) caused a social media firestorm Monday night (June 1) when he tweeted about being denied entry to a club -- an unusual event on its own for the veteran rapper -- in his native Virginia Beach, allegedly because he was black.

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As the rapper told Billboard in an exclusive interview Tuesday, he headed to the club with a few friends for drinks after finding that the neighboring Central 111 was relatively empty. One of Thornton’s friends was ahead of him in the line to enter -- but as the doorman was giving his friend a wristband, the club’s owner allegedly walked by and told the doorman to insist that the club was “guest list only” that night, thereby refusing the group entry. 

Thornton said that there was no guest list visible, and added that even though his friend already had a wristband on, he was still denied entry. Even the surprised protests of other potential patrons who recognized the rapper (who is something of a local legend) didn’t sway the staff. Frustrated, Thornton took to social media to share his experience and warn others away from the club.

Within hours, similar accounts began pouring in from fellow would-be patrons of Venue 112 alleging the establishment’s racist door policy. “I'm literally typing about an imaginary ‘guest list,’ ” Thornton told Billboard, “and [it turns out] this is a running theme! I had no idea.”

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The rapper couldn’t recall ever being confronted with such “blatant racism,” as he put it, in his hometown. “The only reason that me and my friends didn't fit the mold was because we were black,” Thornton said.

Though he says the incident was “hurtful,” the rapper is looking for neither retribution nor apology. So why did Thornton decide to take the incident public? "I wanted to tell people that I wasn't exempt from it either," he explained to Billboard. "People may think that I have it easier in some ways, but this shows that racism even overpowers business. I understand what other members of my community are going through." 

Billboard reached out to Venue 112 for comment.