Rapper T.I. Leads Protest Against Houston’s Restaurant, Alleging Racial Profiling and Discrimination

Grammy-winning rapper T.I. recently led a huge protest against the national steakhouse chain Houston’s following claims that the restaurant discriminates against African American patrons. The protest was ignited after Love and Hip Hop stars Deb Antney and Momma Dee, and actress Ernestine Johnson, stated that the high-profile restaurant refused to serve their large groups, treating them like second-class citizens.

On Saturday (October 7), Tip made the announcement of the protest on his Instagram. “Ok so I’ve heard 4 different stories from 4 different sources about discrimination against US at 2 separate Houstons Steakhouse locations in my city. Tomorrow we get answers.”

Following the announcement, a large group of protesters, including Tip, Deb Antney, Ernestine Johnson, Love and Hip Hop star Yandy Smith, and Tiny Harris, descended upon the Houston’s location on Lenox Road in Buckhead – toting signs and chanting, “No Justice No Peace!” and “Shut it down!” making their presence known.

#BoycottHoustons #HoustonsWeHaveAProblem #ShutItDown #USorELSE

A post shared by TIP (@troubleman31) on

If you don’t STAND for something you will FALL for anything. Period! Yesterday we set an example of what it looks like when we UNIFY. When we REMIND people how much POWER we possess and how OUR dollars keep this city’s establishments in business. . You have to TEACH people how to TREAT you. Disrespect, disregard and discrimination of ANY form will not be tolerated in this city! If you don’t understand the message SEEK the KNOWLEDGE! . . Super big thank you to my fam @troubleman31 for answering the call to action and always representing & standing up for the city! @debra4mizay @yandysmith @richforever @majorgirl @jennysdrake and everyone else who let their voice be heard yesterday and answered our call we salute you! My man @mrjaymorrison is a true leader and we will continue to lead by EXAMPLE. . . This is bigger than us! @houstonslenox never tried to contact any of us to apologize or speak about the issue like any other civilized business would have! Nor have they addressed any of the other COUNTLESS of tasteless occurrences that have taken place. We are not finished at all. #HoustonsWeStillHaveAProblem

A post shared by | U N I C O R N | (@ernestine.johnson) on

Following the claims of discrimination, other stars including Rick Ross, Toya Wright, and Killa Mike joined the boycott– using the hashtag #BoycottHoustons. The “Reagan” rapper called on local entertainers to join the protest and support black businesses. “Houston’s is a restaurant that is supported by the black dollar in Atlanta and supported by the entertainment dollar especially. I just call on entertainers and other members of Atlanta who are for justice and right –black or white- black in Atlanta in particular,” he said in an Instagram video. “Not only to boycott Houston’s, but find a black restaurant to support or one that treats your community well.”

Swipe. Go to @mrjaymorrison page for back story. Salutes @troubleman31 for his activism as well!!!!

A post shared by Killer Mike (@killermike) on

After the string of protests, Houston’s issued a statement on its Instagram page that has since been deleted. The statement read:

“We have employed a diverse, hard-working staff serving Atlanta’s similarly diverse clientele for many years. Charges of discrimination are not only unfounded but are an intentional manipulation using social media. Our policies and guidelines apply equally to everyone. Our restaurants are not set up to accommodate large groups, with only a limited number of tables that can accommodate large parties together. Our Houston’s in Atlanta recently instituted a policy whereby large parties of 7 or more will not be split into separate groups at different tables, which means that larger groups may not be able to dine with us at certain times. We decided to close our Lenox Houston’s today from the anticipation of protests and threats made against the restaurant and staff members. We will always choose the side of caution when it comes to protecting our valued staff and guests.”

Photo Credit: Houston’s/Facebook

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