Pop Culture

7 Ways Hustlers Gets the Strip Club Right

Source: GIPHY

I finally got around to seeing Hustlers, the film starring Constance Wu as Destiny, a stripper who gets roped into a con run by Ramona, played by Jennifer Lopez. Personally, I wanted to see Cardi B tap into her stripper girl history to portray the character Diamond. Furthermore, I just knew J. Lo’s body and pole dance skills might inspire me to hit the gym or at least not get the extra large popcorn at the food stand.

As I observed the film unfold, I thought about my own research on exotic dancers and how closely what Hustlers portrayed aligned with my findings. The ways it did not seemed obvious to me. Most women in the strip club do not rob their clients or perform sex acts for extra money. Most exotic dancers make enough to get by perhaps for that week, but certainly not enough to buy expensive bags, clothes, or apartments. Most strip club clients, though men, do not work on Wall Street and can not spend upwards of $10,000 every time they get in to the club.

Other than these aspects of the film, several aspects of the story stuck out to me because they reminded me of what I had observed or had reported to me by the Black women exotic dancers I had studied.

Men who work at the club tax dancers’ earnings for their own gain

One of the earlier scenes in Hustlers depicted Destiny after a shift at the club. Most people assume exotic dancers make a lot of money, possibly due to fictional depictions like the one below of the women crowded around Tracey, played by Trace Lysette, as dollar bills fly through the air.

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