Joseline’s Cabaret: Miami, on The Zeus Network, gives viewers an unadulteraded glimpse into the underground world of strippers and sex workers. Joseline, beloved reality TV star and former headlining dancer on the Miami scene, enlists a handful of women to be apart of her cabaret. We watch as Joseline attempts to mentor the young women by offering them the means to a way out of their dangerous and grueling lifestyle. And more-importantly to them — a paycheck. Because money is the main driver for the women on Joseline’s Cabaret.
Joseline appoints a “bottom b*tch,” Daisy, to guide the rest of her chosen nightlife queens. Daisy is pretty, well-dressed and well-kept and light skin with long tresses flowing down her back. Whereas a “bottom b*tch” answers to the pimp, in this case Joseline, and acts as a sisterly figure to the hierarchy of ladies beneath her, Daisy did the complete opposite. Instead, she teamed up with her equally sinister friend Chazzity and they degraded the rest of the cabaret cast. Together, they terrorized Lucky and her close friend Jaa calling them names like “rowdy, ghetto, tom-boyish and raggedy.” They insisted Jaa needed a makeover.
By episode three, Joseline was over it and called out Daisy and Chazzity’s behavior. “Ya’ll treated them because y’all are light skin, y’all cute [sic],” she snapped. “What does light skin have to do it with it?” Chazzity quipped. In a later confessional, Joseline continued, “There’s something about light skin b*tches that you can’t tell them sh*t.”
While Joseline never minces words, Daisy and Chazzity’s behavior exposed a prevalent issue in strip clubs — colorism.
Colorism is defined as discrimination based on one’s skin color. It is especially prevalent from members of the same race. Historically, the fairer your skin, the better you were treated because the closer you were to the white race. Colorism is a branch on the racism tree beside a twig called featurism — where European features like slender noses and smaller lips are more valued.
Another dancer, Saaphire revealed her struggle with being sexually assaulted on the job, because of her skin color. “You do have men that try to be more disrespectful with certain colors than others,” she revealed.
Daisy dismissed her feelings “Me and Lucky are different. She’s brown skin and I’m light skin and we work at the same club. Her doing extra because she’s a brown skin girl I don’t see that.”
In an interview with VladTV, Cardi B, another famous stripper turned superstar, spoke out about colorism in the strip club. “They don’t even hire Black bartenders in New York City strip clubs,” she explained. “I feel like people have a fetish with girls they consider exotic.” She went on to describe a conversation with a Black male friend who said he doesn’t date Black women because it is his preference.
Joseline, a lighter skin woman, identified what she saw as judgmental and unfair treatment when Daisy and Chazzity used certain derogatory words to insult their brown skin co-stars and called them out on it.
We can only combat colorism by acknowledge it, talking about it and holding one another accountable. Kudos to Joseline for recognizing it and acting on it.