Is Clubhouse Really For POC? #FreePunky


January 5th 2021 

Clubhouse has been the talk of the town across social media lately. The space has become more active with excited new users and veterans of the app have been flourishing with their personal clubs and events. 

Unfortunately, for one user, she has gone from pushing an amazing movement for Independent Artists to have a club to share their music to now leading a revolution for black influencers to feel safe to be able to be creative and vocal on social media. 

R&B Artist, Punky, has trended on Twitter based on her events that has hundreds of artists hyped for her weekly showcases and pop up rooms from all over the world. 


Punky had a Clubhouse club called "PUNKY GANG" where not only unsigned hopefuls waited for a chance for their music to be heard in various showcases and events, even celebrities were seen stepping into her space to vibe with fellow users. Her Emo Cry Room & ClubhouseRadio  were certified hits on this platform still in beta. 

Twitter was always buzzing with the hashtag #ClubhouseRadio as artists and supporters tweeted about  the rising R&B stars highlights and feedback from their experience that they had in her rooms. 

Just to name few tweets that highlight the amazing responses she has gotten for her efforts to help the up and coming in the Clubhouse Community.

However, on December 30th, that all came to a halt when Punky's account was deactivated and she was removed from the app with no reason or warning which present's as a red flag to users who are just getting into the app. 

I reviewed their terms and conditions carefully and their guidelines which CLEARLY state: 

From their RULES:

If another user has reported you for violating a Rule, here’s what you should know:

  • If a report has been filed against you, we will contact you through your Clubhouse account with information about the nature of the report. We may keep some details private in order to protect the reporting user(s). If we are unable to reach you, we may restrict your account access temporarily until we are able to do so.
  • We will notify you of the result of the investigation and its potential impact to you.
  • If you believe a report has been falsely filed against you or you would like to appeal a decision, please contact us, including as much context as possible.
  • Any attempt to retaliate against users who participate in reporting or investigation is a violation.

Not only is this frustrating, this is very much frightening to black creatives who join brand new applications. 

We remember what happened with Vine. Back in June 2014, Kayla Newman also known as "Peaches Monroee" posted a video on Vine, the 6 second video sharing app, coined the now popular term "Eyebrows on Fleek". 

From major brands to even Iggy Azalea using the term, at the time, the 18 year old didn't see a cent even though companies and celebrities were profiting off the phrase.

Peaches Monroee Seeks Trademark For Viral Phrase 'On Fleek' | HuffPost

But why does this keep happening to us? How many times do we have to get the shaft on new platforms? It always seems that our contributions are praised until it makes non POC uncomfortable. We are merely just an unpaid marketing team at that point. We bring people to apps, we make these apps our home, we generate content and movement, and the moment we are presented opportunities to ink deals and become our own brands, you take it from us. 

This is a major problem. This has been happening for YEARS to black creatives. We are allowed to use the app, just don't create movements that matter or create black wealth. We are allowed to have the popularity but just not the financial benefits that other creators do. 

A black teen can make up a funny dance and it can go viral, but a white teen can mimic that same dance move or imitate some form of black cadence and they are offered a seat on The Ellen Show and endorsements. 

If we are vocal about it, we are ANGRY and EMOTIONAL. If we ACT on it we are simply told that we should "create an app for black people." Well, why do WE have to create our OWN apps when there are apps for all to grow on? 

Aka "Don't do anything that makes our non-POC users feel uncomfortable." 

Artists like Punky are a breath of fresh air to independent artists. She is one of us. One of them. Because she is relatable, honest and fun, people worldwide have participated in alerting Clubhouse on their error that goes unnoticed. 

They finally got back to her after almost a week with their findings stating that she was basically "a troll" on the app. Interesting. 

Raiding rooms on Clubhouse wasn't considered malicious and against the terms and conditions when celebrities were doing it. Well, I can't say WERE, because they still ARE raiding rooms and doing things against the terms and conditions. 

Celebrities have more leeway Clubhouse mainly because their presence is what is bringing people to the app. We were told to use our REAL NAMES yet they were able to use their stage names. We were told that you cannot have more than one account and you can visibly see that these celebrities have more than one account. 

There are tons of inappropriate rooms, scams and alleged illegal activity going on and those users are not touched, banned or removed. Some actually broke the SAME "rules" and had their accounts reinstated with no issues or problems. 

What now?

We fight back. This has been going on for far too long. We can no longer stand for being the welcoming committee for apps that were not designed for us. We cannot be USED to help you curate what will make non POC comfortable. We cannot be praised for putting in work, building our brands and then you copy us and kick us off the app. We cannot be placed in positions to CODE SWITCH just to make your users happy. 

When can we be UNAPOLOGETICALLY BLACK AND PROUD in our skin without our content, our voices, our ideas, our look, our movements, our vision, our businesses, our music, our photos, our technology constantly manipulated with an algorithm geared towards just ATTRACTING PEOPLE TO YOUR APPS?

We are tired of complaining. We are tired of BEGGING to be equal in the real world AND a virtual world. 

It leads me to ask the question, WHAT APPS ARE WE ALLOWED TO BE OURSELVES ON?


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