Charles "CJ" Pace had just finished painting his new Downtown Jersey City photography studio Saturday when he went to The Ashford a few blocks away to grab a bite with some friends.
He was wearing "jogger" sweatpants, which are in violation of the Newark Avenue establishment's dress code. And so, when the bouncer told him Pace and his friends had to sit outside, he understood, he said.
But about an hour later, when the 25-year-old model was wrapping up and waiting for the bill, when a group of white men similarly dressed in joggers walked over to the bouncer.
He watched in disbelief as the bouncer checked their IDs and waved them inside, Pace told Daily Voice.
The Ashford did not immediately return Daily Voice's request for comment Tuesday morning.
Pace began filming when he realized the group of white men was being let in despite being out of dress code, and posted the footage to Twitter. The post had garnered more than 13K shared and 654K views as of Tuesday morning.
"I felt humiliated, embarrassed and frustrated," said Pace, a Paterson native who lives in Newark. "I agreed to their dress code and to sit outside.
"I was treated less than... the color of my skin confirmed this."
Pace said he called the head security guard to his table and asked why the other group didn't have to sit outside like he did. The guard apparently whispered something to the bouncer and proceeded to wave the group of white men inside, Pace recalled.
Pace said a manager came outside and offered to buy him and his friend a round of drinks. But Pace wanted more.
He wanted an explanation. An apology. At the very least, he wanted to feel understood. Rather, the manager brushed off the entire situation, Pace said.
"He wasn’t apologetic," Pace said. "He was going to give us a free round and then keep it moving."
"Can you just imagine how I felt?" Pace said. "It was a slap in the face to me."
Pace said the outpouring of support on social media is "the only thing making me feel better."
He is encouraging others to speak up in situations like his.
"Our voices our powerful," he said. "These people made me feel like I was nothing, but I know I’m somebody.
"All because I was wearing sweatpants."
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