Houston attorney files discrimination lawsuit against club on Washington Avenue

A Houston man is suing a Houston club over claims of racial and gender discrimination.

Willie Powells, a well-known attorney in Houston, says he was the victim in this case.  According to Powells, Sugar Room along Washington Avenue, wouldn’t let him into their club in September 2021.


"[It’s] because I’m Black, that may have something to do with it, and because I’m a man," said Powells in a press conference Tuesday.

Powells says club security told him he couldn’t get into the club because of holes in his jeans. However, Powells tells reporters he didn’t have holes in his jeans. Powells claims he then watched as other people got into the club, despite having tears in their pants.

"I explained to them there are no holes," said Powells. "I showed them there were no holes. They said you still can’t come in any way."


In a separate alleged incident, another woman says the same club wouldn’t allow her and her partner inside.

"[It’s] probably because we’re Black," said Brittaney Morant. "Maybe we look too urban."

According to Morant, the club’s security told them they couldn’t go inside because her partner has gold teeth and tattoos. 

"She has gold teeth," said Morant. "They told her we couldn’t get in because her teeth were gold and that she had tattoos. We didn’t have the look they were going for at the club."

"You would think if the money is green, and you don’t see the people as a danger, you’d have no problem letting them in," said Tomaro Bell, Chair of Public Safety and Finance for the Super Neighborhoods Alliance. "That apparently is not the case at multiple establishments on Washington Avenue."

In 2016, a separate discrimination lawsuit was filed against a midtown Houston bar known as Gaslamp. At the time, Gaslamp was accused of forcing minorities to pay cover charges.

"It’s an unfortunate situation that still exists, but if you’re not a millennial African-American male out clubbing, you wouldn’t even know," said Bell.

RELATED: Midtown Houston bar staff accused of racial discrimination

Several FOX 26 staff members tried getting in contact with the Sugar Room on Tuesday via email, phone calls, Facebook Messenger, and in-person. As of Tuesday evening, we were still waiting for a response from the business, regarding the accusations.

"Houston is the fourth largest city," said Powells. "It’s the most diverse city of all the states. We want everybody to be treated equally and fairly."