Black is Beautiful 2020 – Jewel Thais-Williams
I first became aware of Jewel through the documentary “Jewel’s Catch One” by C. Fitz distributed by Array Films. In the late 60s LA club scene Jewel barred from entry and jobs. Because of the racism and sexism she experienced when trying to work as a bartender or just go party she decided to build her own spot called “Jewel’s Catch One” which stayed open for over 40 years through a fire, police harassment, and the many hardships (both physical and financial) to keep any business open.
From what I can tell her club helped to create a safe and creative space for Queer Black folks to dance, party, and just be themselves. With a great sound system, and DJs who were among the first to play Disco and House music on the west coast it became a destination for folks worldwide. To run it, Jewel was not only a business owner but a bartender, dj, plumber, electrician, and manager of this club and its staff.
Later she went back to school at UCLA and earned a Master degree in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Using those talents she founded the Village Health Foundation, a health clinic which offered free or lost cost healthcare, acupuncture, and services to her community. She also founded the first women’s Aids shelter and a vegan restaurant! She is happily married and is still working to better her community. Props!
Sources: Jewel’s Catch One Documentary, Msnbc, Wikipedia.
Wanna see more Black is Beautiful pieces?
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