Couple denied service at Atlanta restaurant over sneakers, T.I. weighs in

DeMicia Inman
·4 min read

A trip to a sushi restaurant did not go as planned for a Black couple due to a pair of Nike Air Force 1 tennis shoes.

A Black couple in Atlanta was turned away from a local sushi restaurant citing dress code violations although other patrons sported similar gear.

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Kaylan Colbert captured the confrontation between her husband, Steve, restaurant staff, and the eatery’s owner Farshid Ashid. She tells a local news outlet that she and her husband have frequented the Buckhead restaurant throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

They had never had issues with the dress code despite having previously worn casual shoes. The couple was willing to accept the no-sneaker rule until they were escorted out of the venue but not before spotting a woman at the bar wearing athletic shoes who was allowed to stay.

“I had been there multiple times. The COVID situation we had probably been about four times and spent plenty of money there in the past so this is supposed to be like a high-end restaurant,” Colbert told Fox 5. “As we were walking out, though, my husband noticed a woman at the bar had on tennis shoes and that’s when everything had gone out the window at that point because there are no rules here for some people, only for others,” she said.

“This is pure racism, she has on Adidas,” her husband said in the video. His footwear, a pair of all-white Nike Air Force 1 tennis shoes, were cited as the reason the couple was asked to leave.

“Discrimination at Umi Sushi in Atlanta!” Colbert wrote, sharing the 10-minute broadcast on Instagram.

Arshid told Fox5 the dress code policy is posted both inside the restaurant and on the website. He confirms the rule applies to the entire establishment including the bar, where Colbert’s husband saw a woman who wasn’t Black wearing Adidas.

Colbert recorded the over 10-minute debate where the restaurant’s staff, and then the owner, explained that the woman at the bar was wearing ‘dress’ Adidas as opposed to Nikes and that’s why she was permitted to stay despite the posted dress code.

The conversation becomes increasingly confrontational as Colbert’s husband and the restaurant’s owner go back and forth outside the establishment, eventually having to be separated by restaurant staffers. The owner threatens the patron with jail and tells the couple not to come back to the restaurant.

But when contacted by Fox5, Umi Sushi’s owner tells the news outlet the situation could have played out differently.

“This was completely, 100%, an operational mistake on our end,” Arshid said to Fox5. “When they got upset we should have investigated that.”

He says has reached out to the couple.

“We’ve seen this on the news over and over lately. Nobody wants to feel that way. Nobody wants to feel like they can’t go to certain places,” Colbert said, according to the Fox5.

Atlanta-based rapper T.I. weighed in with support for the couple on his Instagram page. calling for the upscale sushi restaurant to be shut down. He also met with Arshid about the incident, encouraging him to hire more Black staff.

His efforts turned controversial when he was accused of not reaching out to the couple first before promoting a boycott/shutdown of the restaurant. He addressed the issue in another Instagram broadcast.

T.I. Sushi Atlanta couple thegrio.com
T.I. speaks onstage during Netflix Presents Rhythm+Flow Atlanta screening at Clark Atlanta University on October 08, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Netflix/Allied Integrated Marketing)

“I don’t know these people. My only intention, as it has been, is to speak on behalf of the people, and represent the collective accordingly,” he said.

Colbert cleared up the confusion from her own profile, stating her husband made a statement in a now-deleted video before meeting with T.I. and her only goal is to keep the pressure on the restaurant.

“My husband made that video before we met with you. To be honest we are somewhat exhausted with this whole situation and ultimately the restaurant was exposed. That’s really it,” she wrote on Instagram in a post clearing the air with the King rapper. She followed up with a subsequent post officially redirecting the confrontational energy.

View this post on Instagram

That’s really the main focus.

A post shared by Kaylan Colbert ATTORNEY (@thegeorgialawyer) on Oct 29, 2020 at 8:07pm PDT

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The post Couple denied service at Atlanta restaurant over sneakers, T.I. weighs in appeared first on TheGrio.