Black Women Beaten with Sticks, Splashed with Acetone in Brooklyn Nail Salon

Last Friday, footage of a Brooklyn nail salon staff attacking three Black customers went viral. By Sunday evening, one technician and one of the victims were charged. The nail salon, New Red Apple Nails in East Flatbush, has been closed since Sunday.

Employees of New Red Apple Nails in East Flatbush, Brooklyn attacking three Black customers with brooms and sticks. Courtesy Facebook/Mercy Maduka

Christina Thomas, a customer who paid for manicure and pedicure service, yet, refused to pay for a $5 eye wax she felt was botched, was restrained by a man who’s been identified as the owner, while her grandmother tried to protect her from the violent employees. Nail techs were armed with sticks and brooms used to strike the customers, with one nail tech going as far as throwing acetone in the victims faces. The third victim can be found, seeming to be in a rather disoriented state, stumbling to the door.

“That’s my grandmother!” Thomas can be heard yelling repeatedly while employees strike the grandmother with their sticks and brooms. Midway through the recording, a passerby enters the salon and begs the employees to stop attacking the victims.

Stills of the nail technicians attacking the grandmother, who was there with her granddaughter and her friend. photo courtesy BNN

Thomas’ mother said, “My daughter literally came with eyebrows and left with none.” She explained that, even though her daughter had been frequenting this salon for years, it was the owner of the establishment who was holding her down and consenting to the violence.

NYPD confirmed that at least two arrest have been made thus far. 32 year old Huiyue Zheng, one of the employees who attacked the customers, and Thomas, were both arrested and released on their own recognizance. Zheng was charged with assault and weapons possession, and Thomas was charged with misdemeanor assault and other charges.

Local activists and Black women are speaking out on behalf of the victims. Tamika Mallory, Tionna Smalls, and others have been vocal in defending the victims and making sure that everyone knows the violence that took place in the disgraceful nail salon.

Brutality and inhumane treatment towards Black women because of customer service disputes is nothing new, often ending in both violence and legal punishment. Chikesia Clemons was arrested and physically violated by local police after a dispute over plastic cutlery at an Alabama Waffle House. Despite the fact that footage showed Clemons poised and non-threatening at all times, Saraland police threw her to the ground, exposing her breasts with no regard. Clemons was found guilty of disorderly conduct. In late 2015 when a South Carolina teen by the name of Shakara was flung across a classroom for refusing to go to the principal’s office, the girls classmate, Niya Kenny was arrested for recording the footage and speaking up on behalf the brutalized student.

The violence that broke out at New Red Apple Nails is minor in comparison to the deadly outcomes Black women have been facing in this especially brutal summer season. In late June, 18 year old Nia Wilson and her sister, Lahtifa were stabbed, with Nia left dead at a BART station in Oakland, California. Also, three Black trans women have been found murdered in or around Jacksonville, Florida since June.

Tamela J. Gordon is a writer, Black feminist, and creator of the women’s empowerment group, Sisters with Aspiration, as well as SWA’s Black Feminists Book Club. You can gift books for readers or pay Tamela HERE: To contact Tamela for speaking engagements or creating your own women’s empowerment group, email shewritestolive@gmail.com

Writer. Feminist. Advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS.

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