The moment of unity began when police cordoned off K Street NW, separating Archibald’s dancers from their potential customers.
As several hundred protesters milled around, Candice stood in a pink bodysuit outside the club’s front door, staring gloomily at the scene.
She and the other strippers — her preferred term — had already seen business slow to a trickle because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, just as they were expecting a busy Saturday night, the police were blocking the entrance.
“We’re just trying to do our job,” she fumed. She doubted that the officers were necessary.
“If you ask any stripper, they will tell you: We can beat ass ourselves,” she said, nodding at the police. “We don’t need them.”
Candice is 23. She said her boss doesn’t like her giving out her last name.
“Technically, all our last names are ‘Angel,’ ” she said.
She moved to D.C. in April from Detroit. So far, she isn’t impressed — at least with the protests disrupting her livelihood. She said she’s “equally annoyed” with both sides.
“My mom and I were just talking about how we moved to D.C. because we wanted to be around more intelligent people,” she said. “And now I am surrounded by this s---.”
But two of the dancers decided to make the best of the situation, heading out into the chilly night to sing and twerk to the Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion hit “WAP.”
As police officers a few feet away tried not to turn and look, a bearded man in a Trump hat walked past and insulted the dancers. The women kept dancing, pausing only to shoot back their own insults.
People from both sides of the police cordon began cheering the performance.
When they were finished, Cecilia Perez walked up to the dancers and stuffed around $50 in one woman’s G-string.
“We can get along,” said Perez, who had come to the nation’s capital with her husband from Harrisburg, Pa., to attend a pro-Trump rally. “I’m a Republican, but I love everybody.”