The Club’s interior design aimed to give its entirely white clientele a “stylish plantation environment.” That referred to the city’s elite, as was the case with many clubs in New York City at the time. Despite the fact that the entertainers and the majority of the crew were African Americans, the Cotton Club initially only allowed white guests.
The Cotton Club’s portrayal of its African American employees as exotic savages or plantation dwellers aided in the organization’s strict segregation. The music was frequently composed to evoke a jungle setting. Owney Madden generated a demand for the Cotton Club by changing the club into this plantation-style setting and bringing in celebrities.