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R&B Chicks and NBA Draft Parties: Rites of Passage for New Money

You fall back for a week and you miss what feels like a year of events. Well, not really but it’s just a reminder to let you know how much goes on in this city. I missed a few events: the brawls at Duvet on Loon’s birthday, the two-year anniversary at 40/40, the tons of T&A running around at Gallery last Wednesday otherwise known as John Blassingame’s (founder of Black Men’s Magazine) birthday party. But I got back on track so let’s talk about where I did go.
About two weeks ago, I decided to change the pace a bit and go to a social setting outside of the typical “money, cash, hoes” club environment, and went to a fundraiser for The Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History located in Detroit, Michigan. I figured I would do something positive with my life and these events give me a dose a dosage of reality since I’ve come to accept that my world consists of fantasies and facades. I gotta go to these things more often, for I find it a whole lot easier to talk to women in these settings than in a club. I think women put up an extra barrier when they go to clubs in fear that the one brother with five missing teeth who just got home will try to pick them up. Ladies, I think that when guys approach you in the club, you’re waiting and expecting to hear that one line to verify he is crazy. To show you how much I am used to speaking to folks in clubs, I kept leaning towards folks ears to speak to them for that’s what I do to hear over the loud music in a club although there was no music here. I guess folks thought I was crazy after that. Anyway, the event catered to a number of Detroit expatirates whom now live and/or work in NYC. One ‘expat’, Jay Norris, is a former promoter who was at the top of the game in the mid to late 90s with his group, Tastemaker Ent.. If my memory serves me correctly, his team was responsible for many star-studded nights at NV during this time. Other notables included the Mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, Rev. Al Sharpton and one of the Persaud Bros. (I always get the twins mixed up). Later on that evening I went to the Entertainment magazine issue release party at Deep where Common and John Legend gave smashing performances. I ran into a good number of notables during my brief stay such as Amerie (who I stood next to for 5 min. and didn’t know it was her), NY Giants quarterback Eli Manning, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Dhani Jones, and Seattle Supersonic Jerome James. (Could the Knicks be in your future?) Last Friday I stopped by the Eva the Diva party at the Coral Room (OBM) hosted the America’s Next Top Model winner herself. By looking at the pics on the site, a lot of folks questioned if she was even there becoming yet another fake celebrity party. To clear everything up, yes she was there with a crew of your stereotypical, alternative lifestyle fashion types if you know what I mean. However, she stayed for about 20 min. and left since she felt there wasn’t appropriate security for her and her peoples. Apparently, she wanted the VIP area reserved only for her crew and asked that all others who had paid for bottles to sit in VIP be kicked out. I guess they don’t call her a diva for nothing huh. I think there was probably a bit too much ethnicity in the room for her comfort. I'm sure she's not use to these crowds since she became a celebrity. Psuedo rapper/singer Ray J was in the building as well. (Wait a minute, ain't that Brandy's brother?) Let’s jump to last Wednesday when I decided to check out my homegirl Steph Lova over at 58 where I walked into an organized frenzy for Keyshia Cole's album release party. I came in during her live performance and she’s an R&B chick that can actually sing. She sounded the same live, as she does on record. I point this out because after hearing how awful Ciara sounded after watching a tape of her performance at Summer Jam, it made me wonder how many of these songstresses can really sing? I haven’t watched it yet, but I heard the same about Ciara of her performance on the BET Awards Show. Anyway, last Wednesday had the most people in 58 I had ever seen including the opening night with NY Knick Jamal Crawford’s B-Day Party whose guests included Jay-Z. And the party lasted late....The crowd was pretty thick until the lights came on. Notables included LB The Mayor, Richie Rich and his VA Holla crew (thanks man), 9fingerz Ent.’s Benny Blanco and Madame Miska, MTV’s LaLa, Suga J, DJ Red Alert, Hassan Johnson (Wee-Bay on The Wire), Bad Boy’s Black Rob, Steve (A&S Jeans) and CoCo. I’m sure there were more, but at this point I can’t remember. I guess I should write these things down huh? Fast forward to the top of this week when the NBA Draft was in town. This means a number of parties to celebrate the latest addition of instant young millionaires. Monday, I attended an event I had been anticipating for the past 3 weeks: John Vasquez and Chuck Bone’s Pre-NBA Draft Party at Deep. This was the first event from these two since they collaborated for their b-day party at Duvet in March, which arguably was one of the top parties of the year, so I was looking for some similar fanfare this time around. Despite the venue being switched as late as Sunday morning, it turned out to be the best event of all the draft parties. It actually turned out better this happened since Deep, a larger venue, was better equipped to handle the large number of folks who came more so than Strata, the original venue. Nonetheless the ladies and notables were plentiful and DJs S&S and Bobby Trends killed their sets. By the way, some of you promoters may want to give S&S more looks, between this and his performance last Wednesday at 58 for Keyshia Coles’ party, he’s killin’ em. I wrote down the notables when I got home this time, so I have quite a few for you: Dwayne Wade and Udonnis Haslem (Miami Heat), NJ Net Brian Scalabrine, NBA Los, Mr. Hefner, X-Factah’s Patty Laurent, DJ Self, Strata’s Alicia, Joe Jaxson, Hpnotiq’s Nick Storm, R.V. and Elaine, TNT basketball analyst Kenny Smith, DJ Big Kap, Zab Judah, Randy B. (Stand Firm Ent.), Hollywood Chuck, Steve (A&S Jeans), Pete Brown (Saatchi & Saatchi), Chuck and NFL Kev. Many of the top draft picks were in the building including #1 pick Andrew Bogut, Rashad McCants, Brooklyn’s own Charlie Villanueva, Chris Paul and Sean May. For those not privy to their situation it looked pretty odd to see some of these young brothers chillin’ with middle-aged White men in the middle of a club blaring Young Jeezy, 50 Cent, etc. I’m sure many of these men worked with their agents and they were probably out to make sure nothing happens to their “property” before their big payday. The next installment of draft parties followed right after the draft itself Tuesday night. I wound up at Glo where it appeared the agent of new NBA millionaires Raymond Felton and Hakim Warrick put together the event. However, despite the notables in attendance and DJ Whoo Kid on the turntables, the party wasn’t good at all. There was no energy in the building. Most of the notables were stashed so far back in the VIP area, it left everyone else worrying about trying to get up there. Many of them were damn near flawless women, whom I guess were looking to score with a basketball player. Hell, LeBron James was up there, that’s the jackpot I would imagine. I was talking to one of the security guards there who is a seasoned veteran on the scene and he mentioned that many of the women in the building he’s never seen before. These events seem to bring out a next level of women. Looking at the proportions and faces of these ladies, I swear some of them had to be professional golddiggers, a profession one of my friends was educating me about a few days ago. (I promised to protect the guilty’s identities.) Besides Lebron, other notables included Dwayne Wade, Drew Gooden (Cleveland Cavs), John Vasquez and draft picks Sean May, Rashad McCants, Chris Paul, Antoine Wright and Harlem’s own Julius Hodge. (Did you see how he repped the hood on the draft? You’re OK in my book. I wish you the best.) Enjoy the 4th of July everyone!!! For those of you at work looking for things to do this weekend, here are few suggestions: Friday: - First Fridays with OBM at The Flatiron Loft. This is their first event since the Eva incident which did solid numbers on an already crowded Friday night so it should be worth checking. - The two Friday night mainstays at Supper Club (Blush N Ent) and Eugene (Stag Ent.) You can’t go wrong with either one. Saturday: - Memphis Bleek, Amerie and Elephant Man appearing live at The City (S.C.L.A.S.S.). If you’re fan of any one of these artists, why not? - The Sat. night mainstay at Etoile (Eclectic Group). A year plus and still one of the hottest Saturdays in town. - Sucker Free after concert party at Kahn Lounge (Live on 5th Group) hosted by Da Back Wudz. - Polo and Tennis Skirt affair at The Supper Club (Showcase Ent.). These Sat. night one-offs at Supper Club can get a bit crazy and I don’t expect this to be any different. Plus I love the self-promotion these guys put behind their events. I’ve seen someone with a Showcase Ent. shirt on almost every night I’ve been out over the last week and a half. Sunday: - Independence of Style at Lobby (Blush-N Ent.). Expect to see some sexy ladies wearing some up and coming fashion designer labels. Perfect for you fashionistas. - Made in NY at BLVD: I wouldn’t do the party justice by just listing one or two promoters for this event. Let’s put it this way, everyone who’s been involved with Magic City Sundays at LQ and Sundays at Social Club at their peak about a year or so ago is on this party and then some. It’s about time you guys got together. Now all you need to do is do it every week and make a killing. - BB Kings hosted by Loon and Young Gavin (CoCo and Trump Tight). Some of these folks were responsible for Loon’s all white affair at Duvet about 2 weeks or so ago. If this is anything like that, you’re in for a treat. - One Love Sundays at Climax (K.Y. Ent.). Some fairly new cats to the game, but they offer something a bit different with their lounge party verses the huge bang out club venue. Check it out if you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing on what will otherwise be a huge clubbing night. - Moonlight Cruise aboard the Spirit of NY (BlackFam). It should be a nice night outside, enjoy it in style aboard this yacht. P.S., don’t forget your Dramamine to prevent motion sickness. Don’t want to barf all over your fancy party dress or suit. I’ve said my share for now. You know the routine. I can be reached at fcgnews@gmail.com and I’ll see you in the clubs. Be safe this weekend, and don’t drink and drive, 5-0 will be out in full force this weekend.

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