It’s freezing outside. I’m in a sequined Tracy Reese dress, gold stilettos, a fur shawl, scarf and peacoat (did I mention it was freezing?). I arrive early to Love, formerly known as Dream, the famed club in DC that guarantees every event will be a production. The last time I went there was during Howard Homecoming circa 2006 where I waited in line for 2 hours before being coaxed into paying a $75 cover (ugh…even saying it now hurts). Tonight, I walk up to the sign bearing the first letter of my last name, give my credentials and walk right in.
Here’s the TR dress and Adrienne Landau fur. Yeah, we went all out…
Miss Beautylicious was the picture of elegance. Love the stole!
Where last time the girls strutted around in strappy sandals and too-tight latex dresses, tonight they’re sporting metallic minis and furs. Something’s unusual about this party. For one, it’s the inauguration weekend of the first black President in U.S. history. But the main difference is probably the host: Diddy, Puffy, Puff Daddy, Sean Combs, whose various nicknames are all synonymous with spectacle. The man can throw a good party.
He left his stamp on everything from the choice of music (Prince! Jay-Z!) to liquor (Ciroc flowed freely throughout the club). Videos from Bad Boy’s golden era, which are especially poignant after seeing Notorious the night before (more on that later), flash across huge screens. Though the 21-25 attendees are actually dressed like they’re auditioning for a Bad Boy video, no one is dancing…except me of course (I came out in this frigid weather so I’m determined to make the most of my night!).
On the second floor, we make our way to the stage where a couple of DJ’s from 93.9 “Obama” FM seem to be stalling for a celebrity appearance…or performance? Here’s where the fun starts. After dancing to the best rap tunes on the radio (hello Kanye! The Dream! T-Pain and Jamie Foxx!), the DJ decides to play a guessing game: Guess which music icon is in the building? Our minds are spinning…Jay-Z? JLo? Biggie reincarnated? “Stevie Wonder,” he screams and the crowd goes insane. (Impressive given they’re all a bit young…I know, I am too, but we grew up on Stevie at my house! He’s the 6th member of our family.)
The crowd rocking out to the hottest music on the radio! The DJ was one of the best I’ve heard in a while.
Seconds later, the legendary singer/songwriter emerges on the stage (being led by an entourage), plops down on the couch and starts grooving to the music like nobody’s business. I almost stop breathing. Everyone who knows me knows I am a HUGE Stevie Wonder fan, about 160 songs on my iPod, I kid you not. This is not a star sighting, this is the star sighting.
Diddy and will.i.am. follow and before we know it, it’s a star-studded event. Stevie blesses us with a passionate speech about the inauguration, acknowledging that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream has finally been fulfilled. “A goal set is a goal met,” he says before jumping into a rendition of “Happy Birthday!” the song he wrote years ago while campaigning to make MLK’s birthday a national holiday.
I always wanted to hear Stevie sing and amidst the chaos and chatter of the crowd, I finally get my wish.
Diddy rolls up in a sweater and bubble vest (Is this a men’s fashion trend this weekend? Dr. Ian Smith was just wearing it last night. But it IS freezing.) He immediately jumps onstage and announces to the crowd, “I just woke up!”
I’m secretly disappointed he’s not wearing the white suit and black tie from those “I Am King” cologne ads. Nothing like a sharp black man.
After Stevie’s song, Diddy steps to the mic with a rousing remark about the significance of our first black president, and his giddiness is contagious! The entire crowd is on their feet, smiling, dancing and bursting with excitement. As partygoers scramble to capture the moment on camera, I realize tonight is a memory I’ll always treasure. Two moments stay in mind: first, Diddy chatting it up with Stevie Wonder in VIP. Here’s a man whose vision shaped hip-hop culture shooting the breeze with one of Motown’s most revered musical geniuses. And secondly, watching Stevie sway to songs from Biggie and Beyonce, even singing lines from recent hits along with the entire crowd. What generational gap?
Oh and speaking of our generation, Terrance J. from 106 and Park was there. He was pouring Ciroc into some lucky audience members’ empty cups. Sharing is caring.
And that handsome assistant from “I Want to Work for Diddy!” was there (His name is Mike for those of you who weren’t glued to the TV screen every Monday). I have to say, I could relate to the boy. Standing up (while everyone else sits) holding Diddy’s coat and trying to stay out of the way. Reminds me of my 9-5 =) Hang in there, Mike!
Amazing night. Back to bed (Finally! Nobody’s sleeping in DC!!) before the free concert tomorrow.
A humbled and elated,
I’m driving down New York Avenue and the excitement in the air is so thick, you can almost touch it. I knew D.C. would feel different once President Barack Obama officially arrived, but I had no idea just how exhilirated, how joyous the capital would be!! (Sidenote: I’m dropping President-elect early. Yeah, it’s not traditional, but he’s already my President. I don’t want to wait until the ceremony!) Chocolate city, as it’s affectionally called, is swarming with people from every race and every walk of life, and the energy is nothing short of electric. Strangers all united by one cause, one joy: Obamamania.
And he is everywhere! Buy a metro card and there’s his face, smiling up at you. Turn on the radio and you hear his name a million times, from the DJ’s (“93.9 Obama FM”!) to the advertisers (O’Jama sleepwear! What people will come up with to sell a product amazes me!). Oh and I passed a store on New York Avenue called Obama Headquarters! They’re selling everything except the man’s socks.
A blurry pic of my Metro Card. I’m keeping it forever!!
This is a town that lovingly claims, honors and just adores Barack. It’s clear that his rhetoric of hope has touched us all on some level, no matter our experiences or circumstances. Our faith has been restored, our souls have been lifted. Strangers, young and old, who wouldn’t have looked at me twice months ago, are smiling, laughing and joking like we’re old friends. We’re not the same people who were mistrustful of our government and each other, weary of our differences, bitter about our financial shortcomings and fighting our neighbors to get ahead. Change. Maybe our circumstances haven’t, but our spirits certainly have. All thanks to our new President.
Friday night, I came out in the blistering cold to celebrate Mr. President (ohh, it feels great saying that!) with hosts, Common and Jesse Jackson, Jr. at a swank four-floor lounge called the Park in downtown D.C. (Sidenote: while walking down 14th street, strangers were screaming “Gobama!” and “Yes we did!” from their cars. It’s a citywide celebration!!)
Despite the excitement, my roomie and I couldn’t help but notice the homeless people crowded behind pillars and wrapped in heavy blankets to shield them from the cutting 18 degree weather. Our hearts went out to them. Made us think twice about complaining for standing on line for ten minutes.
Inside, with the Lakers and Orlando game playing in the background, the crowd of tastemakers, athletes, models and powerhouses toasted champagne and danced like it was New Year’s Eve. The place was packed, the weather hadn’t deterred a soul. Dr. Ian Smith hung out on the first floor in a bubble coat while Common, will.i.am. and superstar choreographer, Fatima grooved to Kanye West and M.I.A. in the third floor’s VIP section.
Will.i.am. rocked his own breed of bookworm chic with those ubiquitous personality glasses, a hoodie and fedora. The superproducer spent the night texting away on his cell phone. And just as you’d expect from the genius behind Aaliyah’s “Are you that Somebody?” routine, Fatima was killing it on the dance floor! Plus her lip color was fabou.
Between greeting tons of female admirers with his signature, gracious smile, one of my fave rappers, Common, took a second to chat about the magic of this historic moment. “It’s a new day where it’s possible for all of us to contribute to the betterment of our nation and our world,” he told me. “I feel blessed to be a part of history.” I think everybody in D.C. feels the same way. Cheers to newness! (And warmth! Back to the apartment for me).
If you’ve been following this blog, you already know I’m stricken with Obama fever (see my ten-part post on Michelle) and I’ve traveled all the way to DC for the vaccine. Judging from the Obama headquarters (souvenir store that sells everything but the actual napkins he used) to the metro cards adorning his smiling face to “93.9 OBAMA FM,” there is no cure.
(UPDATE: I just heard an ad for O-jamas, Obama-inspired sleepwear. Our people are so creative!)
I’ve got invites to several exclusive, exciting “galas,” including Diddy’s superstar gathering at LOVE on Saturday. And I’ll be reporting every news-worthy event, star-sighting and glam fashion moment here first so stay tuned!
Yeah, it’s freezing cold (18 degrees), crowded (me and 4,999 other Obama enthusiasts) and I’m sleep-deprived (what’s new?), but I’m doing it for you…and to share stories with my children and children’s children…and children’s children’s children. Oh and keep your fingers crossed that I’ll have a random run-in with Obama at Ben’s Chili’s or Busboys and Poets, lol.
Bursting with excitement,
P.S. Here’s some more pics of Obama at Ben’s Chili.
I love a man that knows good food!