Charlotte’s social scene heats up during the CIAA tournament.
by Rodney King
The CIAA tournament invaded Charlotte this year with more than 170 thousand fans and visitors looking for good basketball and even better parties.
The party schedule read like a who’s who of celebrities and athletes. A week of socializing kicked off Wednesday afternoon with the CIAA fan experience at the Charlotte convention center. Fans were entertained all week by acts like Eric Benet, Tank and Donnell Jones. Radio personality Tom Joyner broadcasted his popular syndicated radio show from the venue offering fans of the show a chance to see him live and in person.
Uptown Charlotte looked like party central as every night club was commandeered by promoters and artists. College students were blessed with a performance by Maybach Music Group artist Wale at Club Mansion. If you weren’t into hip-hop, than your best bet would’ve been hanging out with R&B stars and Charlotte natives Sunshine Anderson and Calvin Richardson at The Sunset Club.
Thursday night saw Rick Ross take over Club Mansion on one side of the city bringing out many of the artists signed to his Maybach Music Group.
Party of the night might have been “Throwback Thursdays” at Club Oasis, where Chubb Rock, Greg Nice and Bell Biv Devoe brought the crowd back to 1990 rocking old school hits.
Friday night was the semifinals for both the men’s and women’s tournaments. But it was also the biggest party night of the week. You couldn’t walk more than 10 feet without running into a red carpet and flash bulbs. Anthony Hamilton brought out local favorites Sunshine Anderson and Jason Jett Plane along with 9th Wonder to the Fillmore Theater for the “Anthony Hamilton and Friends” concert.
Closer to uptown, the masses packed Club 935 for a rare appearance from Young Money Entertainment artist Drake.
It wasn’t all about parties on Friday though. The Charlotte Black Film Festival was held from at the Halton Theater showcasing independent films by African-American directors. While the writer of this story filmed interviews for his upcoming documentary “In the Mixx: DJ’s Doing Work” about the influence and impact of Dj’s in the hip-hop culture at Velocity sneaker boutique.
Saturday night was the grand finale and the city did not disappoint. Up first was the XXL/SLAM Magazine official CIAA grand finale party held at Vida in the epicenter. Patrons filled the quaint night spot to groove to the sounds of DJ Alize and DJ Stretch-O-Matic while flipping through complimentary issues of XXL and SLAM
Hip-hop’s current favorite rolling stoner Wiz Khalifa smoked up the crowd at Club 935, while Nicki Minaj brought out all the barbies to the Blake Hotel. Also holding court that night was R. Kelly at the Lux, Funkmaster Flex at Phoenix and Erykah Badu at 5th Element.
While basketball still took front and center in the minds of many of those who made the trek to Charlotte NC this year, the CIAA didn’t disappoint when it came to the party scene.