Friday, March 21, 2008

We Have Enough Clubs.

oot clubsleep We Have Enough Clubs.

Ok, I’ll get straight to it. I am so sick of living in a big city, in an urban community and not having anything to patronize that’s black-owned but a damn club. I live in Washington DC, home of the richest and most educated black population in the country and I look around and find that we don’t own jack shit here, except a bunch of depreciating McMansions in the suburbs. And when an African-American wants to start a business on a large scale, more often than not its some damn club or a faux-bourgeois restaurant. I mean, WTF?

Once in a while I may want to go have dinner somewhere cool, go out for drinks, go to a lounge, take a dance class, do yoga or go do some kareaoke somewhere—so why cant I find anyplace cool that’s black-owned ? I really wish more of our brothers and sisters who want to go into “entertainment establishments” business would take a look around and actually evaluate the needs of the community. What do we not have? Then do that! I’m not mad at the clubs, but can we at least act like there are some of us who want to do something else? Who is catering to that? Because I’m not gonna lie, the hottest spots in my city are all owned and operated by white folks. They can take an abandoned liquor store that has been run down for 10 years that we’ve all walked by every day, and the turn it into a cute little bar with character and charm.

And its so sad that even on those rare occasions when there is a cool black spot, or a cool regular black event—why I gotta pay $20 just to walk in the door???? Why is there, in Chocolate City and most urban areas, a surcharge to be around black people? The spot can be free every other night of the week, but on Black night, you gonna pay! Why do promoters feel like just because they’re playing hip hop/R & B, we should be required to pay more than if they were playing rock and alternative?

I feel so victimized by Black entertainment venues. I actually get jealous of white people in that regard. They can go to, generally, any bar/lounge and walk in and listen to music or drink or do karaoke or play darts or pool or whatever the fuck they do, and have a blast for free. Their spots are creative, interesting, warm, no dress codes, and most importantly no sour-faced chic at the door with a little silver cash box. We’re more worried about VIP rooms and making people take off their hats than we are with providing cool entertainment venues for our communities.

For example, we have a place in DC called Ozio’s, where the only nights they charge are on Black nights. Hello??????? And we pay it. (well, not me) We still continue to go! When will we get it??? If I want to be around black folk, im always gonna pay a grip, the drinks are gonna be high as giraffe snatch, they’ll be some dumb ass dress code, and in 2 months it will be taken over by thugs thereby creating the need to find a new spot and the cycle begins again.

I’ve never understood why it is more expensive on Black night than it is on International Night? And hell, on White night its free! And you know why? Because it can be! Our dumb asses stand in a line and pay it each and every time.

Let me give another example in my beloved city. We have a little entertainment district called the U street corridor, that was a center of Black culture in the city up until the King riots. However in the forty years since the riots, the buildings lay vacant and the strip fell into disrepair with a few little business and a couple of clubs thriving but generally a bunch of eye sores. So now, Mr. Charlie has come in and revitalized the area into a thriving area for nightlife with music, bars etc… They even created two restaurants, one dedicated to Langston Hughes and one dedicated to Marvin Gaye. And black folks got the nerve to be talking smack about gentrification. (I’ll save my thoughts on gentrification for another day)

So let me get this straight, we let it sit there for 40 years and nobody seemed too mad about that, we weren’t building businesses and nobody seemed too care about that. But let some white people come in and fix it up and all of a sudden we are angry. Talking about the white folks are taking over! Let’s see… crack houses/skid row versus thriving nightlife…hmmmmmm. Lawdy bee. Meanwhile, the one black spot left in that area, Jin, makes you wait outside in a dumb line with asshole doormen, when all the while it’s like 7 people inside. And whats worse, people actually wait.

Anyhoo… i digress.

Do you know how much money someone would make if they just created a spot? Not a mega-club where you economically rape all yr customers, but just a neighborhood spot that isnt obsessed with luxury. Because I aint luxurious 90% of the time. I want a place where I can throw on some Uggs and a t-shirt with profanity on the front, put some Jill on the juke box, and go meet that guy I met on I don’t want to yell over the music, I don’t want to pay for the privilege of spending my money at your bar, and I sho don’t care about your tired ass VIP.

We need more vision from our entrepreneurs. If you build it, and its quality, they will come. For all those they may go into this industry, please realize that people are getting married and having kids later so that gives them several more years to go out recreationally and they have a lot of disposable income to do so. But the 30 something’s don’t want to go to your club, I don’t care if you do call it Grown & Sexy Night, we all know it’s the same bullshit. So create something that we can go to that actually serves the community, that will have the same name in 5 years, that fills a void. That’s how you make money—seeing a niche and filling it. Much like our music and movies, we just keep doing the same thing over and over. Sure, the young folks will always go to clubs and that’s cool, but what about those of us who have no idea who Flo-Rida is?

Come on guys, you young, talented next generation of entrepreneurs—PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE!!! Enough with the club. Believe it or not, Black folks like to do other things too. Start a piano bar, a lounge, a coffee shop, a rock climbing facility, a sportsplex, anything but another tired ass club. I know you cant tell from listening to the radio, but there are other social interests in the African-American community.

Lets try to do a better job at assessing the needs of our communities. Lets bring our soul and creativity and vibrance to our entrepreneurial spirit as well. Perhaps we just may not need another “urban” clothing store with shirts hung on hangers in the window and the “s” replaced with a “z” in the sign. But we may need a laundromat or a bike repair shop or a comedy club or a picture framing place or a pharmacy or a 24 hour gym or one of those places where u paint on the pottery.

Our social outlets should be as diverse as we are. They should expose us to new things and provide the comfort of old things. They should foster community and laughter. They should broaden our minds or allow us to stop using them for a while. Is that too much too ask? Onward!

So, as usual that’s my two cents and its generally worth about as much as you’re paying for it. Meanwhile I gotta hurry up and run…its only free before 8p.

Peace people.

66 Responses to “We Have Enough Clubs.”

  1. ComingToDC on 21 Mar 2008 at 10:33 pm #

    Good post Jam, are you of the entrepreneural spirit?

  2. Tanisha on 22 Mar 2008 at 3:52 am #

    im definitely feeling the vibe of this post…thats part of the reason i dont really go out much. theres just not a lot of places to go! the only thing is how difficult it seems to be to get black folk to patronize black businesses….i mean, i know here in philly i would LOVE nothing more than a spot to go to that is casual, free, comfortable, fun and black-owned. however, the question is, would i be the only one in there?? and i think thats the fear that many have with breaking the mold of the nightclub (which, lets face it, generally fails anyway)…i watch black folk i know who have the entrepreneurial spirit (which i personally lack) struggle to get black business; they watch black folk walk by their establishment everyday without even a glance in and go straight to the chain…

    so, while i agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment, i can also understand the business owners’ apprehension. its a tough spot!

  3. jamdonaldson on 22 Mar 2008 at 7:25 am #

    absolutely!!!! im definitely of the entrepreneurial spirit. but i like the business of media and words. I dont think i’d be too good a store or restaurant owner–not enough discipline and not great with numbers.

  4. Mississippi Girl on 23 Mar 2008 at 3:56 pm #

    OMG!!! I thought this was just here in my town but i see the feeling is the same everywhere! It’s no fun going out anymore! I HATE standing in the lines knowing there are only THREE people inside!!! Great post! I hope my business minded brothers and sisters get a clue and bring some diversity to the area SOON!!!

  5. Anonymous on 24 Mar 2008 at 12:05 am #

    There are many black-owned businesses in DC that the gen pub doesn’t realize are black-owned.

    They charge only on Black nights because of the stereotype that “you can’t take Black folk nowhere.” Charging on Black night is a stupid way clubs try to “keep out the riffraff.”

  6. Anonymous on 24 Mar 2008 at 12:37 am #

    You’re referring to DC, but I’m reading this as if this could be in Chicago! That’s exactly why I don’t go out anymore, there’s nothing to do, and I’m tired of the same thing being done by everybody even though they try to cloak it behind the words “Exclusive” or “Grown & Sexy!” I hope more people read this, esp the ones who are always out there trying to start some new entertainment production, and hopefully, they will try something innovative!

  7. jamdonaldson on 24 Mar 2008 at 2:00 am #

    Chile…. name two. And i dont mean Ethiopians (not that theres anything wrong with that). And dont say no damn Cakelove. I mean, dont get me wrong, Im not saying that there are no black-owned business where i live. Of course there are–im simplytalking about black-owned entertainment or recreational venues.

  8. msjlouise on 24 Mar 2008 at 8:16 pm #

    Like others previously stated, I thought that this type of thing only happened in Texas. I now have been exposed to others that are experiencing the same. I am at a predominantly white university, and when I do get the chance to go out (exams and papers) at the white clubs, they only charge $5 if you are under 21 and free if older than 21. Well we have the Black clubs or the white owned establishments and the Black frats/sorors throw their parties and the prices get raised to $20 damn dollars!!! I am a struggling Black college student, with loans everywhere, I have no time nor the money to waste to see frats/sorors strolling and the same locals (those not in school) trying to holla at the educated sistas.
    I wish the same things for my fellow Blacks, open a jazz bar, a bowling place(yes, I love to bowl) anything besides being the poster child for white owned bar/club.
    Okay, back in Dallas, there are about 5 clubs owned by the same person or group of people that add to the repetitive cycle of: when they first open, everyone gets in free, after about a week or two, they start charging and then different hoods (yes, they still represent their hoods, dont ask me why) get into it and then a couple of people get shot and the club throws a new name and a few coats of paint on the building and its back to pjhase one. Thats why I dont go out when I am home (away from school) because its the same thing. Its either people you went to school with that are doing absolutely nothing with their lives (they wanna down talk me because I chose a non-HBCU school)girls on their 3 or 4 th baby and dudes that are always in there so much that they have their pics hung on the walls.
    So, after all that I have said, I definitely agree with you Jam. Thanks for the great read!!!

  9. camille43 on 24 Mar 2008 at 8:36 pm #

    I think this may be something that happens all over. The problem is that there most likely would not be enough black people to support the non traditional entertainmnet venues. Would blacks come out in crowds to support these types of spots just like we do for the steortypical clubs? Unfortunately I believe that the answer is no.

    There was a similar situation here in the Little Rock Arkansas area. A black owned coffee shop opened up a few years back. It served coffee during the day and at night transformed into a open mic/peotry slam and literary performing arts spot. The latte’s rivaled those that were served at Starbucks and the atmosphere was very adult, jazzy and classy. Unfortunately I was only able to visit twice, because it did not stay open very long. It certainly catered to a different type of crowd and my girlfriends and I loved it. But that was not enough.

  10. Dr. Kiti on 25 Mar 2008 at 1:03 am #

    Very inspirational post. I always wanted to own an entertainment establishment but felt that I lacked the entrepreneurial spirit to make it happen. I always wanted a place to go where I could throw on my t-shirt with profanity on it (there is no word like the ‘fuck’ word) and drink for free without feling like a scrub. I live near Oakland and almost all our best places to go have been shut down due to shootings and such. The ones that are left are so siddity and full of themselves that my crew would rather patronize the white-owned bar/pool hall just so we can be comfortable. I would love to open my own place where people like me can come in, have a beer or a mojito, unwind and have a good time. None of that ‘dress code’, cover charge shit. Thanks for waking up my dream Jam!

  11. justasking on 25 Mar 2008 at 10:23 pm #

    Jam, I love your postings, stalk them all the time. I am luv’n the name, and so, tell me is “siddity” a word? Just askin’….. lol..

  12. Calisha on 26 Mar 2008 at 5:38 pm #

    Not that I don’t agree with much of your post, but there are several great places owned by Blacks in DC.

    Bukom Cafe in Adams Morgan is free, packed with Black people every weekend and has great food and live reggae.

    There’s also Takoma Station, a jazz club in Takoma Park that I’m pretty sure is black-owned.

    Maybe you should look harder.

    And to assume that black people don’t want to build businesses is ridiculous. The problem is that the black people with the capital to start business move to the burbs and only come to the city for work/entertainment purposes.

  13. jamdonaldson on 26 Mar 2008 at 6:31 pm #

    Oh contraire Calisha! I happen to love Takoma Station but its a place that illustrates my point precisely– it is a very rare occasion that you can go to Takoma Station without dropping $20 at the door. And for men, its usually more (but dont get me started on that fuckery). Sorry.

    And as far as Bukom is concerned, I know Im going to get in trouble for saying this–but its never stopped me before so what the hell–that spot is owned by Africans. If we were going to include Africans, sure its a rack of stuff owned by them (God Bless ‘Em)–but I’m talking bout good ole US-born Negros.

    Using that as a criterion, I’d love to know more spots…

  14. jamdonaldson on 26 Mar 2008 at 6:38 pm #

    Though I do want to give a shout out to the H Street Martini Lounge, which i think is a great example of a local dig in DC that generally has the right idea. I wish people would follow their example.

    I just want something occasionally that isnt expensive and aint African or Reggae themed. Is that too much to ask?

    Sorry to bore the non-DC dwellers.

    As u were…

  15. The Fitness Diva on 26 Mar 2008 at 7:44 pm #

    It’s funny that you mentioned a laundromat. I was just thinking this afternoon while washing my clothes at the corner laundry (owned by Mexicans) ‘why I have never seen any black owned laundromats’, with the exception being my step grandfather, who owned his own laundry in the Bronx until he died a few years ago.
    I’m sure they exist, but in big cities, you never see them. It’s an honorable, profitable business, but I guess we don’t find it “glamorous” enough to pursue?
    It makes me mad! I’m also pissed that we are not as powerful and visible a presence as we should be in the world’s marketplace. Everywhere in the world, other ethnicities and races have put their stamp on highly consumed goods: Italian leather, Persian rugs, Swiss and Belgian chocolate, French pastry, Italian lace, Cuban cigars, Polish sausage, Greek Salad, Chinese food, sushi…the list goes on. But where’s the Black _____??
    What do we produce and make?
    We don’t even make the fake hair that most of us can be found wearing on our heads these days. When are we going to wake up and figure it out?
    I’m sick of it!
    We are the biggest consumers of goods, but the producers and manufacturers of the least.
    We’re so ready to be proud that we can now buy Gucci, Fendi and Prada, but yet and still, who are the Black haute couture and high fashion designers that we are willing to drop $2000 a bag or shirt to own? Why aren’t the black celebs at THEIR shows during fashion week posing for those photo ops?
    We need to get that ish in balance!
    And no, we don’t need another CLUB!
    That’s for sh*t sure!

  16. Bonnie @ AZhttp on 27 Mar 2008 at 7:56 pm #

    Thursday March 27, 2008

    You have won a Blog of the Day Award

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    Thank you,

    Bill Austin

  17. Anonymous on 28 Mar 2008 at 2:18 am #

    Hey Jam, may I mention Timehri in Adams Morgan? They only charge a $10 cover on Fridays and Saturdays. It’s a hot little reggae spot…

  18. Cali on 30 Mar 2008 at 8:00 am #

    Damn, I couldn’t agree more on this. & you KNOW if you can’t find things to do in DC, I damn sure can’t find decent activities in OAKLAND, lol!! It’s sad man. My clubbing days ended @ 23 or 24 – I have no interest in clubs @ 36, but it’s as if single Black people shouldn’t be doing anything BUT the club @ night, what the hell?? It’s boring & tacky & expensive & HOT & I always seem to have the pleasure of getting hit on by the MOST unsavory man in the room – surely my Tivo can beat that silly shit! I usually end up crossing the bridge into San Francisco’s Mission district for cheap eats/drinks, etc. There’s a couple of little loungy spots in Oakland, but I don’t know of ONE that we own…

    Loving the points about the state of music (who IS Flo-Rida???), singles needing more options (ideally Black owned ones), & Jill on the juke box @ a level you can actually SPEAK over! :D

  19. Anonymous on 02 Apr 2008 at 6:02 am #

    How about church? Fellowship costs way less money than clubbing. I have tried both in my lifetime and I’d rather be in church any Friday night.

  20. Anonymous on 06 Apr 2008 at 11:29 pm #

    GAH-DAMN!!! Finally, someone who thinks on the same wave link as me (I don’t know if that’s good or bad yet)! But on a serious note, I feel the same plight. There is nothing here in my city with the exception of a whenever-they-feel-like-it poetry night at a fmr record store turned arts & coffee lounge. I’m trying to figure out when I seperated (read: grew up) from my peers, and stopped being entertained by the mindless antics of silly negroes in real-life and on the t.v. box. Case in point: This Tuesday, at Club Levels in Indianapolis (sadly, this is NOT A PLUG, I’m genuinely disappointed in my generation) there will be (I swear to God) a Big Booty White Girl contest… I’ll wait… It gets better. It will be judged by big booty black women… I’ll wait again… And the winner this week, will be in a Big Booty contest against… yep, black women… I really don’t know how to even continue to complain after that, so, I’ll just end it with a period.
    R. Clark, CEO Daddie’z Home Ent.
    Founder/ EIC Middle of Da Map Magazine

  21. Anonymous on 07 Apr 2008 at 2:25 pm #

    as much as a stereotype as it may be, it is often more true than not that many black folks don’t know how to act and appreciate businesses and venues, so obsurd cover charges, high prices and dress codes are used as a deterent for keeping out as many of that kind as possible…honestly, can u really blame businesses for wanting a certain caliber of clientele and guests to better ensure the success and reputation of their businesses…its kind of a thin line of possible discrimination but finding a happy medium is where the challenge lies

  22. Anonymous on 08 Apr 2008 at 12:10 am #

    It’s been said time and time and time again, and it’s mostly true, so don’t shoot me I’m just the messenger: Newsflash! “Niggas don’t know how to act!!” That one sentence probably explains why “black night” at clubs has a cover charge, when “white night” is no cover.

    I love my people, but when white people start glorifying gangsterism and thug mentality like so many black folks have, and arguing, fighting, and shooting on the same level as black folks (i mean in public – we’ve all seen this a million times if you go to clubs), then they might have to start paying at the door all the time too!

    I’m just sayin!! If you invest $100K into a club, you should be all about protecting your investment. Having violence at your club keeps patrons away and could make police come, either of which could mean the death of your club (and that $100k you invested!). So owners do a lot to prevent fighting. Sad but true, but when violence goes down at a club, black youth (and those who are full grown but ACT young) are more often than not to be found right in the middle of it.

    As to why you see nightclubs all the time opening, but no coffeeshops or laundromats or bowling alleys, I bet it’s just plain old math. If I want a job, why would I go to work at Mickey D’s for $6 an hour, when I could go work at a corporate office for $20 an hour? Same logic. Why would I as an entrepreneur invest my time and money in a coffeeshop, and snag maybe $4 per customer, when I could open a big club and get (between parking, cover and bar) maybe $30 per person? Everyone knows that successful club owners got Benzes and nice cribs. And like you said, we know that black folks will line up again and again and again to go inside that club! Blacks spend more than whites on clothes and clubs, so you see lots of black-owned businesses being either clothing or nightclubs

    Love the post Jam! Keep ‘em on the good fight.

  23. Anonymous on 08 Apr 2008 at 5:35 pm #

    I fee ya girl. I’m a DC transplant from NY and been here 9 years. I’ve so outgrown the clubs and co-sign everything you said. Went to a spot called Tryst in Adams Morgan recently and loved it. That’s really what we need for us, by us. And as soon as I get my other business off the ground I will certainly fund my next venture – a place for the non-uptight, bougiee (or however the hell you spell it), wanna be acting like they are so f-ing classy but got no style types. My only concern is the “support” part. As an entreprenegro myself, what I find is that lots of Blacks “Talk” about it but can’t “Be” about it. Lots of Blacks say they want a Black-owned establishment but then don;t support it. Case in point, the Infusions Tea Cafe at the Cap Center in Largo. Loved that place too. But guess what. It fell flat for a host of reasons (namely poor location choice in my opinion) but also because there wasn’t enough “support” for that business. Hey, I did my part. But I can’t keep every business afloat. Anyway, I can go on and on. But I’ll just end here by saying that’s it’s truly refrshing to know that there are others that have the same frustrations. Thanks for sharing!

  24. Calisha on 08 Apr 2008 at 5:40 pm #

    Well if you need somebody to go into business with, Im down! I love Tryst. We do support places like this though…just not enough of us. Busboys and Poets is a prime example. It’s a great venue and has great open mic nights and supports different causes but it’s way too damn expensive to garner black “regulars”

  25. jamdonaldson on 08 Apr 2008 at 5:52 pm #

    but thats the paradox here–so many people will call places like Buspoys expensive but will pay a $20 cover charge to get in a club and still have to buy drinks. I think Busboys is way more reasonably priced than any cover charge club.

  26. Anonymous on 09 Apr 2008 at 6:03 pm #

    DC transplant here — never been to Busboys but it’s funny that you mention it because I heard about it for the first time on Monday as well. I will be going there because from what my girl told me it was all that. I love that kind of scenery. Now, the big questions is: Is it black owned?

  27. Anonymous on 10 Apr 2008 at 2:35 am #

    To the comment above: Ghetto black people don’t know how to act. Not black people. You don’t see white people claiming trailer park trash. They treat them as a seperate species. I think it’s high time for black people to do the same /end rant.

    The $20 cover is to keep the riff-raff out. It clearly doesn’t work and alienates the people that they are trying to attract in the first place.

    Also, there are plenty of black owned businesses. What are they supposed to do hang a sign on the door? Jeez.

  28. Raquel on 11 Apr 2008 at 12:11 am #

    Jam…my head nearly exploded from the joy (and immense sadness) I got from reading this post. Misery loves company and the Black entertainment business spectrum here in HOUSTON, TX is bleak and miserable…so it’s good to know we aren’t suffering alone (though I wish it was better across the board). There are LOTS of everyday Black businesses. MOF, I will be taking some shoes to the black-owned shoe repair store down the street from me tomorrow. But I think the topic you’re broaching mostly is why are the only types of stuff Black folks find entertaining places like nightclubs and things like ghetto-esque reality TV show marathon viewing parties (I kid you not, I saw a flyer for somewhere here that was having a Flavor of Love 2 –or 3 or whatever season of fuckery they are on now– Marathon Party). Anyway, I’m also sick of poetry bars (where they spit shiat like, “My FLOW is…like…the RIH-VUH…flowing like my VUH-JEYE-NUH’s pulsating….volcanic heat…” SNAP SNAP SNAP!), reggae huts (do we not know but three types of music: Reggae, Neo/Soul/Jazz, and Hip-Hop?), and bars in general…even casual ones (because they charge out the butt on “Black Night” too)!!

    As a woman, it really sucks to go out in Hosuton! Which is why I have a game room in my house with a full bar, a pool table, a big TV (cable for sports, video games and movies), and a karaoke machine. We gather our COLLECTIVE CREW money together for foodstuffs and give house events. We can make up our own prolifically near-pointless poetry or do whatever, dressed comfortably and the cost is considerably less than what a typical “Black Person’s Night Out” would cost. Dudes aren’t standing around ass-watching and dropping ignorant mack-lines and women aren’t in siddity gaggles thinking their particular logs of shiat don’t stink. Win/Win situation!

    Therefore, I suggest you go the HOUSE PARTY route until which time we get it together…and not only open more relevent entertainment businesses BUT support them in droves when they DO open. (P.S. ‘Cause you know we can’t stand to think we’re making any random Black person other than entertainers rich with our money…which is why we suck ass on the “Support Black Business” tip).


  29. Anonymous on 13 Apr 2008 at 9:42 pm #

    our asses don’t know how to act! we walk in a spot with a chip on our shoulder as if we didn’t come to have fun.

    me and my man went to georgetown last night for a quick drink – something low key because we weren’t trying to pay a cover. ha!

    we watched how those young white folks were partying it up. say what you want but they make a good time whereever they go. no dumb ish just pure weekend fun, drinking, dancing off rhythym, so in their own words they bump into you w/o even realizing it. in the clubs i frequent, let me bump into someone – as obviously crowded as the place may be – someone is gonna be pissed that i bumped them and made them spill their drink, etc.
    i digress. i’d appreciate some chill spots other than clubs – with our people – but i can do without the drama we sometimes bring with it.

  30. rileymayhem20 on 15 Apr 2008 at 1:43 am #

    Hey, how about you join me in Salt Lake City, Utah. That place needs some color for starters and I’m going to need a place to get a hair cut at. Oh and that 4×4 SUV, go off roading in that damm thing once in a while.

  31. Anonymous on 19 Apr 2008 at 8:17 pm #

    Good post here. I’m in Hampton Roads VA and there’s already not much to do around here. I tired of the club scene @ 23, I’m not 26 LOL. I go on accasion for a friend’s party or with a friend from out of town. Only reason I can enjoy myself is because I haven’t been the whole year before. But after it’s done, I don’t like the fact I had to get all dressed up and pay to come out soaking wet from the heat and smelling like cigaretts. I had more fun going to the pool hall that was Asian owned and mostly had white people in it. AND they had exotic dancers, I wasn’t looking at them but the ambiance was MUCH better than a sweaty ass club full of black folk either pissed because you bumped into them, or looking you up and down because they feel like you think you’re better than them. Makes me feel like I’m back in high school.

    I may have to come up to DC and check out some of the places on your posts and comments…something different for a change.

  32. ListenToLeon on 22 Apr 2008 at 7:22 pm #

    @ Jam, there are a few nightspots that are African American-owned in the part of town that you referred to, but like you said, not very many.

    Seriously though, I am allergic to cover-charges. I hate paying for the right to spend more money on liquor in someone’s bar or club. That’s one of the reasons I hit up lounges more these days.

    By the way, I have another party in the works, and I’ll keep you posted on the details. No cover charge, either ;)

  33. OG, The Original Glamazon on 23 Apr 2008 at 7:21 pm #

    THANK YOU! I will be coming into some money soon, not a check, but a large saving goal for investment that I will reach in the next year or so. So I have been looking at investment opportunities that both will enrich my pocket and my community. I have been thinking about what our community needs here in the H (even though I’m in Boston working for the next 12-18 months) and have come to the same conclusions that you have. In Houston it’s urban wear, food, and rim shops!

    I live in the hood in Houston. It’s is on the cusp of gentrification and was the main reason that I bought my land there to build my little piece of heaven. Often as blacks we wait for the land to appreciate because we don’t want to take that risk of living in the hood, or we don’t want our friends to look down upon where we live because its not one of the “premier” suburbs for the upcoming young black professional. PUHLEEZ! My house is as nice as any of those you would find in one of those master planned communities and one better it’s unique (there isn’t the same floor plan three door down or around the corner) and I have mature trees and neighbors (most of the people on my street are retired) and I paid the same price to build it in the city as I would have out in the burbs. The extra bonus is my house is maintaining a steady value because of its location in the city. Anyway- (I think you just inspired my next blog! lol)

    I never understood why we couldn’t “gentrify” aka revitalize our own hoods. There are lots of young talented black professionals out there who need to own homes (tax breaks and equity people), and then have stuff to do in their neighborhoods when they come home to live in those homes (talented black entrepreneur opportunity here). Living in Boston has definitely shown me the advantage of having things with in fingertips reach of your house. Somewhere we got the messages mixed up, thinking if we moved away from our declining neighborhoods that meant we (little we meaning personally) had arrived, instead of understanding that investing in OUR neighborhoods would bringing in money and commerce would ensure WE (big we our community) had arrived.

    If we would just use our economic power in the ways you are talking about. We really could change our world. We’d be some bad muther-SHUT YOU MOUTHS!

    Great post!

    PS sorry for such a long comment! but you lit my fiyah!! *lol*

  34. Bellini on 24 Apr 2008 at 1:15 pm #

    hilarious. the nightlife in “chocolate city” is pathetic my outings have to serve strategic purposes (i.e. friend’s b-day), toasts for promotion, buying homes, etc.) anyhoo — my pleasure comes from traveling

  35. Anonymous on 26 Apr 2008 at 4:07 am #

    Try the Dance Institute of Washington in Columbia Heights(across from the Tivoli) for your dance class, and there are several black theater companies in DC. Hope that helps…peace… Oh and I believe the pottery place in Adams Morgan on 18th is black owned.

  36. Ron Brokaw on 27 Apr 2008 at 5:33 am #

    Well, I’d like for us to be diverse, but I’m sure the businessmen are only thinking of the lowest common denominator, in order to get the biggest crowd. “We gotta have Puffy and have a VIP area!” This only plays on the insecurities of black folks. Everyone cares so much about “being VIP” that they will pay any price to “be VIP”. In that respect, you have to at least respect Jay-Z, Sean Combs & Russell Simmons. With Rocawear, Sean John & Phat Farm, they have tapped right into that insecurity and have become millionaires because of it. Yes, you have to buy these $90 jeans, $60 hoodies, and $150 shoes!
    At least I feel NY is a little better – there are more lounges and piano bars where folks can really have a relaxed attitude and still have a good time. Most of the time, we can go somewhere in jeans & sneakers and still be just fine. Perhaps if people stopped perpretuating the steroetypes in all the videos, we could actually go out and have a good time.

  37. Hill Rat on 30 Apr 2008 at 3:30 pm #

    I know I’m late to the party, but hopefully you have comment notification setup.

    Check out SOVA down on H St. between 13th & 14th on the South side of the street; it’s the spot that was the old Rhythm & Beans. Sova is a coffee shop that Black owned (the brother that owns it is a Kappa, he used to live around the corner from me) and they have a wine bar too! Lots of wines by the glass and an interesting selection of beers. The spot is fly and they have great coffee.

  38. ChicDcChick on 01 May 2008 at 5:51 pm #

    Living in DC i understand exactly where you coming from. I know that one time there was a soul food place near Anacostia high school and nobody went in this place, yet they supported all the carryouts in the area. I just think its BS. I have always wanted to buy up some real estate and do something good, but it seems like nobody supports the black owned businesses in the Anacostia area.

  39. Anonymous on 01 May 2008 at 10:22 pm #

    I think the one poster had a point about there not being enough black people to support a non-club entertaiment spot. Too many of our folks are still stuck in doing only the “black thing.” They won’t try rock climbing or pottery painting. When they do want those things they think the white man’s ice is colder so to speak.

    I also thought it interesting that the one poster said it was an older relative of hers that owned a lundry. I think many of us now don’t think of those type of bread-and-butter businesses. Back in the day they had to because they couldn’t go to the white ones (at least not around here in KC town where I am.)

  40. Anonymous on 05 May 2008 at 11:29 pm #

    Although I largely agree with the sentiment, many Black-Owned businesses don’t get the support they need. My wife used to take yoga classes at a Black-Owned center on “U” Street, that also offered drumming classes for kids, and many other cultural activities. Unfortunately, it is no longer open. But, there are still many smaller venues that show independent Black films, book stores with great speakers, ect. You have to look around. Try Cake Love too.

  41. Anonymous on 06 May 2008 at 2:37 pm #

    When reading this I do realize when a bar/clubs has a hip-hop/r&b night(aka black night) there is a cover charge and dress code on that night. Honestly when you put no dress code and black night together, all I can imagine is over sized T-shirts and baggy assed jeans on every dude in the club. Maybe white people have pride dressing in fitting clothes which allow white nights to have no dress code.

  42. awrite on 02 Jun 2008 at 8:58 pm #

    And here’s my two cents…since we are left with no alternative to the club- why do they keep tryna jam 300 people into 1000 square feet? Is it not ri-damn-diculous to have to stand up at the bar and eat your food when 4 of the 8 tables in the place are “reserved”? And who the hell are they reserving all these tables for? This is why I go to the movies or stay home…whew…glad to get that off my chest…

  43. Anonymous on 03 Jun 2008 at 1:52 am #

    Gay people go through the same thing with regards to the club scene. Club owners take advantage of the customer base and inflate the prices to make as much money as they can. Although a growing minority of us middle and upper class black hipsters are getting tired of dealing with obnoxious, under-educated, ignorant urban black customers that flood the clubns and make scenes in front of the club and thugs that spoil the enviornment by shooting up each other in the parking lot.

  44. Anonymous on 03 Jun 2008 at 2:07 am #

    Enough clubs!!
    I live in New York. I can identify with a lot of of your observations. It seems like DC is not the only place suffering from a lack of entreprenurial creativity. I would like to say that, creating interesting and different social outlets, and venues in our communities can be rather challenging, because of lack of support. I believe it can happen.
    I actually own a sportsplex that has rock climing as one of many activities offered. We will also be offering fencing soon.

  45. Anonymous on 04 Jun 2008 at 12:52 am #

    I’m from Chicago and we got the same problem, but the reason why they have to charge is because they have to pay the venue owners to throw the party in the club. If they don’t charge, they cant make their money back

  46. rhmn on 06 Jun 2008 at 7:43 pm #

    i agree, same thing in L.A. Or cleveland (where im from)i think part of the problem is too many of “us” let a small minority in our community define what is “black” or acceptable to do as a “black person” and if you dont do those things then you are doing “white shit”. I like snowboarding, playing guitar,drinking tea,swimming,etc. I cant even where a button-down shirt and shoes that aren’t tennis shoes without being called soft or hearing is he gay comments.I love doing things with my international friends, but sometimes i just want to do new things with our folk.instead of always getting together to talk shit or watch the game…

  47. Anonymous on 19 Jun 2008 at 12:54 pm #

    hold up… “I actually get jealous of white people in that regard. They can go to, generally, any bar/lounge and walk in and listen to music or drink or do karaoke or play darts or pool or whatever the fuck they do, and have a blast for free. Their spots are creative, interesting, warm, no dress codes, and most importantly no sour-faced chic at the door with a little silver cash box.” I’m pretty sure there isn’t a sign at the door of these places that says “whites only”. If you want to have fun like that, then go there. Who cares if it’s black- or white- or whatever- owned? Seriously, in this day and age it’s almost getting to the point where we can say “it doesn’t matter.” But a mentality like this hinders knowledge like that. When you think there’s a problem (even if there isn’t) you create the problem. Give it up and just go to karaoke.

  48. jamdonaldson on 19 Jun 2008 at 12:57 pm #

    I would but i just dont like the music. :-( But I have found in urban areas more and more “white” spots are playing black music and in that case I am down! I’m just a sucka for some bass.

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