Sunday, August 19, 2007

CLUB Convention

What's good folks? Gene from blesses us with another piece about revisiting the club scene during a trip to a Vegas Convention. As you get older, the club scene and experience definitely changes (or SHOULD change). To some degree I think we can all relate. Hope you enjoy.


I don’t really do clubs.

I try to stay away from them for more reasons than I care to share, but it’s been more than a year since I’ve been to one. And I have no idea when’s the next time I’ll be forced to go to one … okay, maybe I do. One of my brothers is having a bachelor party Labor Day weekend. I doubt I’ll make it … but I digress.

Needless to say, despite the fact that I don’t go out like that, I DO know where the best place for me and mines to party is: black professional organizations’ convention. Period.

Besides the (usually) free admission and free food and drinks (sometimes), it’s just a real comfortable environment. Most folks there are too intelligent to act ignorant and those who are too ignorant to behave intelligently don’t come to these kinds of functions … usually.

I kinda came to this realization some years ago when I was at the UNITY: Journalists of Color convention in Washington, D.C. I’d been on my club fast – with a few relapses – for about two years by then and forgot how much I enjoyed dancing with a group of people.

But convention parties being my spot of choice was confirmed last week at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Vegas.

I pretty much chilled the first three nights of the four-night convention ... and when I say chill, I mean I was asleep. I’m kind of an “old man” and the chances of me breaking out of my seniority were shot down when my man Brandon Parker arrived – dude is like three years younger than me, but just as old … maybe older. We pretty much spent late nights in Vegas pontificating on issues like faith, marriage, career and fatherhood.

And we were cool with that. Real cool. Most anybody with good sense can appreciate good conversation – especially when it's ongoing for several days.

But one of my brother’s girl’s pretty much TOLD us we were going out with them the last night of the convention (she took the above photo). It was free. There was free food and drinks. It was the last night. And it was in a hotel ballroom across the street. So we really had no reason to fight it … although we tried subconsciously – Parker and I were at the party still in our business attire!

Whatchu know about getting wiped down in a suit and tie!?

Besides being in good company; having good eats and a good DJ and host (my intense enjoyment of Tom Joyner’s hosting skills FURTHER confirmed my old man status), I … was … comfortable.

And nothing sealed that feeling more than the party’s Greek moments.

I arrived with my chapter brother; Parker’s classmate who’s also frat; a soror; my frat’s girl and several other folks that somehow made me feel like I was rolling up in the party with mad frat … even though I wasn’t.

It’s kinda hard to explain – the whole inclusive and far-reaching fraternity concept. It’s almost like some folks are such regulars on the scene that they kinda end up being frat … kinda. Or maybe it’s an MZ thing. I digress.

So when they started playing “my song” – and I have absolutely no clue what that was, I immediately threw up my fraternity sign. It was a natural reflex. The last time I consistently went to parties was in college – and that was nearly half a decade ago.

But anyway, the two brothers in my group immediately did the same! It was one of those good “follow the prophyte” moments! And almost immediately, a SWARM of fraternity brothers we didn’t even know were there surrounded us and threw their signs in the air! Our sorors weren’t too far behind.

It was like maybe they all were waiting for one of us to let the black journalism world know we were in Vegas and in Vegas HARD!

Now if you’re still reading (thank you much if you are), THIS is why I think these kind of parties rule.

Members of two other black Greek fraternities (and one sorority, I believe) started repping as well. Even when the DJ played one of the other frat’s signature songs allowing them to take over the dance floor, my frat and another frat continued repping our respective organizations.

And there was no fighting.

And it was good.

This kind of goes back to my earlier mentioning of being comfortable. Anybody somewhat familiar with the black Greek experience knows that bravado and disrespect for one’s self and all those around you disguised as “not getting punked” leads many to disrespect their founders and their organizations as a whole.

Feeling like I had to take the lead on that as a senior brother got old. Real fast. I pledged a frat, not a gang. But this wasn't a concern at a convention for a black professional organization. It hit me quickly that most of the folks there were about their business and were too concerned with their careers to “keep it real.”


Besides what would a dude look like walking past managers at his dream company in handcuffs because he swung on a dude who didn't move while his frat was party-hopping?! Unemployed!!

Plus the likelihood of the dude you swing on having hiring power somewhere you want to work isn’t worth the risk. And when I realized that we ALL realized that, I looked up in the sky, threw up my sign (both hands, this time) and took it all in.

Good music. Greek unity. Black professionals. A good time.

Wouldn’t it be tight if some things that happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas?!

Gene is a journalist in Phoenix. Check him out at


JP said...

I guess old folks can still get down, huh? Haha...wish some of that feeling of unity would trickle down to undergrad sometimes. I mean, I think there are a few examples of when we Greeks show love to each other (usually at a more individual basis depending on who we personally know) but too often, beef, drama, etc. over some bs is the interaction we know. Like in the club - and if you were to talk about it without the specifics - "yea, I seen some dudes fighting at the club - the reds through a sign up and then the blues threw some sign up and then it was on.." it sounds so much like some gang stuff.

JP said...

Question - what is more important to you - or is it even a choice...

When your frat is party hopping - and some dudes from another frat try to fuck with the line:

Do you...

1. fight off the break
2. calm down and realize that you making your organization look bad, especially if you have letters on, but also realizing that by not fighting you are encouraging this to happen again

Anonymous said...

JP, I think it's important to remember that regardless of the outcome, the incident will automatically produce a LOSE/LOSE situation.

No one wins in these scenarios and no matter what option you choose, SOMEONE is going to think you did the wrong thing.

I'd go with the option that produces the lesser lost ... which is to try to break up the fight and keep partying as if nothing happened. Yeah, you might not look the tightest to the dudes who are considering pledging who are the let's fight right now types, but those aren't really the type of dudes you want in your chapter anyway - they're the reason why chapter insurance is so high ... somewhat.

I was always surprised that I found the same nonsense at a top university that I found in the hood.

Anonymous said...

I always thought the beef aspect of frat life was ridiculous. I spent half my senior year pulling my dean away from fights in clubs and parties. And, yes, it was me (a neo) having to tame my dean. (I'm going to post under anonymous, but I'm sure some can guess my identity being that I had a fighting dean).

During my senior year there was also a brawl between two black frats in the dining hall. Hundreds of dollars worth of damage was done.

I hope to share your experience one day, Gene. I haven't had many opportunities thus far.

Gene said...

Yeah, I remember hearing about that brawl in the dining hall. I was an alum at the time and shocked. Most alums were. But I talked to my younger brother about it who was in his first year at an HBCU - a relatively prominent one at that - and he was like, "Do you even KNOW how often frats fight at my school?!" So sad.

Hopefully you'll get there. Me and many bros my age have concluded that there is a completely different level of genuine brotherhood and overall Greek enjoyment that you don't (can't) experience until you are out of the chapter and perhaps, geographically removed from your university area.

Vdizzle said...

"Besides what would a dude look like walking past managers at his dream company in handcuffs because he swung on a dude who didn't move while his frat was party-hopping?! Unemployed!!"

Where I'm from, the frats and sororities promote the gang mentality. It's quite upsetting.

Brandon said...

Gene... I feel you on not pledging a gang. I love my frat, but I remember getting off line, probating and then having a problem with another frat on campus immediately. I was thinking "THIS is what I pledged into? To inherit beef? So much so to the point where friends that I had in that other organization didn't speak to me anymore because of it.

That's the one thing that I hated about Greek life in undergrad. I'm all for competition if it's going to help your org push to do more positive things to reach the same positive goals, but sometimes I felt like we were just segregating ourselves. When you look at our mission statements, we all aim to uplift the black community and love your fellow man. I always thought we were a little hypocritical in that regard.

Frat life AFTER undergrad is definitely different. Now I can JOKE about our differences WITH other frats and then turn around and hang out or do a service project with them.

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand how these "good" kids whose parents have done everything "right" end up at "top" colleges doing the SAME coonery - if not, worst - than the mofos still in the hood?!

spchrist said...

Although I'm getting older...I can still get down at the club...that would change when I get married.

Anonymous said...

Partying/clubbing married is what's up. Women see that ring, realize there are no strings attach and are much more likely to dance with you than they would if they feared you would be following them all night.

journiemajor said...

LOL yeah that's how it is down here in the Souf, vdizzle. But I stopped clubbing a long time ago, too. And you're right. When you can FINALLY get around people who are more concerned with NOT going to jail, than maintaining that they're top dog or whatever, then you can have a good time. And it's always great when you have friends around, free admission AND free food. The Chicago kick-off party was one of the best I've been to, but they could've had way more chairs. I'm glad when they broght some out, they just didn't bring in enough.

Anonymous said...

More chairs?! You was supposed to be gettin' low!!! (do the kids still say that?)

4EverJennayNay said...


i'm soo looking forward to strholling at homecoming! it's been a minute! when im in the car and i hear one of our signature hop or strholl songs, it's reflex to throw my sign.

journiemajor said...

LOL @ anonymous, well like they said on the NABJforum, the dj wasn't the greatest. AND that friggin 5-mile hike to the Bellagio. After all the walkin around Bally's, around Vegas, and then they had us walking to the Chicago kick-off party, that's why there needed to be more chairs. You saw how many people were walking back with their shoes off.

Suzanne said...

This is great info to know.