It’s cold. I grew up in the Midwest with years of brutal East Boogie winters. Then I went to Boston for college, where it’s even colder and wetter. But nothing has prepared us for how cold it is in DC. We knew it was going to be cold, we packed prepared for a camping trip, but DAMN.
The wife and I see friends everywhere we go. And we also see people who could be friends. Everyone is friendly. This is an expensive trip no matter how you cut corners, but folks are up in here. Clearly black folks all over the country have gone into debt to witness history.
The day ends with folks taking over the lobby at the Mandarin Oriental…my favorite hotel chain. We are drinking, eating and breaking it down. Solange comes through. I want to tell her I love her album, but I don’t. Why am I still shy?
Sunday we go to the Gospel Brunch. Bebe Winans kills it as always. How is he not singing at the inaugural? Yolanda Adams duets with Carole King. But the most moving performance is John Lewis’ speech. Mr. Lewis was the first old school black leader to jump ship from Hillary to Obama, thus avoiding being on the wrong side of history unlike so many other of his generation.
When Mr. Lewis said…and I cannot do it justice here…that when was beaten unconscious, laying in a pool of his own blood on the floor of a Greyhound bus station, that he could never imagine this day could come….well, he straight broke me down. To be in the presence of greatness, of this John the Baptist…I will never get over those words. And I don’t want to.
From there to the Lincoln Memorial for the opening ceremonies, which was a big show on HBO. In the hours we sat there in the cold (but it was worth it for the good seat) we heard gossip about which celebs actually helped the campaign, and who was just jumping on the bandwagon.
Sitting for hours, we realize what’s not working about our outfits. We have hot pockets, but they don’t work in our shoes. This is a major problem. This inspires several shopping trips over the next couple of days to augment wardrobe.
Jamie kills it in his remarks with the Barack impression and the “Chi City stand UP!”. The blackness is in fully effect up in here.
The show is great. By the time U2 performs, you realize no president has been this connected to contemporary popular culture.
It was kinda jacked that Garth Brooks did three songs, and Stevie Wonder only got one. Not hating on Garth, but we wouldn’t even have an MLK holiday if it weren’t for Stevie! How about a little respect!
Getting back to the hotel is a battle. Mad traffic, lost….but it’s cool. The being here part makes all the difficulties bearable.
We go see old friends who live locally, which is great. A burst of normality to balance out all the shiny stuff going on. Mr. Anti-Foolishness and his family are wonderful as always.
We were supposed to hit some more parties, but wifey is done. So it’s over tonight.
The night before Coronation Day, we attended several awesome parties. We were told the bipartisan dinner would be off the hook, and it did not disappoint. The honoree was Colin Powell, and the speakers were Gen. Powell, Joe Biden and Barack Obama himself. Barack gave a good speech but there was no doubt he was saving his heavy firepower for tomorrow.
We were promised “hook up” tickets at a good table seeded with friends, but that wasn’t the case. I surveyed the room to see who was ahead of us with seat placement.
Hmmm, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, George Lucas, Berry Gordy, Sharon Stone, Clarence Avant (if you don’t know ask somebody), Larry David, Halle Berry…I could name celebs all day. Eli Broad, who owns half of LA had good but not great seats. I went back to my seats, feeling better about my placement. I was a very small fish in this crowd.
A great night, and let me say how consistently wonderful Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are. Rita and I are on the UCLA Film and Television program board together…but their warmth and wonderfulness exceeds all that. They are just the nicest people, period. The fact that they are rich and famous makes their generosity of spirit even more impressive.
After that party, I hit Russell’s hip hop coalition. On the way, we drove through DC’s Chinatown, which was full of black people selling all kinds of Obama gear. The most out there I was a picture of him with the phrase “I’m the president now…BEOYCHES”.
I realized this is the first president the actual citizens of DC are excited about.
By the time we get to the Hip Hop Coalition event, they have gone into award mode. We chill outside the room, only sticking our heads in when Busta performs, because Busta always lights up the joint.
The night ends at a party given by friends of ours from the NY and LA music and finance worlds. DJ Cassidy is killing it. I run into Jessica Alba in the bathroom and we chat for a while about our kids. They live near our house and like every other celeb are stalked by paps at the kid’s park. That’s a whole other post.
Kerry Washington beats up me playfully. Ben Silverman gives me an awesome compliment on my work as an executive. It’s a great night, but I know I have to leave the best party of the night because tomorrow we have to be in the lobby of the hotel by 6AM for the hook up. So, reluctantly, we leave.