CHARLOTTE, N.C. DNC After-Caucus Celebration, Caviar Nightlife
The Urban League of the Central Carolinas hosted this Occupy the Vote gathering practically right across the street from the convention center. Following Michelle Obama’s speech, the ambient red and blue lighting of the two-level venue felt particularly appropriate.
Event organizer and venue co-owner James Hall said there were roughly 600 on the guest list. Under a chandelier of white branches with feathered/mirrored butterfly mobiles –reminiscent of those at Neiman-Marcus – party-goers gathered near the main bar and the sunken table-service lounge opposite the dance floor.
Up the wooden spiral staircase, VIPs on the second floor had their own flat-screen (perfect for convention viewing) and an outdoor patio probably better utilized sans rain. The open floor plan also allowed VIPs to see the action happening downstairs, including a speech by Urban League of the Central Carolinas President and CEO Patrick Graham.
Graham told us the non-partisan group is gearing up to register as many African-American voters as possible in the next two months. “It becomes a duty of ours to make sure they practice their right to vote,” he said. “To make sure they’re educated on their political rights and responsibilities.”
Musicians on Call Charity Benefit, The Fillmore
This invite-only concert multi-tasked as both a fundraiser and opportunity to celebrity-spot Tuesday night. Musicians on Call is an organization that brings music – live, recorded, professional musicians, volunteers – to patients in healthcare facilities through bedside performances.
Concert headliner and hip-hop performer Common was actually the first to hit the red-carpet. Punctual and gracious, Common was clearly a seasoned pro when it comes to the media rabble but still gave genuine answers. About Tuesday night’s fundraiser: “It’s about making people aware, keeping people inspired,” he said. “I’m vocal because I care. I care about our communities.”
Music producing mogul Jermaine Dupri arrived a short time later and opened the show with a DJ set that ran the gamut from Michael Jackson and Notorious BIG to Bell Biv Devoeand Tupac. While on the carpet, Dupri said he was in Charlotte to help support President Obama when his handler informed us – cutting Dupri off midsentence – that he was not doing interviews. He was hustled quickly backstage and started spinning around 11:45 p.m.
The party continued to swell as convention attendees arrived, but the atmosphere was relaxed. Short-sleeved plaid shirts rubbed shoulders with three-piece suits while Dupri packed the dance floor.
Another red-carpet arrival included Keisha Knight Pulliam (Rudy Huxtable from “The Cosby Show”, all grown-up and gorgeous) who came straight to the party from the airport. She told us she’s here till Friday, not just for President Obama’s acceptance speech, but also to participate in a panel about planned parenthood and getting women educated and out to vote.
BET Network Chairman and CEO Debra L. Lee made a very demure and low-key entrance. National Youth Vote Director for Obama for America Valeisha Butterfield-Jones –a native of Wilson, N.C. – told us there’s still work to be done in “making sure young people are aware of the issues getting involved on Nov. 6.”
Dupri finished his set around 12:15 a.m. and Common was poised to take the stage before long. And yet Will.i.am remains a figment for us: He was slated to arrive at the party around 11:30 p.m., according to event press, but on our way out the door an hour later he had still yet to make an appearance.