Chicago’s downtown nightlife is one of the engaging experiences of both visiting and residing in the city of “broad shoulders.” In the last two decades, we’ve seen a shift in various groups of individuals patronizing some of the higher-profiled restaurants and lounges in the River North and Gold Coast districts. More African-American and Latino partygoers have integrated into an area where White privileged patrons have dominated and protected the landscape.
In the 1990’s, young Black promoters began to tip the scales by promoting events that featured Chicago-based athletes and celebrities with White-owned establishments that reluctantly welcomed them but eagerly raised bar guarantees on groups. In one of the most segregated cities in America, the unspoken code of party dwelling was for years reduced to a person’s neighborhood. If you were above a certain income bracket and welcomed in the exclusive nightspots because only the “hip” Blacks were allowed—then you would likely get a pass.
A great deal has occurred since the days championship Chicago Bulls players would frequent the downtown clubs and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs or Jay-Z after parties were acceptable in the 42nd ward. As generations have changed, the big street ballers have slowed down and over the last five years—the incidents of violence have extended North of Roosevelt. The growing luxury resident apartment buildings taking over have also commanded more complaints to the alderman and police commander over the area district.
Why do I bring this up? Last week, a very restricted dress code sign was circulated around social media, listing every wardrobe stereotype Bottled Blonde felt gave them the “right of refusal” into the River North restaurant. Mixed feelings were drudged up on both sides: some felt the sign was appropriate and the establishment had every right to post it; others felt it was racially targeting Blacks and Latinos—primarily men.
This is a partial excerpt from the sign: No shearling/fur, leather, jean jackets or vests and no novelty sweaters. No jean shorts, and other shorts must be no longer than one inch past your knees. NO JORDANS, NIKE AIR MAX OR AIR FORCE ONES. No high tops, high socks or athletic sneakers (Chucks and Vans are allowed). No male jewelry (Chains are not allowed in the establishment.) No visible tattoos on neck, face or hands.
Hmmm…if you’re Black or Latino, the above wardrobe restrictions would account for 99.9 percent of someone we personally know or it could account for ourselves. In the winter time, a great deal of us will rock a fur coat or leather jacket, and what the hell does “novelty” sweaters mean?
While other media outlets such as CBS Channel 2 reported on the incident, which led to other questionable concerns of Bottled Blonde’s license—this is regular practice by most downtown nightlife businesses. The major concern is this venue felt compelled and entitled to put their narrow-minded assessments in writing. Every time a group of Black men and women approach a venue, they are scrutinized by the doormen. It is insulting and at the same time acceptable by our community because we want to be “inclusive,” “validated” and “chosen.”
It’s great to explore and support all types of businesses throughout our city, but it is vitally important to support the businesses that respect us—openly without malice and discrimination.
Another Chance the Rapper Music Festival?
We’re hearing the possibility of another Chance the Rapper produced festival taking place this September. This time, it won’t be at Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the White Sox, but at Washington Park. The SocialWorks team and AEG Live is gearing up for a “magnificent” outdoor festival on the South Side that is sure to draw thousands of young attendees.
As the Obama Foundation prepares to break ground this Fall for the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, expect Washington Park to be the new “hot bed” of music festivals for the next few years. One of the oldest and largest parks in the city borders Hyde Park, Woodlawn, and Bronzeville with great access to public transportation.
600Breezy Fighting Criminal Charges
If you’re over 24 and not in the music business, then you may not know the infamous indie rap artist 600Breezy. The South Side native broke onto the scene with his dis record, “Don’t Get Smoked” after newly signed rapper LA Capone was shot and killed September 2013. The song went viral with over 4.4 million YouTube views, launching an entire new career for the father of two. Since then 600Breezy has recorded several joints including his recent single with Drake, “Lou Rawls.” We recently interviewed him at our Chicago Defender offices along with Know1Radio’s personality Que “Purple Girl” Johnson where he was gearing up to be a part of some Drake concert dates.
The day after the interview, 600Breezy appeared in a Waterloo, Iowa, court to deal with a misdemeanor of smoking marijuana, which led to probation violations, according to the allegations. It’s reported, he can be sentenced up to ten years, but in a recent interview with kollegekidd.com from jail, 600Breezy was adamant that he would only be detained up to a year with the legal assistance from Drake’s camp.
We will monitor this story as it develops and feature an up-close-and-personal conversation in our Black Music Month issue, which drops June 14.
Happy Birthday to celebrity hairstylist who makes Oprah Winfrey’s hair bounce Nicole Rogers on June 7. Top public relations guru Robin Beaman; rap music promoter Looch DaSpokesman; and the original member of the Hot Mix 5 Mario ‘Smokin’ Diaz celebrate on June 8. We celebrate The Royal Purple One, the late music icon, Prince on June 7. The original queen of Chicago nightlife Helen Wooten celebrates 68 years of life and the late Doug Banks would’ve turned 58 on June 9.
A special blue and white shout-out to Zeta Phi Beta, Inc. member Angelyn Anderson and digital specialist Jun Mhoon on June 10. The Gemini celebration continues with birthday wishes to graphic design genius John Intek (Type 10) and businessman Darryl Petty on June 11. Next week kicks off Ald. Emma Mitts and house music producer Hula Mahone birthdays on June 12.
Our condolences and prayers to the family and friends of long-time celebrity hairstylist Emory Patterson Jones. He passed away on May 22, 2017, at Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital in Chicago. He was born on February 14, 1945, in Washington, D.C. After graduating from high school in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, he came to Chicago and graduated from Virginia Farrell Beauty College in 1964.
Emory opened Emory & Friends in the Gold Coast before heading to Los Angeles, where he became stylist for many celebrities including Diana Ross, Dionne Warrick, Smokey Robinson, Lainie Kazan, Nancy Wilson, and Natalie Cole. Actor Billy Williams was not only a client, but was also a regular visitor in the salon, as he enjoyed sketching the guests.
After years of working on a celebrity clientele in Los Angles, Emory returned to work in Chicago and developed a huge roster of clients that included some of the best-known movers and shakers including Quentin Primo III, Renee Ferguson, Shell Reyes, Dori Wilson and Chaz Ebert.
His other passions included singing, writing, and recording gospel music, studying the Bible, and cooking. Emory formed and led the gospel group Sanctuary, which produced two CDs in 2007 and 2013 respectively. The group performed locally, including at Ravinia and other venues around town.
A memorial service was held on June 3, 2017, at St. James Episcopal Cathedral. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Primo Center for Women and Children (http://www.primocenter.org/contact.htm)
The print edition of In the MIXX can be found in this week’s June 7 Chicago Defender issue on newsstands.
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