Inaugural Balls

The official inaugural ball boasted more than 30,000 people from all over the world, dancing to Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green and catching every notable moment by taking photos and videos from their smart phones. The night before, however, was the evening of the more popular unofficial parties. In other words, few of us can brag of the highly-coveted government position whereas we might’ve been fortunate enough to shake hands with President Obama himself. Be it any consolation, there were plenty of other opportunities to get suited up and have a good time.

The buzz parties of the night were easily the Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball and the HBCU Inaugural Ball. Ticket costs ranged from $75-$2,500 and celebrity appearances from John Legend to Russell Simmons were reported. In a perfect world I would’ve made it to all three parties I’d planned to attend but reality suggested otherwise. Traffic and parking were their usual, but once the blues and booze started flowing, everyone’s goals for the evening became a simple one: I just have to be up for inauguration in the morning. [Three quick words about Monday: Barack, Brooklyn Tabernacle, Beyonce.]

My night began post-Sunday day-partying on U Street. Washington was bustling with tourists; many commented that the energy was unparalleled to anything they’d ever experienced. The George, off of 33rd and M St, was the venue for the Rhythm & Blues Reloaded Inaugural Ball sponsored by DEC Consulting and the Red Velvet Cupcakery. DJ Showcrime was spinning “Candy” by Cameo when I walked in and the bar was busy with guests ordering signature cocktails. During conversations with my bar-buddies, I learned that lots of people had traveled from various points of the east coast to celebrate Obama’s second term as the nation’s President. Though the event boasted a slightly older crowd than what I’m accustomed to, the event was nothing shy of entertaining.

Arriving at 11 o’clock to the West Wing Inaugural Ball wasn’t the best idea I’ve had this year. By then the lobby of the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel was buzzing with party goers hovering around admission tables. As I presumed, there were no signs of the 8PM-10PM complimentary hors d’oeuvres but I also missed the advertised casino lounge and valet parking. The party’s salvation: Biz Markee. Once ties were loosened and everyone was cleared to break a sweat, the party began. On any given night in Obamatown I’ll run into a crowd of people from my undergraduate days; Sunday was no different—it reminded me of a good night at Recess or Josephine’s. All things considered, it was a fun-filled pre-inauguration night of celebrating four progressive years of four more to go.

-Brian Riddick

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