When city leaders confirmed that Charlotte would host the 2012 Democratic National Convention, black promoters and club owners started planning like it was the CIAA.
There was talk of parties uptown, luncheons with the FLOTUS and more. The Democratic National Convention hasn’t turned out that way. Sure, there are plenty of parties uptown. And yes First Lady Michelle Obama will be here, but the convention will be nothing like the CIAA which brings tens of thousands of African Americans uptown for a weekend of non-stop partying.
With the exception of Carolina Fest on Monday and a couple of parties taking place today, namely ????, most of the parties are invite only or at least require a reservation. The promoters and club owners who typically profit off the CIAA have been largely shut out of the convention. Part of it is by choice and part by circumstance. Several promoters and promoters interviewed said they’d been in talks with delegations, sponsors or others connected with the convention only to have deals fall through at the last minute.
“It’s been frustrating,” said Delta’s restaurant owner Josh Suggs, who’s booked two events during the convention.
Suggs, like other owners and promoters interviewed, said he talked to several people and even had deposits only to suffer last minute cancellations.
“We thought it would bring some business. We thought it would bring us a lot of new business a lot of corporate events,”
said Shawn Kennedy, owner of Allure and Privilege. “They’re bringing it, but they’re not bringing it to us. We have two private parties.”
Suggs and Kennedy are grateful for the events they have, and they’re promoting their establishments to drum up more business. Suggs is hosting a brunch and day party today, and he’s printed extra menus to distribute. Kennedy is hosting a soul music open mic on Wednesday. Pastor Rick Williams of Simmons Resturant is also planned to distribute more flyers during the convention to draw people to his Fourth Ward restaurant.
“I’m just hoping and praying that this goes over like when the CIAA comes in,” he said.