Congressional Black Caucus weekend; the thrill is gone
Instead of buzzing about what happened at the Congressional Black Caucus parties last weekend, this year, people were asking what happened to the multi-day extravaganza.
The annual legislative conference, which ended Sunday, is a Washington institution: four days of networking with leading African American politicians and business leaders. It used to be one of the hottest tickets in D.C., bar none. "I remember renting limousines and popping around to all the parties," said reality-show-rookie/man-about-town Paul Wharton. "It was almost on the scale of the inauguration."
This year, there were still dozens of receptions and dinners -- highlighted by Saturday's awards dinner with President Obama and the first lady -- but the fun, dizzying thrill of past years was faded.
"I think it was more low-key this year, but it was more substantive," said Black Entertainment Television CEO Debra Lee. "People were getting geared up for the midterms, and the economy is still a concern." The excitement of the first black president has been tempered by political infighting and jitters about November's elections. Another downer: Three prominent caucus members -- Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters and Eddie Bernice Johnson -- are caught up in ethics and financial scandals.
The result: less glitz, more gravitas. Corporations that once competed for the most lavish fete have scaled back to earnest (bor-ing) gatherings. And the beloved, over-the-top annual fashion show has completely, woefully disappeared. "When I was growing up, the CBC fashion show was the end-all and be-all for any influential black American in this community," said Wharton. "Months out, my mother would be looking for her dress. It was just huge."
This year's standouts: political consultant Art Collins's Saturday brunch at the Four Seasons, which drew heavyweights such as White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Attorney General Eric Holder, and Essence magazine's extravagant bash Friday at the Ronald Reagan Building with Sheila Johnson, Holly Robinson Peete, Omarosa, "Real Housewives of D.C." co-star Stacie Turner and En Vogue.
The Reliable Source
| September 21, 2010; 1:05 AM ET
Save & Share: Previous: Hey, isn't that...?: Harry Belafonte dining at Acadiana
Next: Read this: How Stephen Strasburg is killing time after surgery
Posted by: bs2004 | September 21, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: pjohn2 | September 21, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: MeriJ | September 21, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: SoCali | September 21, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: SoCali | September 21, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: 7900rmc | September 22, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse