The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Foundation recently held its 42nd Annual Legislative Conference in the nation’s capital. The four-day conference, as always, was packed with panel and roundtable discussions mostly led by prominent African-Americans in the United States Congress. Each year the conference is widely attended by Hill staffers and other local and national professionals. After daytime deliberations, the annual conference is never complete without its spectacular social evening affairs.
The foundation, widely referred to as CBC, partnered with a slew of associations to host the fanciest, most highly sought-after happy hours, receptions and private parties. The nighttime itinerary began Wednesday with a reception held on the tenth floor terrace of 101 Constitution Avenue, the closest commercial office building to our nation’s Capitol. This exclusive event, 10 Friends, included popular organizations like African-American Women on the Hill, Yale Black Alumni Association, Howard University School of Law Alumni, National Pan-Hellenic Council, and the NAACP, to name a few. These members lightly dined on hors d’oeuvres and sipped cocktails while networking with colleagues.
The CBC’s nightly merriment continued Thursday evening with Uptown Magazine’s posh signature affair at B. Smith’s restaurant at Union Station. Uptown’s celebratory affair included B. Smith’s famous shrimp ‘n’ grits dish and drinks sponsored by SmartWater and Ciroc liquor which kept guests well hydrated all night long. Just blocks away, Indiana Rep. Andre Carson hosted a social gathering at the Newseum located on Pennsylvania Avenue. This crowd danced the night away to tunes played by hip-hop disc jockey Spinderella formerly of Salt-N-Pepa. Wrapping up Thursday’s affairs in the wee hours of the morning, an after-party was held at northwest D.C.’s historic landmark, Woodward and Lothrop department store hosted by the state of California. D.C.’s own Go-Go style music blasted on the rooftop of the forever-loved Woodie’s department store. The invitation-only crowd took pleasure in savoring tasty lemon tarts, chocolate covered delectable desserts and flowing wine.
Friday’s fancy began with the Rendezvous on Bourbon, a New Orleans-style gathering hosted by Louisiana Congressman Cedric Richmond. Sounds of Louisiana rap artists Master P and Juvenile dominated the airwaves at the petite Oya Restaurant in Chinatown. The classic Mardi Gras-flavored invitations were highly desired, but only provided to a few. Shortly after its doors opened at 10 p.m., Oya’s was filled to capacity. The quaint, softly lit restaurant decorated with rose covered walls provided a fun-filled ambiance for mixing and mingling. In case party goers weren’t able to get into the Louisiana affair at Oya’s, the Ronald Reagan Building was the site for another elite event. This occasion, An Evening of Excellence with Essence magazine had folks rocking with rap legend MC Lyte on the microphone.
Saturday is always known for CBC’s grand finale gala which ends the conference. The 2012 gala was no exception with First Lady Michelle Obama as keynote speaker. Following this year’s gala, the most fancy after-party of all was the New York Delegation Party at Arena Stage theater. The dramatically acclaimed multi-level venue held over 500 guests. Several of these guests danced the “Wobble” and other line dances in their lavish gowns and well-fitted tuxedos all night.
Throughout the nightly events, many prominent individuals like D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Judge Greg Mathis, CNN’s Roland Martin, Dr. Cornell West, renowned author Zane, Sister2Sister magazine’s Jamie Foster Brown and many more were spotted at this year’s CBC festivities. Yet again, CBC’s social scene has proven to be one of the most exciting and memorable experiences held in our nation’s capital.