CIAA 2011 Recap

For those who don’t know the CIAA is a HBCU conference composed of schools in NC/VA/MD/PA and at the end of their mens & womens basketball season there is a Conference Tournament that decides who goes onto the Division II tournament. There are various events that coincide with the playing of the games. From concerts, to job fairs to parties (which is why so many people come into town). The tournament originally was based in Virginia for a long period of time but transitioned to Raleigh NC (that was where I first attended in 2005) and in 2006 transitioned to the city of Charlotte where it will be until 2014…

In past years I had the pleasure of covering the games as an on floor photographer and also going to a couple of the non-party related events (steve Harvey show, the fan experience) this year due to scheduling I focused on just the social aspect of the CI (as many call it)

and all I can say is that it was the truest essence of the GOOD BAD AND UGLY….


the one thing of the CIAA I truly love seeing are the older couples 50+ who still come into town and support their respective colleges by going to the games and some of the mature alumni events. On my way to a day party Friday I saw three separate couples around my grandparents age walking to Time Warner Arena to watch game. Also Saturday during the CIAA Championship Brunch sponsored by the charlotte alumni chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, I had the pleasure of interacting with a lot of 40+ crowd and just to overhear the stories of how long they had been coming to the CIAA and participating in events similar to ours was great…

I also think this year was the year of the Cougar. I saw so many woman between the ages of 35-45+ that were on top of their games. They were appropriately dressed handled themselves in a great way and just looked good. I know a couple of my boys went to events (mainly the AKA Pink Groove event) where they dominated the scene even over some of their younger sorors. They also are not afraid to get out there and enjoy themselves on the dancefloor. Bernadette Standis (Thelma from Good Times) was at the Saturday Night Party I covered for Six Figure Entertainment, and for someone who is 58 not only did she still look good but she was not afraid to get out on the floor and dance…
Yes there were and have always been men who come out in that same age range but being a guy I don’t pay that much attention to them. One of the hostesses at a party I was shooting said that a “sugar daddy” she met two years ago still calls her every CIAA to see what she has up.

Also this year at all the events I covered people, for the most part, were willing to take photos. Usually you find someone who is standoffish by the camera or being on the internet… It’s still hilarious to see the few people who don’t wanna be photo’d how they run to the other side of the room, uh ma’am I know what I am doing I can crop the photo to where you aren’t seen.

Shout out to all the Promoters; IV Horseman Entertainment, Six Figure Entertainment, Kappas of Charlotte whose events I covered from my vantige point all were successes, no issues or problems. The DJs were great and people looked to be enjoying themselves. Also talking to people who attended other parties they really enjoyed themselves once they got to a party

Traffic: That’s all I kept hearing about on twitter, how traffic was so bad and things were gridlocked downtown in the epi-center. You see I said others, after finally figuring out how to maneuver through the city and being fortunate that the parties I covered friday and saturday night were on the outer part of downtown, I was able to circumvent most of it. The combination of charlotte’s funny structure of downtown (one way streets and traffic lights) in addition to people holding up traffic trying to see and be seen (the candy-painted rides were out again… the Coors, yes coors light beer, Cutlass and the lime green Charger were the highlights.

Hurt feet: That’s all I kept hearing from women “oh my feet hurt” Its funny what you women will subject yourself to for the sake of beauty. Even as a man I will say there were some shoes that were nice looking but was it worth it (and i can hear all my lady readers yell YES) By the end of the night with many of women i saw those shoes were in hand or they had the wobble legs… Ladies in the future what you may want to do is carry one of those knapsack backpacks with a pair of flip-flops/flats check it into coat check and at the end of the night switch into those, because walking the street (because for a lot of people it was a major hike due to lack of close parking) barefoot is not safe nor is it sexy… Speaking of coat check, next year ladies PLEASE make that your BFF. For those who have come to CIAA the past 3 years, we know the weather has not been at its best and we know you are determined to still wear your “get-em girl outfit” so when you buy the dress find a nice jacket/shall that you can put over it and check it… Nothing is worse than leaving out the club after sweating and having to shiver your way back to your car, its bad enough your feet will hurt don’t compound it with pneumonia of the breast because you had to be cute…

VIP: I heard so many people had issues with venues VIP set up, they paid an extra amount for admission but really didn’t get much with it. Next year do your research and find out what you get with that before you pay $80 for a party just to standing in a crowded room with other people away from the party. I will give my boy Kirk Brown from Six Figure Entertainment credit, Saturday night Good Times event, not only did you get a separate DJ, you got a full course meal (pasta/roast/3 types of chicken/veggie tray/cupcakes) but you also got an OPEN BAR… how many promoters are willing to do that… well keep them in mind for CIAA 2012… Everyone I talked to enjoyed themselves and it was as if it was a separate party.

Weather: I joked early saturday that the weatherman lied because they were calling for rain Friday but it never showed. I guess the joke was on me because it rained and poured most of saturday… I did notice that unlike with most social weekends in Charlotte people were not afraid to still come out. I did talk to a couple of people who said the malls were on jam during the afternoon and a couple were reminiscent of freaknik (not much clothing a lot of loitering) I guess God knew if the day was clear the people wouldn’t know how to act so it rained enough during the day to keep those without plans from downtown, cleared up to allow people to get to their respective parties that night and then started pouring again around 2am, I guess to tell people GO HOME…


Dress: Dont wanna be sexist but most men keep their attire for these types of events simple: either you have the sweater/sports coat or Graphic T look which is pretty simple you can’t mess that up, but LADIES LADIES LADIES a lot of the stuff I saw this week, some of you don’t have friends who care about you… A lot of you went for the “whatever looks the craziest” look. I saw some color combinations that should be outlawed. Yes I understand many of you are trying to be fashion forward but its 2011 not 2035 some looks should be left to the video chick because they can take it off and leave it with the stylist.

The Leggins/designer tights look is a gift and a curse… while I saw a couple of women correctly pull them off and made me do a double take, I saw too many that didn’t. I even saw a grandma (50+s) out there trying to rock them… Ma’am not to be rude but leggings should NOT sag in your backside, give them back to your granddaughter.
Make sure the outfit you wear to the party is size appropriate you should not spend the entire night pulling it down on your legs or pulling it up in your breast area… It’s funny how chicks will walk around the party the entire night with the top part of their dress hanging low then when I take the picture get all critical and fuss at me. Or this is the funny one, girls take the photo look at it and then say “I look fat”, uh boo you knew that when you bought the outfit, tried it on at home, packed it, and put it on in the room but you didn’t care so why get all conscious now… I guess because the world will see the chunkiness that your girls were too shady to tell you about before. And if your girl is pregnant (well with a stomach like that I HOPE she was) either leave her home or tell her wearing a white skin-tight shirt is NOT the business

Speaking about home girls and the people you hang with… Ladies if they leave you in front of a restaurant incoherent throwing up THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS… if you are a friend of someone in this state at least take them back to the car, don’t leave them out in the public to be clowned or even worse taken advantage of by thirsty men. And if she is that gone you may have to take an L on your fun to help her out, IF she is truly your friend.

And speaking of that it leads to my last and perhaps my BIGGEST peeve of the weekend. It’s what I will call CIAA Wasted. Its bad when guys get sloppy drunk and barely know whats going on but its a damn shame when women get to that level. Know your limits… If you are regularly a one glass of wine drinker what sense does it make to come to CIAA and have 3 drinks before leaving your hotel room then get to the party and have 3 more drinks… I do know some women who can drink men under the table but that was an acquired skillset. Not to mention by Saturday night your body is probably so dehydrated from all the alcohol consumed Thursday night Friday day and Friday night. You probably have had no water and werent eating right if at all… Pointblank ladies especially if you are over 25 that ish is not cute, and truthfully what is the purpose of drinking that much?
These women irk me because as a photographer I have to personally deal with them, a guy in the party can just ignore you, but it seems like the more drunk women get the more they want to take pictures and become touchy feely. I wanted to mush at least 10 women in their face, over the course of this weekend because they; invaded my personal space their breath was horrid and they were just acting horribly. You don’t have to touch me for me to take a photo of you, and yes you do look drunk in the photo BECAUSE YOU ARE

Overall it was a decent CIAA and considering my move, this will be my last CIAA… people ask would I come back to shoot, probably not. It’s not financially worth it considering all the stress/tired moments. My body is just now recovering and I had to take today off to allow for that.

For those who want to see what I saw through my lens goto Crush Charlotte