This Saturday marks my 1 year anniversary at Ozio Restaurant & Lounge. As I prepare to celebrate this milestone, I can’t help but think back to how this all started…and who better to share my memories with, than YOU!!
It all started when I was 16 years old. My best friend and I decided to throw a party for our birthdays at his house. The party lasted for 2 hours; police had shut the entire neighborhood down and folks that LIVED there had to show I.D. just to get to their house. It wasn’t shut down due to violence, it was just so many people there that it wasn’t enough space to do anything but park your car and walk around. This house party created a monster.
Once in college, I used the fact that I knew every damn body to my advantage. I started throwing everything from Black Student Union Parties at The University of Maryland, to pool parties, to Cabarets. I was a natural, and hey, partying and getting paid for it wasn’t a bad hustle! Soon, my man who was into the club scene pulled me into the DC Club nightlife. It was cool, but very different from the events I had previously been throwing. Suddenly I had to deal with guestlists, bar minimums, and email lists. At first it didn’t appeal to me at ALL. Then, I got a job working at DREAM (aka LOVE) when it first opened. This changed everything for me. As much of an asshole that Marc Barnes is, he knows his shit. I learned a lot working with him, and it helped me make the transition from just a host in a club, to an actual promoter.
After a few years working at Dream, I got hooked up with some Indian gangsters that I’d known from college. They were doing their thing in the promotion game, and they asked me to be down with them. I accepted the invitation, and from that point on, it has been one of the wildest rides of my life. My first time promoting was at Vida, followed by Republic Gardens. Vida was a bust, but my time at Republic was legendary. The Gardens closed a few years after we got there, and then we moved to the then relatively unknown spot called LIV. Our crowd followed us to LIV, and even though it wasn’t the prettiest, or flashiest spot in the city, we made it do what it do. A lot of great relationships came out of our time at LIV, both business AND personal. The staff is still like family to me, from the bartenders to the security to the owner, I met most of the members of the now defunct “Christian Happy Hour(blog on this soon to come)” and the list goes on. From there I have gone to many spots, The Park, Eyebar, Current, 1223, Indie Bleu, and even back to Republic Gardens. We have even expanded to Baltimore & Waldorf, how many folks do you know can say that they’ve thrown events in different markets like that?
They say in order to know where you’re going, you have to look at your past. I look at how I started and I chuckle, but I want to thank each and every person who ever supported me and my Hypnotik crew in all that we have done, and special shout out to my boo boo for putting up with me being a part time party animal. I hope to see you all This Saturday at the “Vintage” Anniversary party at Ozio, and thanks again for all of your support through the years!