I don’t know about you, but I attended an HBCU. Claflin University to be exact and I don’t regret my decision. We did not have a football team, but our basketball team was alright. It was in undergrad that I heard about the infamous CIAA weekend. Now of course many students in undergrad did not have cars or a lot of money for that matter, but right before refund checks were released, the campus would buzz with CIAA chatter. For those of you who are unfamiliar with CIAA, CIAA is short for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and is one of America’s oldest conferences.
If you’re a basketball person, CIAA weekend is just for you. But baby, if you’re looking for a college reunion, a quick turn up weekend with the squad, or just a weekend of unlimited parties then CIAA weekend is for you. Let me share with you my first ever CIAA weekend experience, and what to look out for/expect when attending CIAA.
My first CIAA experience was back in 2013 right before I got my braces put on, and I was making pretty good money at the time too. I brought the idea up to two of my college buddies. We planned everything in a group chat and BOOM it was on.
First if you’re traveling from the DMV area that’s the DC-Maryland-Virginia area, you have a few ways to get to the “Queen City.” If you know for a fact that you’re attending CIAA then secure a Mega bus ticket as soon as possible! Why the Mega bus you ask? Because you can score bus tickets to Charlotte for as low as $20 round trip from Washington DC, yeah, I’ve done it. The best way to do this is to get a bus ticket for an overnight ride, so you can go to sleep and wake up in your destination. I’ve always taken overnight bus/train rides. If you would rather fly into Charlotte that’s cool as well. Flight tickets purchased a few months in advance can land you a pretty sweet deal. (CLT) Charlotte is a pretty decent airport and I’ve usually had no issues. If you’re a savvy traveler you could do both methods. Take the Mega bus down, and return by flying back to your destination.
What to Wear
BE ON YOUR SH** HONEY! When traveling down to CIAA to party you will notice that everyone has come to slay! Hell, even the men too! Weaves and lace front are slayed to the gawds. Faces are beat to oblivion, and nails/lashes are extra fleeky. If you step up to a party looking like an extra for the D4L “Laffy Taffy” video you will probably be turned around. No, I’m serious you will be turned around.
What Parties To Attend
*Let me turn on my Jeezy my real quick* Is this thing on? So here is some advice on selecting a party hosted by celebrity, secure your ticket as soon as it becomes available for sale to the public. I cannot stress this enough. Most parties have entry tickets for about $20 and as high as VIP for two bottles for about $1,000. If you’re trying to party anywhere near the Epicenter please get your tickets in advance and consider getting an Uber to your party. Traffic will be jacked do you hear me? To be aware of what parties will be available, check out Eventbrite and type in “CIAA 2018” for a selection of parties.
Hey, let me ask you a quick question, have you ever been to a “Day Party.” Day parties are the thing now and it is so worth it. My first day party was in industrial area, I can’t lie, I thought we were in the wrong place until we pulled up and saw the massive line outside. The building looked to be about three stories. It felt a little out of the norm for me for some reason. But when we stepped inside….. COMPLETE Nostalgia. The DJ went to South Carolina State University (yes another HBCU) and he had that b**** lit do you hear me? Like he took us back in time to 2004 and worked his way back up to current day music. Let me tell you, I was in my zone baby! Liquor in the air, chicks smelling like sweat, sweet pea lotion and Spritz. Most importantly everyone was having a good time. No drama, no beef, no fighting. Everyone is on their grown and sexy. Girls in the corners with their squads showing them that they still got it. Dudes dripping with swag sauce trying to act hard and sexy, but can’t help but move when “Swag Surfing” hits the speakers. Meanwhile I’m in the middle of the floor reciting all the words to Jeezy’s “Bottom of the Map”
“I do it for the Trappers with the the the rocks, and the OG n**** with the the the blocks heeeeeeeeey.”
Places To Stay
You have several lodging options like Airbnb, your home girl’s crib, or a hotel. In my opinion, stay in the downtown area in an Airbnb. Please note, that you may pay extra because CIAA is a huge money maker for Charlotte. If you would rather stay further out, you will pay less in hotel lodging but will have to travel further and pay for parking downtown and at some of the hotels. In addition, you would want to move your car as little as possible. Why do you ask? Because finding parking at the hotel you’re staying at with thousands of other people flocking to the city to party will become a nightmare.
PLEASE be very mindful, Charlotte and Miami are notorious for overcharging African Americans during huge events like this. Read your receipts very carefully for any unusual fees and charges. Referred to as the “Black Tax,” Ritz Carlton Charlotte was blasted for this practice! STAY WOKE MY PEOPLE.
Places to eat
Did you forget that you’re in the Deep South? Where the sweet tea is in abundance, The Waffle House are open and usually packed with a guy that’s missing two front teeth asking “how you doing”? If you’re looking for some authentic Southern Cuisine while in Charlotte for CIAA, I recommend you try Nana’s Soul Food Kitchen on Oak Lane Boulevard. I went there in 2013, I was skeptical about their buffet like style operation. But honey, when I tell you that mac and cheese and their ribs will put you on your back! It was so good I had to unbuckle my pants, take a break and dive in it again. No lie.
To sum things up, if you’re looking for a weekend of melanin drench turn up, CIAA is the place to be. So gets to planning because CIAA weekend is quickly approaching!