This evening, courtesy of MVFHC
, I went to the Dayton Branch of the NAACP
's annual Freedom Fund Banquet, the 55th year the dinner was held but the first time I'd ever attended.
The event was held downtown at the Convention Center
, and so I can't help comparing the NAACP banquet to the Pride Dinner, which was held several years at the Convention Center and was the last dinner-style event I'd attended there.
The first comparison is that at Pride Dinners there were several cash bars set up around the periphery, but at the NAACP banquet there are none. Apparently the NAACP membership, made up of lots of African American pastors and their congregations, want attendees to be sober, although when it comes to fundraising, I'm not sure that's necessarily a wise tactic.
The food was better than I remember from years past. The menu featured chicken, of course, but instead of being bland institutional chicken it was actually pretty good and was served in combination with pork in a sweet sauce.
The NAACP entertainment in general paled in comparison to that of a typical Pride Dinner. Bless the little ACT-SO
performers' hearts, but they weren't exactly enthralling. (And a lip-synching drag queen is? Point taken, but again, alcohol helps loosen an audience up).
Corrine Brown as seen from my distant seat
People certainly have no qualms about leaving the NAACP dinner early. NAACP Dayton Branch president the Rev. Dr. Robert E. Baines Jr. bragged about there being two tables for members of his congregation, Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, but after his part in the program, a bunch of Macedonians got up and left, obviously not caring to wait to hear the keynote speaker.
The NAACP pulls in higher powered politicians. You can count on local Democrats to attend Pride Dinners, but the NAACP banquet gets Republicans too, and not just local ones. Ohio's beloved Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell made a surprise appearance, I guess hoping to shore up what he considers a key constituency, but I was pleased to hear only lukewarm applause for him (Update 10/23:
A friend who attended with me disagrees and thinks that most people in attendance probably will vote for Blackwell). And then there was the evening's keynote speaker, Congresswoman Corrine Brown
Brown was fun, and though she was politic enough not to mention Blackwell by name, she didn't spare him any punches, exhorting the audience to vote for people not just cause they "bought a ticket to the NAACP barbeque" but instead because of their stand on the issues and their voting records and reminding us that we need to be vigilant to make sure this year's election is a fair one, unlike the 2000 election in Florida, in which 27,000 voters in her district had their ballots tossed out, and the 2004 election in Ohio, for whose handling Blackwell has been so widely praised (not).
I couldn't see Brown so well from my distant seat on the edge, but she stood out since she was pretty in pink, a color I guess she likes to wear other places too. Now Brown is prettier than a drag queen, but, bless her heart, I have to admit the comparison did cross my mind. I looked for a pic of Ms. Demure (of Harper's Bizzaroworld
fame) in pink but couldn't find one.
Looking for websites tonight while writing this, I see that people are just plagued by expiring domain names. The Dayton Branch of the NAACP is one of only a few in Ohio listed on the NAACP website
as having its own website (the big three, Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati don't have websites), but daytonnaacp.org
expired in June this year and was snatched up by a domain name prospector. Ms. Demure used to have a domain name for her show at bazzaroworld.com
, but that expired and has been taken over too. Google lists an article about Ms. Demure on queerohio.com
, but that just expired this month, though its proprietors may yet reclaim it. How difficult is it to keep track of your domain names, people?
Stupid idea: NAACP is commonly pronounced as N double-A CP. I think it'd be cool if they updated their name to American Association for the Advancement of African Americans, cause then they'd be the quintuple-A.