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The Amazing Race! Destination: The Source Awards
By Sirion "The Industry Insider" Sewell
(more articles from this author)
2004-01-06
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Lights, Camera, Action! Wow! What a weekend I had ... filled with beautiful ladies, tropical weather, music artists, athletes, ice around every neck and wrist, Hummers on every corner, clubbin' until 6 a.m., Buddha filled environments, sittin' in first class all while constantly poppin' tags...ahhh the lifestyle of the rich and famous. During the weekend of October 10-13, I was fortunate enough to get a sample taste of this lifestyle while in Miami, Florida, for the 6th Annual Source Awards, but it did not come easy. In my efforts to get to Miami, I sometimes felt like I was on the CBS reality TV show, "The Amazing Race." Let me tell you about it ...

Before leaving my home state of Seattle, Washington, at 7:05 a.m. on Friday, October 10, with hopes of touching down in the MIA at 6:00 p.m. the same day, I found out that I would not be boarding my connecting flight from Atlanta to Miami or the following three flights because I was flying stand-by on a buddy pass. People ... please listen up! A buddy pass is not all it's cracked up to be and is certainly not worth all the trouble. Follow along ...

So I arrived in Atlanta and in an attempt to get a hold of my bags for a quick wardrobe change, I summoned the baggage claim department for their assistance in securing my luggage. After waiting at the airport for a total of three hours, only to find out that my bags were waiting for me in Miami, I then caught a 45-minute train to a relative's house for a night's rest. The next morning I arose at 5:am EST to ready myself for the long journey ahead. I was dropped off once again at the Marta train station in route to one of my new favorite places, the ATL airport.

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Once there, I quickly beckoned a Delta reservationist to assist me with my travels to Miami. "What do you mean I can't get a flight to Miami, Ft. Lauderdale or West Palm Beach!?!" I exclaimed. Because it was the weekend of the Source Awards, Carnival in Miami, and a three-day weekend. Flights were overbooked & oversold by 40 people and more. There was no chance of me getting a direct flight to MIA. Instead, I booked a flight to Fort Myers, Florida, and with no time to spare rushed to the other side of the airport to catch my plane. Upon landing in Ft. Myers, I caught a taxicab to the downtown Greyhound station and jumped aboard a ready-to-go-almost-about-to-leave-me-3-hour-and-10-minute, rusted out Greyhound bus headed to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Once in Ft. Lauderdale, another relative picked me up, drove me to MIA, where I picked up my bags, and was then whisked away to my hotel. There I was, I had finally reached my desired destination, having missed one night of festivities due to technical difficulties and a little bit frustrated. I was ready to go and set out in search of the beautiful, oh-so-cool, Miami ladies Will Smith spoke of in his 1997 "Miami" song.

Now, I know you want to know what events took place, who was where when and all of that, so let's get right to the source of things ... Before traveling to Miami I was warned by Floridians of two places in town to steer clear of, those being, Overtown and Liberty City, as they were known as the bad parts of town. Though I had arrived late, I was still hoping to attend Russell Simmon's Hip-Hop Summit at the Joseph Caleb Center in Overtown. The event boasted appearances and panel discussions by Baby, Trina, Russell himself, Dr. Benjamin Muhammad, Lil' Flip and others. Man, another event missed! It was all-good though, I scored a free T-shirt and headed over to Church's Chicken for some hot eats. Food always seems to make everything better.

The next event of the day was the Source Sports Celebrity Basketball Game at the American Airlines Arena. Though the event was not heavily populated, a nice time was still had. Prior to the late starting game, we were treated to or should I say forced to sit through a fashion show by a local designer, where one rather plump model bore it all and I mean all, while also breaking the heel of her pump and hobbling off stage; a performance from the less than swell Bulletproof Management dance team (who one audience member was quoted as saying, "They're about a few more practices away from having it down!"); and the singing of the national anthem by somebody-or-other, another Bulletproof Management squad member. From the look of the acts, Bulletproof Management was definitely not bullet proof, rather bullet worthy. Following the torturous pre shows, I was handed a copy of Jae Millz' incredibly hot mixtape (be on the lookout for him, he is definitely the future); said what up to my boy Gotti from Cash Money's new tag team duo Boo & Gotti; hollered at comedian Alex Thomas (who I see everywhere); and with my third row ticket in hand, quickly grabbed my seat not wanting to miss any of the action.

The Dirty South team was made up of Nelly, Ali, INF, a few And 1 players, Miami-Dade representer Trick Daddy (equipped with his shiny new house arrest bracelet) and others. The North Side team, captained by Mr. Joey Crack a.k.a. Fat Joe, consisted of players Boo & Gotti, Cadillac Tah, Huddy G, Cool Herc and a few other unfamiliars. The game was hosted by ...What's his name??? Comedic talent, Shortay!!! The atmosphere was fun, but not for Mr. Country Grammar a.k.a. Nelly, who while missing a few embarrassing shots, was booed by the audience. Fans looked on in amazement and were in hot pursuit of autographs and pictures as the game was attended by: The Terror Squad, Irv Gotti, Run DMC's DMC, the kid from Jimmy Kimmel Live and many others. The game rounded out with a free throw contest, award show ticket giveaways and in a close match up-the North Side team winning the game.

Next, I hooked up with my soon-to-be partners in crime from Seattle, fellow journalist LaDessa Cobb and her friends Che, Brenda and Kim. Not wanting the night to end, we made our way backstage, found out where party was, piled into our sleek Pontiac Grand AM and headed over to CLUB ZNO's in South Beach. Now, R. Kelly was having a party and in a conjoined effort, so was Jagged Edge & Ginuwine, but we knew where the hot spot was and it was definitely CLUB ZNO's.

Entrance into the club was a whopping $50, but what did we expect? It was the Source Awards weekend. Luckily, we got in when we did because when we left at 4 a.m., they were charging people $200 to get in and I think I know why ... The all star lineup of celebrity guests was amazing. Aside from a performance by Yukmouth, club attendees included Big Gipp from Goodie Mobb, Swizz Beatz, Cassidy, Benzino, Bishop Magic Don Juan, Rap-a-lot Records' J. Prince, Styles P., Juvenile, Boo & Gotti and too many others to remember. Every two minutes, DJ Jeff 2X was shouting out another celebrity who was in the house-but half of them I never even saw. When he shouted out Nelly & the Tics, that's when all hell broke loose. The security guards at the VIP were bum rushed and we were finally in the VIP-but, as fate would have it, we didn't really see too many VIP's.

Just a block away from CLUB ZNO's lie Jerry's Famous Deli, our official after party spot. After eating until we couldn't see straight and falling asleep at the table, we decided it would be best to call it a night, or a new day and head home to our respective hotel rooms for some shut eye.

The sun was radiant, the skies were clear, Cuban music bled throughout the streets and tourists frequented sidewalks and shops. Sunday was more of a relaxed day. My crew was still asleep at 1 p.m., so I got a quick tan atop my hotel roof and strolled over to Bayfront Park for some one-stop shopping. There, I picked up some shoes, a few hats, a pair of sunglasses and a bite to eat. At about 4 p.m. we loaded up and traveled north to the Aventura Mall, where we popped a few tags and cleared the racks in search of the perfect Source Awards outfit.

Back at the New Radisson Downtown Miami Hotel, the exclusive Source Awards Hotel, the Source Youth Foundation awards dinner and gala was taking place, but seeing as how tickets were $250, we decided to pass. We mingled at the bar, got a quick photo op with Jaheim and headed back to CLUB ZNO's. Another $50 bucks, but we were balling out of control, out of control being the key words. CLUB ZNO's played host to the official Bad Boy Party where Bad Boy members Puff, Loon & Da Band were spotted in the VIP getting their party on, along side Ja Rule, DJ Kay Slay and others.

After closing the club at 6 a.m. this time and taking shot of Petron-repping the 206 to the fullest in front of some Northwest haters, we headed back to our after party food joint Jerry's. This time at Jerry's we were awake and ran into BET's Big Tigger and Redman, also getting their grub on. We assumed that this night ... err morning ... would be like the last, but to our finding, it was not. A little woozy, Seattle hometown representer Che pulled out from her purse what would ultimately be the saving grace of our trip ... a Source Awards Platinum Pass. Now this was just no regular pass, this pass given to her by somebody at the club could have easily cost a person $2,500, and we knew exactly what to do with it. At 7 a.m. Monday morning, the day of the Source Awards, with no time to spare, LaDessa and I set out on a top secret Source Awards mission. I am sorry but no further information can be divulged at this time about our whereabouts or actions taken or we would have to kill you. LOL.

We were set! It was the day of the show and we were pumped. We had to make a few last minute stops, transactions, purchases and returns before we made our way to Church's Chicken in Liberty City and ultimately the award show. What is it about Church's Chicken? In all of the preparation pandemonium, we missed the grand red carpet arrivals and performances by Wyclef, Puff, Loon and Murphy Lee, but all was well. We some hustlers baby! (Wink, Wink)

With our platinum passes in hand, we made our way to some great floor seats behind Lil' Flip and looked on in complete shock. The show was off the hook! Lil' Jon and the Eastside Boyz, along with every downsouth artist you can think of, killed the crowd with their high energy, nothing less-than-crunk performance. Other performances included Camron & Dip Set, Da Band, Fabolous & Tamia, and Ja Rule and Trina. Awards were taken home by 50 Cent, LL Cool J, Nelly, Sean Paul, The Clipse, Lil' Kim, Jigga, The Neptunes and many others. The show taping lasted well past 1 a.m., but that didn't stop people from getting their party on in other ways at the Miami Arena.

CroBar was home to the official Source Awards After Party but for some reason it was 21+. As we turned in disbelief because I was only 18 and walked past Camron and The Diplomats going into the club, we journeyed next door to where the party was always jumpin, CLUB ZNO's. This time to our surprise, Benzino was shooting his new music video with Lil' Jon, Shortay, Curtis Blow, Magic Don Juan, all the pimps and hoes and many others. This was another dream come true. I had always wanted to attend a music video shoot and there I was right in the middle of it all. Lil' Jon was fired up on his "crunk juice," a mix of Hennessey and Red Bull, and we were fired up just to be in their presence kicking it with them. I couldn't believe I was kicking it in the VIP with Benzino, Lil' Jon, Dave Mays, Kid Capri and Curtis Blow.

This time after the club, no Jerry's, we went straight "home" and went straight to sleep, as we were to catch early departure flights. The night was great. It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend. With no shootings, stabbings or fights, this was truly an awesome experience that I will never forget. I'm glad I was able to make a few of my dreams come true and do it with some great people who had my back. Next year will be even grander!

For more information visit: www.TheSource.com


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