Last year, during CIAA basketball tournament weekend, I went to Cameo to see my favorite rapper in the entire world, Lil’ Wayne. I was tempted to run toward the stage and run my fingers through his dreads, but after considering I may come face to face with a bodyguard or two, I settled for just watching him throw thousands of dollars in the air. Not that it wouldn’t have been worth it. Ah, so close, yet so far away.
It was that memorable experience that prompted me to chat with Sport E. Odie, one of Charlotte’s renowned promoters of urban nightlife over drinks and laughs. Sport’s latest major venue in the Q.C. is “the world famous” Cameo, located off Scott Futrell Drive.
When I told Sport I wanted to talk about CIAA 2015, he responded in his usual fashion: with a story. He shared the details of how, in his efforts to secure long-standing hip-hop mogul Diddy (or whatever name he’s going by these days) to come to Charlotte, he found himself carrying $125,000 cash in a bag while walking the streets of New York City.
Yes. $125,000 is what Diddy’s people charged for the rapper/entrepreneur to come hang out at Cameo for one night during tournament week. Do you have $125,000 just laying around? Yeah, me neither.
But it’s definitely happening. Last week, Diddy posted the event flier on Instagram: “CHARLOTTE NC I’m taking over your city CIAA weekend with my sister @lilkimthequeenbee and @kennyburns FRIDAY Feb 27 @ THE WORLD FAMOUS CAMEO...We goin from 9pm to 5 IN THE MORNING! In the words of @sporteodie #itsmoovietime.”
Yes, Cameo stays open until 5 a.m.
Formerly Daisy Dukes, Cameo is located behind a Spring Hill Suites off of Billy Graham Parkway. It may not look like much on the outside, but don’t let that fool you.In side, this two-story, 30,000-square-foot strip club is decked out with leopard print carpet, white leather couches and flashing neon lights. You might think you’re in Vegas. It’s the largest strip club in Charlotte. Possibly North Carolina. Maybe even the world. (Just kidding.)
Let’s crunch the numbers, shall we? While thousands of people are in town for CIAA, the entire space will be filled with approximately 250 strippers. Last year, 12,000 patrons frequented Cameo — that’s about 4,000 a night.
Expect eight stages, three bars, four bathrooms, seven poles (three tower at 30 feet and one offers a shower), one VIP champagne room and two VIP pits situated right in the middle of the action.
There are also 35 VIP tables that are sold each night during CIAA weekend, some going for as much as $12,000. Oh, and did I mention there are hundreds of thousands of dollars being thrown in the air?
Artists that host parties at other venues during CIAA end up at Cameo. Trust me, I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Artists like Chris Brown, Nelly, Young Jeezy and the aforementioned Lil’ Wayne. All within in arm’s reach! Two years ago, Cameo even caught the attention of TMZ — obviously a major social news source — when Drake made it rain until the floor was green with dollar bills (supposedly north of $50,000).
Of course, you’ll be spending a pretty penny too if you’re trying to get into this exclusive strip club this week, with general admission tickets starting at $40 on Thursday, $60 on Friday and $100 on Saturday night (Fabolous, T.I. and Rich Homie Quan are on the lineup). If you’re trying to skip the VIP ticket and table but still want to buy a bottle, Ciroc or Hennessy, to name a couple, will run you $350. Keep in mind you’re going to have to throw a few dollars at the dancers and buy some drinks. You should also probably pay for transportation as parking can be expensive and impossible due to the amount of people there. Lastly, your outfit has to be on point to compete with other partygoers, the waitresses and strippers — all of whom will be dressed — or in some cases, undressed — to impress.
When I asked Sport why anyone would want to go to Cameo, his response was simple: “It’s world famous.” And let’s be real: Despite the cost, clubgoers will find themselves paying and waiting in long lines just to be a part of that ultimate urban strip club experience. Where the bottles are poppin’, the dancers are gorgeous, the money is flyin’, and the artists are flockin’.
Hopefully, tickets haven’t sold out by the time you’re reading this. I’ll be in there, twerking with the best of them and seriously contemplating the song “Bandz a Make Her Dance.”
Need more ideas? Check out our Tournament Week Party Flow chart to help you choose the right event to hit up this week.