The first episode of Gladys Marivat’s social column “Africa and the City”. Where we discover what an Afro-Caribbean party looks like in 2015 and how expats have fun and spend, with or without bodyguards.
What is the “African Money” evening? An African evening with people who have money, you will answer me in excellent English. Sekou Diawara, 28, a businessman from Guinea, who launched this “new event concept” in 2010, has a broader definition. Now the enlisted African Prince of the Night, walking toward us on the carpet of one of his patrons, Nicholas Foylate champagne, black suit, perfect cut, as lively and fresh as the arctic air of Easter Sunday. “I do not organize parties for the sons of African heads of state, Defending himself. The audience is the students who have the money, but also the people who work. What I want is to unite young Africans in Paris, to show expats that they can go out everywhere, and that no place is forbidden to them. »
For five years, Sekou Diawara has been organizing parties in the 8th and Champs-Elysées clubs, but also in Yaounde, Libreville, Abidjan and Casablanca, with several formats. One, for all budgets, 20€ entry and then service at the bar. And the “franchise”, with its own lounge, waiter and security guard, is formulated from 550 to 2000 euros for the most expensive, which has the beautiful name “Pack African Money” and includes Methuselah and magnum champagne. It is not uncommon for customers to receive more than 5,000 euros in the evening.
“I’ve already spent €750 on drinks, and it’s rent! And that’s just the beginning”. A client in his thirties.
Tonight’s 5th Anniversary was supposed to be Chez Papillon. Too many subscribers. “We were afraid of rioting in and in front of the club. We told ourselves that for 5 years, we had to have as many people as possible so that the message could spread all over the world., explains Sékou Diawara with skillful communication. The day before, in the evening go to a larger nightclub, Palais M, Porte Maillot. very complete.
In the crowd lined up in front of the entrance, standing actors, models, unknown people, groups of little girls in short boots, perched on high heels like pink flamingos. Afro-Caribbean for the vast majority. A young man, a black hat, smiling like an angel, came on purpose from London. “All my friends told me about African money parties. Atmosphere, girls, good African music!”
In the kingdom of gangs
Aside from the moniker azonto, the music that was born in Ghana in the 2000s is rather American standards of hip-hop or R’n’B. Never mind, the audience, aged 20-35, and well-meaning, don’t give the track time to cool off. Among women, tight fittings and sequins dominate, except for the gorgeous punk, who is probably a model. For men, there are two styles: the American hip-hop look and the African chic look, the confluence of Congolese rockers and hipsters (let’s call them “sapster”!), less bright colors, a hat, and a neatly trimmed beard and mustache. If there is flirtation, it is sweet. Here, we mainly came for dancing, flame and consumption. A client, 1930s, gray track jacket, celebrates his birthday. “I’ve already spent €750 on drinks, and it’s rent! And that’s just the beginning” He warns, O great master, he fills the cups of his friends.
The most common table is located at the entrance to the VIP area. We’ve been told by singers and footballers (like French-Congolese Chris Mavinga, from Stade de Reims), so we’re getting closer. The African Money Pack table, no doubt, with its security guard forbidding guests to be photographed. Dark-haired women sitting around two white men. A black and blonde woman is dancing in front of them, alone in her short blue dress. Two waitresses in red underwear and laces flanked by a dwarf in a livery who brings them buckets of vodka.
We think we saw the most farcical show of the evening when a cameo dancer and snake charmer suddenly appeared from the increasingly compact crowd. A young student, in tight clothes, and a toned dance, allows the endless thick white reptile to roll around her shoulders. From the balcony, the crowd raises their arms and swings with the same energy.
It’s three in the morning. Outside, valet parking is waiting for its customers who seem determined to stay until closing time at six. On the sidewalk, there is a synthetic braid that testifies to the fight of a young woman who was not on the list. More than a thousand people celebrated, Sunday, the fifth anniversary of African money at the M Palace. Was it an African evening? Without coupé-décalé? The youth of the diaspora, gilded or not, was there. Maybe that’s it, an African evening, in 2015.