On Monday, we commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. and the struggle for civil rights. King will be honored with a celebration of his life at the National Cathedral, a free concert featuring Bobby McFerrin at the Kennedy Center, and a parade down Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, among other events.
Of course, with a three-day weekend, there are many people who want to spend an extra night partying. And if they don’t remember why they get to spend an additional night at the club, Washington’s ever helpful party promoters are covering their e-mail blasts and event fliers with images of Martin Luther King and words from his famous speeches.
I wish I were making this up, but yet again, MLK’s iconic image is being exploited in the name of DJs, happy hours, celebrity hosts and expensive bottle service.
Tacky doesn’t begin to describe it, even if you’re used to the gaudy images and over-the-top hype that’s a staple of nightlife promotion.
On this flier for Bar 7’s “MLK Weekend Kickoff,” the photo of former BET VJ Free (who’s hosting the party) dwarfs an image from the March on Washington. Then at the bottom, there’s a photo of one of the promoters, who’s celebrating a birthday.
Props to Bar 7 for also having a photo of King and text from the “I Have a Dream” speech on an ad for its Sunday night event.
Topped with a pensive-looking photo of King, the flier for Barcode’s “I am the Dream” party on Sunday night (right) boasts that an “Exclusive ‘I am the DREAM’ Drink created by renowned chef and mixologist will be available along with food specials.”
And so on.
Why do these promoters this think is acceptable? Here’s an explanation from So Phocused, the promoters behind the “Dream Catchers” party at Lux Lounge on Sunday night, taken from the event’s Eventbrite invitation:
“THE DREAMCATCHER WILL BE A NIGHT TO REMEMBER AND SO PHOCUSED, LLC WANTS YOU TO HELP MAKE HISTORY. AS WE ALL KNOW MLK JR. HAD A DREAM THAT ONE DAY… I TOO HAVE A DREAM THAT ONE NIGHT EVERYONE IN THE URBAN NIGHTLIFE CAN COME TOGETHER TO CELEBRATE REALLY WHAT DR. KING DID FOR US ALL IN HIS TIME IN THIS WORLD. TO BE ABLE TO GET TO WHERE WE ARE NOW AND WHERE WE ARE TRYING TO GO WE MUST PAY HOMAGE TO LEADERS LIKE DR. KING. MY DREAM PROMOTES HAVING FUN AND KILLING ALL STEREOTYPES THAT “OUR” KIND CAN’T ENJOY A NIGHT OF CLASS AND REMAIN CIVILIZED.”
Here’s a selection of more Martin Luther King Jr. party invites. Let us know what you think in the comments.