Hi I’m Pazge, author of “Confessions of a Disco Queen… 30 some years ago”. This is an autobiography about my life during my twenties that take place in New York City. Please read an excerpt from Chapter Four under “writings”. I’m looking for a publisher to publish this book and my second one which takes place in Brussels, Belgium, the continuation of the Disco Queen in Europe.
Confessions of a Disco Queen...30 some years ago
This book is an autobiography. Names, characters and places have been changed and are written fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual events or locals or persons, living or dead are embellished and are based on the author’s real life experiences and perhaps some actual events.
This book is dedicated to all the women and men who witness the historical event of Pazge All Black Male Dramatized Fashion Show and my personal thanks to the Male cast: Al, John Best, Don Brealond, Winfred Brown, Luis Chiciana, Nestor Cora, Solomon Doley III, Armando Esparza, Lennie Grant, Karle Harriston, Darrylle Jackson, Boyd Jarvis, Clifton King, Andre LaCorbiere, James Lewis, Curtis Marks, Nate Naples, Reginald Maynor, Joseph McFadden, Cameron Niles, Ron Perry, Paul Rutherford III, Tahir Shahid, Vincent Shelley, Henson Styles, Gary Swann, Robert Taylor, Tony Tripp, Fernando White and the late Bruce Webb – Manniquins: Carla Amevor, Evie Bandison, Mary Ellen Bunche, Margaret Coles, Arlene Hagans, Wanda Grey, Sylvia Hall, Debra Jackson, Cheryl Johnson, Debbie Lockley, Sharon Morris, Dania Osson, Denise Rhodes, Dolores Sherrod, Donna Taylor, Sheila Wallace, Pamela Webb and Julia Williams; the staff: David Vaughn, Felicia Daniels, Teddy Harrison, Joan Harrison, Yvette McKight, Johnny Johnson, Mike Berry Edwin Hamza, Derrick Gaines and Tu Sweet Allen
It was the happiest moment in my life. I finally landed that job that every FIT student who majored in fashion buying and merchandising sought after, it was a matter of getting your foot in the door...and I did, as the letter read...”we are happy to inform you, you have been selected for the secretarial position at C.M.C. in the footwear department under Mr. Harry Bernstein.”
It’s time to “PART—TAY!”
I was all excited about my new found position, it was time to celebrate. Naturally, I had to informed my two girl friends who lived in my building at Heywood Towers, Evonne, a very suave sister with some poise and acting abilities and Lynnette, the unpolished diamond in the rough who destined to become a professional model, that we were going out to celebrate at Leviticus…”the hottest Black Disco Spot in Manhattan”. We all decided to meet at my apartment to get ready. Evonne’s wardrobe was always geared towards the flowing fabrics and cape-like outfits that made her look mysterious, while Lynette preferred the tight fitting form on a shapeless body that needed acceptance, and for myself, I was out to party, so I wore the Marilyn Monroe famous spin dress, so when I did the hustle, you would see my beautifully shaped, muscular smooth legs and a peek at my panties during those unstoppable swirls.
We were three sisters ready to strunt our stuff and set the town on fire, or back then, “paint the town red”. Not wasting any time, we decided to take a taxi to 33rd Street and Seventh Avenue. We already had our groove on as the music in the taxi belled out one of my favorite songs “Good Times...these are the good times our new state of mind” by LeChic, as we were determined to helped them sing it right.
The taxi pulled up in front of Leviticus as we poured out on to the side walk laughing and giggling hysterically at the way Lynette was trying to hold a tune and we soon learned not all black folks can sing. The evening was slightly briskly and somewhat cold, as it was March first 1977 and Kunta Kinta had dominated the TV screens for the last two months causing black folks to book trips to Africa or find their roots. We quickly entered the foyer. The lights were dim with the strong smell of mahogany and gold railing. The brother at the mahogany raised stand was dressed in a three piece LeMan’s crème colored suit with smooth side burns that were artistically shaped and a low crop wavy textured hair cut. His nails were nicely manicured with a bold tiger’s eye ring on his pinky finger.
“Good Evening Ladies, and welcome to Leviticus.” We all shouted back, “Hi, glad to be here,” still giggling. He was amused at our behavior and said,
“That will be five dollars each ladies, unfortunately it doesn’t include a drink which seem like you ladies have already had a few, but if you come on “Ladies Night”, which is Wednesday, admission is free and you get a complimentary drink”. I replied, “That’s okay, we are here to celebrate my new job...and we just want to part-tay.” He responded, “Hey ain’t nothing wrong with that, go on in there and get your groove on, our Deejay is pumping up some hot sounds tonight”.
As we entered into the lavish, spacious room, the air was breath-taking with beautiful scents of Halston and Charlie fighting for their share of the air quality. We walked towards the circular wooden polished bar that supported the gold railing and sat in the velvet cushion seats and ordered our drinks. The music was bobbing as women stood around in small groups chattering. The black and white checkered dance floor was slightly empty with about three couples dancing. The brothers were standing around in their two and three piece suits with polished beef-eater shoes and some had glisten soft Jheri curl that touched their shoulders in a DeBarge look.
As I sat there with my soul sistahs, I began to ponder about my new job at C.M.C. What would be my first reaction when I meet Mr. Bernstein, and would he think I’m buyer’s material? How would the staff see me, as some eager sistah trying to move in on one of their reserved positions or an easy push-over who would flunketized themselves to move up -- because in this industry only the prima donnas rule. I’ve heard so much about the backstabbing and the horror stories of the snobbishness, the pretentious and the downright arrogance ness in the fashion industry, but hoped for myself it would be a new and exciting experience.
“Can you believe this chit” shouted Lynnette. Suddenly, my mind was back at the moment. I replied, “What’s wrong?”
“What’s wrong, what’s wrong, look at this chit? No one has asked us to dance, remember we came out here to PART-TAY and evidently that’s not what’s happening.”
As I took a toll of the atmosphere, I noticed she was right we had been there almost an hour and either one of us had been asked to dance, however, I noticed several more couples on the dance floor, they were laughing and kicking up their heels as they enjoyed the smooth sounds coming from the deejay. They were grooving to my celebration, I began to wonder why I wasn’t grooving to my own celebration, as blond hair was flowing in the air and the giggling sounds of perched voices made me think? Is there something wrong with me, or is there something wrong with my girlfriends or is there something wrong with the other black sistahs standing around wanting to be asked to kick up their heels also? It never at the moment occurred to me that it could be retaliation on black women from our new Negro brothers, though Kunta Kinta knew his roots; we had watered the bloodline of generations long ago. Evonne broke my train of thought and responded,
“Well if you are not going to dance, then I will.” She walked away boldly from her seat as her flounces of woolen fabric followed and went into the direction of a captivating looking brother that she had been eyeing from the moment we walked into Leviticus. We were in awe. We knew Evonne had this unpredictable brazen bodacious demeanor, which would only surfaced in desperate times; however we didn’t know this was one of those times. Lynnette and I peered through the crowd to see Evonne’s boldness, we noticed after a few moments of conversation with the brother, she turned around and headed back in our direction and took her seat. Unfortunately, her feet never got to kick or spin on the black and white checkered dance floor. We were like leeches on her, “what happened?” “I can’t believe you went over to him.” “What did he say?” “Are you okay?” Her reactions to our pressing questions were of no surprise, she responded, “he said he’s here with his ladies of the night and he wants to have a good time with them, because they worked hard for his money.” Our eyes quickly reverted to the brother and noticed about ten beautifully well-dressed ladies were surrounding him, their flowing blond and brunette hair gave great shine as the crystal disco ball began to turn. Their long lanky legs had no marks of demarcation, just one innocent color of pink flesh.
My belief has always been, one little eruption from Mother Nature can cause a tidal wave, didn’t it happen in Northridge California...and this is also the case with human beings, didn’t it happen in LA with the riots? It takes one brother to exploit the situation, which appears to others to be something different, a fad or a good thing and the other brothers will begin to follow suit. My celebration was halted because the brothers were now dancing with the ladies of the night as angry sistahs stood around dressed to kill in haute couture outfits and now knowing that their expensive garment will never get a chance to be broken in on the dance floor. I began to notice other women were dancing with each other, some were complaining and some began to leave. My gut reaction was to get their “point of view” on what was happening at the hottest black disco spot in New York City. After all, Leviticus was the featured article in the January issue of Ebony magazine, the article that was written by the late Herschel Johnson, “Leviticus the Hottest Black Disco Spot”.
After leaving Leviticus that night, I became enraged about my lack of celebration though my mind was somewhere else; I felt it was my civic duty to redeem my sistahs. I sat in my living room with the issue of Ebony Magazine on my coffee table and began to finger through the pages that convinced me and my girl friends that Leviticus was the hottest disco spot and to imagine all the other sistahs that were convinced too. I wanted to send the editor a letter about his misinformed piece of information; about him not witnessing the events that took place that night; and about him not acknowledging the black woman who patronized and make these enterprises to become successful. But deeply knew it would never be published. Looking out my the sliding glass door on my terrace and witnessing a beautiful night the bright stars gallantly gleaming, I found myself sitting on my patio chair all bundled up in my coat with a glass of red wine. I was enjoying one of God’s great beauties – the galaxy. The stars were bright. Each one fought to get my attention. As I began to ponder about the beauty of the stars, the mellow taste of the merlot and my congratulatory letter and suddenly they all had seen to be annul, erased, cancelled out by the negative impact of the “hottest disco spot.” Before I knew it, I was writing a “Dear Editor” letter. I wasn’t a writer who went to journalism school or majored in creative writing, that dream was squashed many years ago. My writings are by second nature, a natural born writer. I recalled back in grade school as a remedial student, just relocating from North Carolina at the tender age of five, I had the worst “southern accent” or drawl you could ever imagine. It had its own language and this handicap stayed with me until I entered first grade. The public schools in the black neighborhoods realized this problem especially with a significant number of black children coming up from the South; they immediately instituted a curriculum to teach reading, writing and pronunciation. We would leave our regular classroom during the day and report to our remedial studies. By the third grade, I begin to enjoy speaking a beautiful language that didn’t incorporate ‘look over yonder’ with a heavy drawl. I would spend hours reading where I would fantasize being one of the characters in the book and live happily ever after. I also liked being Jane and not Sally, because Dick and Jane always had fun running and playing with Spot. My fantasy journeys led me to writing my own ‘make believe stories’. Learning to write was extremely important to me because penmanship played a big part in you being promoted to the next grade. One day in class after my third grade teacher gave a lesson on the types of occupations of our American citizens and milk and cookies were being passed around, she asked every one what they wanted to be when they grew up. Most of the female students responded they wanted to be nurses, some wanted to be teachers and just about all the boys wanted to be firemen. I on the other hand, was embarrassed to say what I wanted to be. Though knowing what I wanted to be, yet slightly shy from being stigmatized of my Southern roots. After class I approached my teacher and told her of my desirer to be a writer. Mrs. Beagan replied in a cold surprising manner, with a slight chuckle, “a writer? Listen my dear you will never be a writer,” and she walked off and left me standing there with a crushed reality. After all my stories were make believe, who ever lived happily ever after? That remark shadowed me as I began to write my Dear Editor’s letter hoping it would not deter my ability to write effectively. By the end of the evening, which led me to another evening on my terrace, I had crushed and balled up over two hundred sheets of paper and I thought perhaps Mrs. Beagan was right...I will never be a writer.
Heywood Towers were full of inspiring artists, mostly black and a few Puerto Ricans. The city had revitized a number of housing projects, specifically for the Culture & Arts Endowment. This endowment would house your low to moderate income dwellers who were employed or showed significant interest in the creative field. This was a tidiness process to get selected as an occupant. Kevin, an upcoming photographer who lived on my floor, was truly an artist,. Some of his photos were exhibited in the building’s lobby front entrance behind lock and key, and wherever Kevin went, so did his camera. He was polite and spoke to me everyday. After working late at the office and rushing to get home, I accidentally left my keys on my desk. Upon arriving at Heywood Towers and angrily digging in my handbag for my non-existent keys and saying all kinds of %#!%@ words Kevin arrived at the building and I felt a sense of relief. As he used his keys to open the security door to get in and I followed, suddenly he replied, “I’m sorry, but you must use your keys” naturally, I thought he was joking I replied “come on that’s really funny.” Kevin firmly would not let me enter. He closed the door and it locked with me on the outside and him on the inside I was in such shock; I called him all kinds of Mothers, Sons and Holes I was in total disbelief, he lived on my floor for god sakes, though he’s a loner and I never saw him socializing, I had no idea he was antisocial, perhaps a misfit from watching too many of their cartoon, I could hear his television when my terrace door is opened. Mad as hell, I ranged Lynette’s buzzer several times and did not get a response, then I tried Evonne and she answered and buzzed me in. Upon arriving on the fifth floor, I passed Kevin’s door and it was very hard to rid myself of the all the things I wanted to do to his door , like a huge red X of blood, perhaps the vampires would have a field’s day. I always kept a spare set of keys under my thick welcome mat, I retrieved them and enter my apartment throwing the keys and handbag on my cocktail table. I was pissed off about the incident that I had to make myself a hard drink, turned on the music and sat on my terrace with the two hundred balls of crushed paper as McFadden and Whitehead blasted out “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now...we are on the move” My Dear Editor’s letter let me know that Mrs. Beagan was not right here it is...
ANOTHER VIEW OF WHAT’S HAPPENING IN OUR DISCOTHEQUES...WALLFLOWER’S VIEW
What is really happening at the discotheques? What is really happening at the hottest Black disco spot? Is everybody dancing and having fun, or are there a lot of wallflowers sitting around yearning and wishing for a dance? Recently, a national magazine did a feature article on Leviticus, the mid-Manhattan 33rdStreet discotheque in which it was called “Manhattan’s hottest Black disco spot.”
This week an Amsterdam News reader, Ms. V. Pazge has taken sharp exception to the article, and has written her own article in which she points out that having a ball at the discotheques around town is not exactly the “ball” many think it is. The article she wrote appears below: