Drake Vs. Chris Brown: An Open Letter From A Nightlife Veteran

The views expressed in this article do not represent those of VIBE or its parent company. A 12-year nightlife-marketing veteran, Anessa DeSarno (@anessadesarno) wrote the following perspective. Desarno is not speaking on behalf of the clubs or owners and is not currently an employee of the establishment

I keep seeing coverage of the Chris Brown/Drake fight and now Tony Parker’s lawsuit, and I think there is a big piece missing. I have been friends with Barry Mullineaux who owns and operates Greenhouse and WIP for 10 years and at one point was working for him full time in these clubs. Now, they are technically clients, but that’s a whole different story…

Right now, there are 300 people out of work employed by the clubs (over 50% minorities) many of which cannot even collect their paycheck from last week because no one is allowed access into the clubs per the NYPD. The clubs are being made to look like there was an unsafe “hip-hop” party—as if anyone would see or could anticipate this happening between Drake and CB camps… The night wasn’t an urban party and as someone who works in entertainment marketing in events (many clients who are and have been in the urban market), this situation is bad for the industry as a whole.

I am not speaking on behalf of the clubs, owners, my company, or anyone. I was not there the night of the incident. But I have been working in NYC nightlife for 12 years (in various capacities) and the one sided coverage is starting to be painful to read. I understand VIBE is an entertainment based publication, but if news stories are being reported I think that the effect this could have on an entire industry should also be covered.

In 2004, I was a victim of a nightclub fight that left me with a broken wrist by a drunken man. I have never felt unsafe in any of Barry’s venues, especially Greenhouse or WIP. Which leads me to my final point.

The events of the preceding week could have happened at any public establishment at any given time. Similar to concert or stadium venues—or even general restaurants or bars—nightlife venues train security and operations personnel to assist and minimize escalated situations as soon as they arise. While an incident like this is extremely rare and unfortunate, the heightened attention to this specific altercation is shedding an out-of-context light on nightlife and the nightlife industry as a whole. But I am confident that we will return to the positive culture that nightlife is meant to highlight and reflect. –Anessa DeSarno