Black Bike Fest: From Small And Respectful To Large And Hedonistic
In 1980, members of the Black motorcycle club the Carolina Knight Riders (CKR), sat around in a nightclub and conjured up an idea for a motorcycle rally at the beach. Already used to traveling around the country attending other rallies, they wanted to sponsor a rally of their own. Atlantic Beach, SC was the only place that accepted the group. The event was sponsored by the club and held on the streets of the town. This initial rally in Atlantic Beach was composed of the CKR and a small, close knit group of friends and associates who shared a love of motorcycles. The event was a time for the motorcycle club members to meet, mix, and mingle. They ate chicken bog, danced, drag raced, and vied for trophies in contests for the best looking motorcycle. It was a small intimate gathering that was clean and respectful. Eventually, Atlantic Beach saw the potential of the rally and proposed promoting it as a social event. This clashed with the motorcycle club's idea of a festival centered on motorcycles. The town and club parted ways although the CKR continued to return every Memorial Day weekend.
Over the years and chiefly by word of mouth, the festival expanded from a weekend event with a few hundred people to a weeklong celebration drawing crowds upwards of 100,000 which was probably far more than town officials anticipated. What started out as an exclusive Atlantic Beach event expanded each year until it spilled over into Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, and other parts of the area known as the Grand Strand.
This Memorial Day weekend marks the 25th anniversary of the Atlantic Beach Bike Festival b.k.a. Black BikeFest. Brothers and sisters come from all over the United States but mostly from the Mid-Atlantic States. Officials expect a crowd of approximately 400,000. Black folks have usurped this holiday weekend from the Southern Caucasian blow-hards and occupying the entire Grand Strand like a foreign army. It is the Blackest weekend in Myrtle Beach. Even the locals leave town. The only white faces you'll see will be the police, business owners and workers, and wiggas. And there's no bones about it, they don't really want us there. We spend tens of millions of dollars that weekend every year. The money primarily goes to hotel rooms at rates ranging from $400 to $1,000 a night usually with a 3 night minimum. The whole notion of the only color that matters is green (i.e. money) is a lie. If Caucasians can figure out a way to block or discourage us from coming they will. Remember "Greekfest" in Virginia Beach??
Actually, a federal judge sided with the NAACP earlier this month and blocked Myrtle Beach's traffic plans for the festival which called for one-way traffic on the main drag, Ocean Boulevard, and restricting left turns. The injunction is part of a lawsuit the NAACP's Conway branch filed in 2003 against the city, saying Myrtle Beach, Horry County and Myrtle Beach Police Chief Warren Gall were discriminating by using a restrictive one-way traffic pattern, an overwhelming police presence and aggressive police tactics to intimidate and discourage the participants during Bikefest because it is a predominantly Black event. This plan was particularly discriminating because it was not to be imposed upon the mostly Caucasian Carolina Harley-Davidson Dealers Association Myrtle Beach Rally held in the same month. It wasn't a completed victory, because the judge gave city officials the one-way traffic option as long as it was imposed upon both rallies. The city took the option. It remains to be seen if the police presence will be of equal proportion for the two events. The NAACP is watching. Officials in Atlanta used a similar strategy just before the summer Olympics of 1996 to discourage partiers and street revelers during "Freaknic" and it worked.
Freaknic basically died the following year. Some believe it a blessing. Atlantic Beach was successful in converting the event from motorcycle centered into a social party. But along with it's growth, Bikefest has lost it's clean and respectful reputation and has degenerated into a weekend of hedonism and voyeurism. Officials and residents have come to attribute traffic gridlock to the festival goers and complain that the event is marked by lewd behavior such as public sex and urinating in the streets. Today, the cars outnumber the motorcycles. It's more about watching T & A on bikes than the bikes themselves.
Females as opposed to ladies (I have to differentiate but I won't use the B-word), will spread eagle, bend over, jingle, jangle, and basically fulfill any voyeuristic desire of the throngs of negroes misogynists (most are fully clothed), with and without video and still cameras in attendance. I mention Atlanta's now defunct "Freaknic". BikeFest's history closely parallels "Freaknic" which started out as the positive Black College Reunion in Atlanta during spring break before regressing into an event filled with sex obsessed tomfoolery. If you've ever viewed pictures or videos from either of these events, then you won't be too amazed at how low brothers and sisters can stoop. Sisters of all socio-economic backgrounds, single and married, fat and skinny as well as mothers will parade around in some of the raunchiest swimwear and will drop it like its hot with little or no inhibition.
Being the hypocritical brother that I am, the event is at once a sad spectacle but highly entertaining. American sexism at its finest. The ironic thing is that just down the road in Charleston, our ancestors were paraded on the auction block with little or no clothing. We did it for free then and we do it for free today.
Actually, today we pay auction fees.
Let the Ho' Down begin.
As for me, I will never attend Bikefest so long as I'm married. My wife ain't having that and I don't blame her. And that is not to say that I would if I was single. I'll just look forward to attending September's National Black Family Reunion in DC and the Annual Gullah Heritage Days at the Penn Center outside of Beaufort, SC in November. Both are more positive family oriented cultural event.
But, I ain't hating. Remember, playahatas ain't haters. So, for all those attending
Black Bikefest 2005, let the Ho' Down begin!
Peace from the shotgun house,
- Jupiter “Gadfly ” Hammon Soul on Fire
Released: May 27th, 2005
The views and opinions expressed herein by the author do not necessarily represent the opinions or position of Playahata.com.