VIDEO: Local ‘ball’ after-party turns violent

Large-scale fight caused by 'very sore loser'

by Matt Comer  Editor  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: February 27, 2013 in News

Originally published: Feb. 27, 2013, 10:58 a.m.
Updated: Feb. 27, 2013, 11:54 a.m.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An after-party for a local LGBT “ball” awards show turned violent early Monday morning, according to a report from The Charlotte Observer. A video posted on YouTube shows several individuals involved in the fight, in which chairs and tables were thrown and, at one point, an ax was apparently used to threaten another involved in the fight.

The after-party followed the 5th Annual Carolina Awards Ball, in which participants modeled in various fashion and gender impersonation categories. The ball is apparently one of several regional events held nationally in “ball culture,” popular among LGBT African-American and Latino community members.

The event was held at NDemand, an event space at N. Davidson and E. 28th Sts. in the NoDa neighborhood. Following initial news reports, there was some confusion that the event might have occurred at the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte, which occupies a different unit in the same building where NDemand is located. Center Operations Manager O’Neale Atkinson said his organization did not rent space to the ball after-party and did not participate or collaborate with the event.

“The altercation did not occur at The LGBT Community Center of Charlotte, located at 2508 N. Davidson St., but rather a neighbor behind us located at 617 E. 28th St.,” Center Board Chair Scott Coleman said in a short written statement posted Wednesday to the Center’s Facebook page. “The Community Center relocated to the neighborhood of NoDa in January 2013 because it is a energetic, vibrant and diverse community. Please be assured that the Community Center is taking the necessary steps to ensure that all of our patrons and visitors will continue to be served in a safe, inclusive, and nurturing environment.”

Detectives with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department are using the YouTube video to aid in their investigation, but no arrests had been made as of Tuesday evening. Police say those at the club and involved in the fight have not cooperated with officers.

According to WCNC-TV, participants began fighting after awards were announced.

“It was a very sore loser at a fashion show. And it just happened to escalate,” NDemand owner Charlene Henderson told WCNC-TV.

According WCNC-TV and another report from WSOC-TV, several other instances of violence have occurred at events held at the NDemand event space and among individuals associated with the ball group.

Coleman said the Center is taking steps to address this week’s violence and other incidents at their neighbor’s space.

“We were in contact with our landlord last night as soon as we were made aware of the altercation,” Coleman said. “He has assured us that the issue will be addressed with the tenant and necessary action will be taken.”

– The Charlotte Observer‘s Cameron Steele contributed. qnotes is a member of the Observer‘s Charlotte News Alliance.