Snoop Dogg's Player's Ball 2011
A Benefit For Bishop Don "Magic" Juan
December 17, 2011
Let's just get this out of the way: It is hard out here for a pimp. That is, if you're Bishop Don "Magic" Juan anyway, a reformed Chicago pimp who became a minister and whose official title nowadays is "spiritual advisor" to Snoop Dogg. Only, apparently that gig doesn't come with health benefits; in late August Juan was rushed to the hospital to remove a blood clot in his leg. For this reason the L.A. incarnation of the annual Player's Ball -- the 34th edition -- served as a fundraiser to pay his medical bills.
It was a real life pimps and hoes party, with the men wearing the most colorful, outlandish slap-a-bitch costumes imaginable, and carrying resplendent bejeweled props. If you didn't have an ostrich feather on your orange sherbet fedora -- or bright green liquer in your 64 ounce pimp cup -- you really didn't fit in. The ladies, meanwhile, favored dresses that covered maybe 3/4 of their ass. (Some examples below.)
Snoop was practically the first one to arrive to club Marbella, located right in the meat of Hollywood Blvd. Wearing a green cape, he served as MC and whispered into the DJ's ear about what to play, an odd mishmash of golden era hip-hop (Geto Boys, Rob Bass) that was light on the g-funk, alongside a few current songs from folks who dropped by, like Wiz Khalifa. (Prepare to suspend disbelief as he and Snoop play high school students in the new film Mac & Devin Go To High School.) Other folks whose names you might recognize holding court in the crowded, smoked-out VIP section included Ray J, Too $hort, and DJ Paul.
But really the night was all about the ladies of the world's oldest profession and the men who keep them in line. The fellas tended to be in their 40s and 50s, making one fear that pimping is a lost art in danger of dying out someday if the younger generation doesn't fill their alligator shoes. Many had mini-harems of ladies, wearing, over visible thongs, tiny micro-skirts attached to garter belts. When they posed for pictures, they were usually squatting. (See below.)
There wasn't a lot of drinking; a cocktail could run you twelve bucks, after all, and when you ordered a beer they wouldn't give you the bottle -- apparently afraid it would end up smashed over someone's head -- and instead poured it into a plastic glass.
No, the average attendee was smoking a cigar-wrapped joint; my guess is that lots of the men were going to need to have their fur coats dry-cleaned afterwards. The crowd got most animated to chant along to Snoop's cries of "Pimp pimp hooray! Pimp pimp hooray!"
As for Bishop Don "Magic" Juan -- whose real name is Donald Campbell -- he appeared to be in fine health, roaming the party in easily the sharpest pimp suit of them all. (The man knows how to peacock; the feather on his cap was easily a foot long.) Folks paid a $50 entrance fee, and the event was startling for its lack of A) drag queens, who would have fit right in and B) hipsters, who wouldn't have.
A couple of young white guys were dressed to the nines, with canes and chalices, and I couldn't help asking one of them if this was a BYO pimp cup event, or if they were simply being handed out somewhere. "You gots to be official," the guy said, and quickly moved on toward a group of ladies with pasties covering their breast implants.
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Critical Bias: It turns out bitch didn't have my money. Like, not even half.
Random Notebook Dump: Some women apparently feared their outfits left too much to the imagination, as they were full of slits and holes.
Random Notebook Dump II: Considering there were more folks in the VIP than on the dance floor, one began to wonder if they were all "very" important; some were clearly only of moderate importance.