An Original Beach Girl Speaks Out
I am one of the few people who actually remember when Black Bike Week (BBW) was something special. It was a reunion; it was a festival; it was FUN. Now, it is a freak show. Just horrible. It seems the rule is: the more naked, the better.
I am a native of North Myrtle Beach (now living in Columbia). I grew up going to Atlantic Beach for BBW. Remember Punk’s Patio? Remember meeting that special guy and walking along the shore until you saw the sun coming up over the horizon? I do. What a time we had.
Now, BBW is full of nudity, noise, violence, and controversy. As such, the City of Myrtle Beach has banned both the Harley Davidson Weekend and Black Bike Weekend. And I say, “Good riddance”. Not so much to the Harleys. I hate to see them go. But as for the black bikers, you won’t hear a single complaint from me.
Yesterday as I was leaving my primary gig and going home to my second gig (which includes a myriad of activities, like writing this blog and the such), I caught the tail end of the PA Bennett Show on 620 AM. She was saying that the NAACP is going to be in Myrtle Beach to make sure things go well. She also said that since MB does not want our (I guess she meant black people) dollars, to stay away. Find another place to spend ‘our’ money. I called in quickly and was lucky enough to be the final caller of the day. I told PA that I agree with her. Black bikers should stay home, but for different reasons. Here they are.
Reason 1: Your money really isn’t that great.
People seem to think that BBW brings millions and millions of dollars in a single weekend. Well, I don’t know the exact numbers, but I am willing to bet that it is significantly less than you think. The people who benefit the most are the hotel owners. They are guaranteed to sell every room in their hotel that weekend. Other than that, restaurants don’t make any money. Many think that is because they close their doors. True, in the past, many have closed for the weekend. And with good reason… they don’t make money! Black bikers seldom go and sit down in a restaurant and have a steak, or a seafood dinner. Some do, but most grab hot dogs, grilled sausages, BBQ, and rib dinners from street vendors. Therefore, street vendors make great money. Full scale restaurants, do not.
Furthermore, if the restaurants were to open, who is going to cook the food? Let’s be real, the majority of the kitchen personnel are black. And guess what, on the BBW weekend, they want to be out in the streets having fun too. So they call in, take off, and sometimes, just don’t show up. How do I know? Because I LIVED it. I did it too, when I was young and didn’t have a mortgage. So I ask again, who is going to cook? The manager can’t do it all himself.
When the NAACP went running down there complaining that it is discrimination because the restaurants closed, my thought was, go fight a real discrimination battle. Unless you live there, you just don’t know!
Reason 2: BBW is too problematic.
The nudity is disgusting. The profanity and provocation are intolerable. The violence is barbaric. The shooting is ghetto. The litter is trifling! I guess when you are about 19, you consider all these things to be fun. But when you get to be 30, 35, 40… that is a disgrace. People drink too much, take stupid risks, and people die. It just isn’t worth it! I don’t know about you, but I like clean, pretty Myrtle Beach. Not ghetto, trashy Myrtle Beach.
Reason 3: There isn’t overt racism and discrimination like many think there is.
For the past few years, I’ve been hearing about the NAACP going down there and making a fuss, saying BBW is handled differently than Harley Week. Yes it is… because it IS different. Just because black bikers are not treated the same as the Harleys does not mean the black bikers are treated wrong. I had absolutely NO problem when traffic was redirected on BBW and not during Harley week. When the Harleys came down, bikers came down in droves, perhaps with a woman on the back … on their BIKES! During BBW, bikers came down with SUV’s, huges trucks with trailers towing their bikes, and droves of people who don’t even own a bike. The dynamic of the two weekends are completely different. During Harley week, the majority of the people are on bikes. During BBW, there are far more spectators and car drivers than bikers. So the rerouting of traffic is completely necessary, not discrimination.
Year after year, the same topic comes up on local talk shows, like Cynthia Pryor Hardy’s and now national talk shows, like Michael Baisden’s. But each host speaks as an outsider looking in. Take it from someone who has lived the Harley Davidson Week and the Black Bike Week. The Harley were OK. But black bikers HAD to go!
This is the opinion of one North Myrtle Beach native. I’m sure there are many who feel differently. Feel free to let me know how you feel.
And yes, I am black.