EAST ORANGE, NJ — East Orange’s own Donnie Don hosted his “Legends and Legacy Party” at Bogie’s Lounge on William Street on Friday, Oct. 20, to “celebrate our celebrities, landmarks, parks and avenues” on the same day that Essex County Surrogate Judge Ted Stephens announced the creation of a new East Orange Hall of Fame “to establish a repository to honor this city’s proud heritage.”
Two people associated with the East Orange Hall of Fame’s announcement earlier that day were also at the Bogie’s Lounge party later that night. East Orange City Council Chairman Ted Green was onstage at the announcement at the Cicely Tyson School along with Stephens, and East Orange Superintendent of Schools Kevin West attended the party at Bogies, where the music was provided by DJ Red and DJ Kaos.
Rapper and East Orange native Vincent “Vin Rock” Brown of the hip-hop group Naughty By Nature also attended the party. He will be inducted into the East Orange Hall of Fame’s inaugural class Saturday, Nov. 25, along with fellow Naughty By Nature members Keir “DJ Kay Gee” Gist and Anthony “Treach” Criss.
Brown introduced felow attendee Jamie Gower, of New England, saying she was a New Kids on the Block fan he had “met through Donnie Wahlberg.”
“It can’t get better than this,” said Gower on Friday, Oct. 20. “I’m with two legends — Vinnie and Donnie Don. The music was great.”
Brown said no one should be shouldn’t be surprised by the intersections between rap, hip-hop and pop music.
And Gower wasn’t the only out-of-towner who showed up at Donnie Don’s Legends and Legacy party. There were people from as far away as Miami and as nearby as Orange, Newark and Irvington, which made the party that was specifically intended to celebrate East Orange a much bigger event.
Brown chalked up the interest in all things East Orange demonstrated by the party and the East Orange Hall of Fame event to the ongoing appeal of the city, saying, “East Orange is on the move. I was just in there with our future mayor, the honorable Ted Green. East Orange is on the move. We’re only 4 square miles, about 70,000 people, It’s a utopia.”
Green and fellow East Orange native and East Orange High School graduate Melody Scott shared Brown’s sentiments about their hometown. They said they wouldn’t describe themselves as “legends” yet, but the one thing they all have in common is East Orange.
“Donnie Don called me and said: ‘We’re having a production, an event. If you’re from East Orange, come out and support East Orange and people from East Orange that have supported you for years,’ so that’s what I came out here to do,” said Green on Friday, Oct. 20. “We’ll be back out here again at Bogies on Nov. 25 for the ‘Alumni Weekend Close-Out Panthers and Scotties Meet and Greet with a Little Something Extra.’ … During that time, we’re also going to have the Hall of Fame at Cicely Tyson School that was kicked off today. It’s going to be a great time in the city of East Orange.”
Scott said she will definitely attend every scheduled event during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, because East Orange is and always will be home to her.
“It’s hometown, homegrown. Ted is home grown and he’s the mayor-elect and he’s going to be an awesome mayor and we’re going to do everything that we can to make sure that he’s an awesome mayor and he’s successful,” said Scott on Friday, Oct. 20. “The Saturday after the Thanksgiving alumni basketball game, we will be having a party here and we’re going to be honoring some folks. The Scottie Dogs from Clifford J. Scott High School are going to be there, too. They’re invited. Everybody’s invited. We’re all one from East Orange.”
Donnie Don best summed up everyone’s sentiments: “East Orange is a small town with a big legacy.”
“East Orange High School, Clifford J. Scott High School, Essex Catholic; it was all one,” said DJ Red on Friday, Oct. 20. “The tradition has always been about East Orange and we have a great history and tradition here in East Orange.”
For more information about the Alumni Weekend events, call 973-303-0220 or 973-416-6237.