Bogie’s Meet & Greet party caps off annual Alumni Weekend

Photo by Chris Sykes
From left, Mia Tanner Brooks, Melody Scott, East Orange Mayor-elect Ted Green, Ronald Salahudin and Muzzemil Mohammed-Stevens stand together at the East Orange High School and Clifford J. Scott Alumni Meet & Greet Party at Bogie’s bar and lounge on William Street on Saturday, Nov. 25, to cap off the annual Thanksgiving Alumni Weekend events that began on Thursday, Nov. 23.

EAST ORANGE, NJ — After they participated in the East Orange Hall of Fame inaugural induction ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 25, East Orange’s own rap music legends Naughty By Nature made sure the after party was one for the ages.

Following the East Orange Hall of Fame ceremony at the Cicely L. Tyson School of Performing & Fine Arts, Anthony “Treach” Criss, Vinnie “Vin Rock” Brown and Keir “DJ Kay Gee” Gist of Naughty By Nature went to Bogie’s Lounge on William Street for a party where an alumni event was also taking place for East Orange, Clifford J. Scott and Essex Catholic high schools. The “Panthers & Scotties Meet & Greet with a Little Something Extra” event capped off the annual Alumni Weekend.

The Bogies event was organized by East Orange High School alums Mayor-elect Ted Green, Melody Thomas-Scott and Mia Tanner-Brookins, with help from party promoter Donnie Don.

“The weekend started off with the Old Guards from the Class of 1977 then from the Class of ’77 we had the All Class Reunion last night in Kenilworth, then tonight we had the basketball game with Clifford J. Scott and East Orange High, then we had the Hall of Fame, and this is the closeout party that we do every year. This is our third year doing it here in the city of East Orange,” said Green on Saturday, Nov. 25. “What makes the weekend really exciting is that we had events going on all over the city, but this is the last event where everybody’s coming together, having a great time. None of this could have been done without these two people right here, Mia and Melody.”

Tanner-Brookins thanked Green for the praise, but said the annual Alumni Weekend events were the product of a group effort, with East Orange natives from different generations coming together to celebrate their hometown and shared history.

“It’s all about unity,” said Tanner-Brookins on Saturday, Nov. 25. “It’s unity with both schools that’s no longer here. So it’s unity and we’re bringing back to the community and bringing our alumni back together again.”

Scott shared Tanner-Brookins’ sentiments and said, even though they all worked together to make the third Meet & Greet successful, this year’s event was a historic “first.”

“It’s important, because not only did we bring both schools together, but Ted is going to be the mayor. Ted is homegrown; he’s from East Orange, so the city has an energy like it’s never had before. So we’re bringing everybody together in celebration of not only the alumni and the Thanksgiving game, but we celebrate the fact that one of our own is actually going to be the mayor of the great city of East Orange. So we’re excited,” said Scott, who was born and bred in East Orange, but now lives in Irvington and works in Mayor Tony Vauss’ administration.

“Ted is homegrown. He’s East Orange. He’s elementary school, high school here. He has a dojo here, so he’s had a business here in the community for the last 20 years. He’s been doing stuff for the community. He has all kinds of different activities; things for the seniors, things for the youth. So it’s incredible and we’re excited about it and we’re happy.”

Scott, Tanner-Brookins and Green presented community service and appreciation awards to the members of Naughty By Nature, along with many others who participated in this year’s Alumni Weekend.

“We honored Naughty By Nature. They’re homegrown. They’re a Grammy Award-winning group,” Scott said. “Treach got an award this year. Vinnie got an award last year. So not only did we just have a party, we gave out awards to people that were well-deserving in the city of East Orange. So it was … a way for us to give back to our home, so it’s important.”

In his acceptance speech during the East Orange Hall of Fame inaugural induction ceremony earlier in the evening, Treach had made similar statements..

“We grew up with a majority of Muslims. I come from the church and go to the masjid. We’ve got different cultures, the way they were saying how we all are family. If one kid was stranded, we all go to the park together and play ball with him. We’re one tribe,” said Treach on Saturday, Nov. 25.

“We was in the ‘hood 10 years after we was millionaires and platinum. If you leave the ‘hood, you’re doing something you ain’t no business doing. If you left, you forgot where you came from. I felt more comfortable on the block with that. I couldn’t leave with hundreds of millions of dollars. Everybody I knew, we all was rich together, but they had jobs; I was just getting the money. But we taught each other how to grow each other, be on tribe and everything.”