#RottenBerry: Venue Bans Rappers and “Love & Hip Hop” Cast from “Mob Wives” Premiere Party
Frames NYC, which advertises itself as “the ultimate in nightlife and bowling” seemed like the perfect place for Mob Wives Ramona Rizzo, Karen Gravano, and Love Majewski to host their season premiere party. With a private room to screen the premiere, an open bar for the 100 to 150 guests, bowling lanes, and catered food, the evening promised to be a great time for the cast and their attendees. The star-studded guest list included celebs, football players and rappers.
What actually went down is a different story.
Two days before the event, Gravano’s publicist, Sibrena Stowe De Fernandez received an email from the venue’s manager, Frayda Resnick, specifying that there were to be no rappers or “Love & Hip Hop” cast members in attendance. They also denied a request to play hip hop music at the event.
Stowe De Fernandez was absolutely horrified, as L&HH’s Rashida Ali and Lore’l were amongst those invited, as was hip hop artist Fred the Godson. Mama Jones was also in attendance; she mentioned to Mob Wife Ramona Rizzo that her son, rapper Jim Jones, knew she was there and may stop by.
“I had to tell her that they might not let her son in and there might be a problem at the door,” Rizzo said. “How do I tell someone their son might not be allowed at my party? How do I tell my close personal friends that they may have issues getting in?! How are you going to agree that I can have a party here, then dictate my guest list?!”
“As soon as I heard that, I wanted to pull out,” Karen Gravano said. “I have a record label; you’re going to tell me my artist can’t come to my party?”
“I manage an R&B group called Final Draft that has a Billboard Top 10 hit right now,” Ramona added. “You’re going to tell me my boys can’t come in here either? Come on. This is ridiculous!”
As the evening went on, Gravano and Rizzo began to suspect racism and stereotyping on behalf of the venue. Gravano’s boyfriend—who is not a rapper—was denied entry at first. She had to leave her guests and go to the door, where she was overhead telling the doorman, “You better f***ing let my guests in and I don’t give a f*** about your dress code; this is fucking bowling alley and they have on jeans. That IS appropriate attire to bowl, you racist assholes. Don’t let me come back downstairs again because I’ll take my party elsewhere!”
“I was serious and I meant every word of that,” Gravano told me in an interview. “I wish I could have moved the party. I refuse to patronize a business like that.”
Many other guests had issues getting in; issues that the venue blamed on dress code. All of these guests were Hispanic or black; all were dressed in trendy but appropriate attire.
“It’s a bowling alley; you want people to come bowling in a tux?!” Karen Gravano said in disbelief. “We were never made aware of any certain dress code for our guests. It wasn’t about dress code at all,” Gravano stated. “It was totally that they didn’t want anyone affiliated with an urban crowd there, because there were people who weren’t part of our party that were bowling in jeans and hats—white people. And by “urban crowd,” I mean minorities…Latinos or blacks. I have a biracial daughter and I have a big problem with this. If we would have known ahead of time, we would have taken our party elsewhere—believe me.”
Frayda Resnick made similar comments to members of the press that support Gravano’s line of thinking, asking that the venue “absolutely not be mentioned” on any other hip hop culture websites because this was not their “target demographic.”
When asked why she banned rappers and “Love & Hip Hop” cast members, Resnick stated she “didn’t want to take the chance” and then cited the infamous Chris Brown and Drake fight that took place at W.i.P. She also mentioned that before she was employed by the venue, that “Love and Hip Hop” cast members were reportedly rude to the staff, so she believes, but could offer no other reason as to why she didn’t want rappers or people affiliated with L&HH attending.
This claim holds no weight with the Mob Wives.
“’L&HH’ is on the same network as ours. My friends are on that show and Rashida and Lore’l have both made appearances on my show. To deny them entry is beyond me. Angela Yee of “The Breakfast Club” (who is also Lore’l’s manager) is hosting her birthday party at this same place tomorrow; her whole demographic is hip hop. What are they going to tell her?” Rizzo wondered. “I don’t do that stereotyping bullshit. My children are half Arabic and ever since 9/11, they’ve been stereotyped. It’s ugly, it’s hurtful, it’s ignorant, and it’s disgusting. This is 2013. I can’t believe that a business would be so blatant in their disregard for people,” stated Rizzo.
“Exactly,” said Gravano. “I’m extremely disappointed in what happened. I’ve dealt with racism and stereotyping before on the show; some of the other girls saying ‘Oh, she’s not really a mob wife; her daughter is half black!’ Why does it matter? I find it disgusting and never did I think I would see something like this happen, especially from a business, and especially at my party. I don’t stereotype people. I date outside my race. I don’t look at a person for color or for occupation; I look at whether I like them or not. We have a unique mixture of friends. Anything goes with us!”
“My phone book is like the United Nations. Let people be people!” Rizzo urged.
“I don’t know what they expected,” said Gravano. “Maybe a ‘Jersey Shore’ type Guido crowd. But that’s not us, and I don’t appreciate the blatant discrimination and stereotyping of my guests,” she continued. “We’re ‘Mob Wives,’ not housewives,” Gravano added. “It should be us they’re worried about. I’ve been kicked out of places before because of my behavior, and I’ll say I deserved that—like the time Drita and I got into a fight at some rooftop venue during Season 1. But never did the venue stereotype and deny entrance to all the ‘Mob Wives’ or all Italians based on my behavior.”
“Has she [Resnick] not watched our show?” Rizzo asked. “Maybe we don’t throw bottles, but there’s been times we’ve gotten into it and we were throwing dishes! How do they allow people like us in, then?!”