NEW YORK — It didn't look like anybody wanted to go home as sunrise started to approach the morning after the VMAs. With the show taking place on a Thursday, partygoers who had quickly grown accustomed to two Sunday night VMAs in Miami — and the seven full days of pre-show festivities that went along with the weekend extravaganza — looked like they were trying to make up for lost time Friday (September 1).
There were so many parties lined up Thursday night, you needed a looseleaf binder with a full itinerary just to keep up. Justin Timberlake had Roseland jam-packed for a special late-night concert where he brought out T.I., Three 6 Mafia and Timbaland to perform. (Check out photos of Justin's post-VMA performance right here.) Meanwhile, Gnarls Barkley hit the stage just a few blocks away at the Blender magazine bash at Tao. Queens twosome 50 Cent and LL Cool J played host, and if you didn't get there before midnight, you were not getting in. The police shut the block down. Seriously. They weren't letting people on the block — except Tommy Hilfiger, who casually strolled in with a huge entourage. The police only let a few members of Tommy's crew in, and Hilfiger had no problem leaving the rest at the door.
At the 40/40 Club, where Beyoncé was having a 25th birthday party, getting in was equally hectic. Steel barricades held people back, and those who felt they had the juice to get in without waiting in line tried to walk to the door, but were blocked by police officers and bodyguards who yelled so loud, they made the late, great Sam Kinison sound sheepish.
"Get back, get back, get back," a cop began to shout before picking one barricade up with his bare hands in an attempt to push people back. So much for officer/civilian relations. The authorities even made Andre 3000 — who was with director Bryan Barber and John Legend — wait for several minutes.
Tyrese didn't mind waiting to get in. He seemed to enjoy it, or was at least going to capitalize on the situation. He personally handed out copies of his new mixtape Ghetto Royalty Volume 1 which features him rapping — instead of singing — under the name Black Ty.
Once you got from the steel gates to the golden gates — er, the 40/40 door — it was all gravy, no hassle getting in. And you could see people including the Clipse, Kimora Lee Simmons and Chamillionaire moving through the crowd. To get upstairs, you had to walk past people dancing on the 40/40 staircase while songs like Jim Jones' "We Fly High" played. Upstairs in the huge ESPN room, it wasn't ESPN on the screen like Jay-Z raps in "Dirt Off Your Shoulder," it was the VMAs.
Former Bad Boy crooner Carl Thomas had a chance to meet current Bad Boy artists Danity Kane, and over in a corner, legendary music retailer George Daniels (you'll recognize the man everyone in the industry calls Uncle George from R. Kelly's "Step in the Name of Love" and "Happy People" videos) was Chi-Town stepping with his good friend Loon to the sounds of Stevie Wonder's "Do I Do." Sounds like Bad Boy was in full effect, huh?
Downstairs, it was nothing but Beyoncé highlights on the screens that hang from walls and the ceiling, a montage of magazine covers, various televised performances and videos.
There was also another VIP room on the lower level, THE VIP room where it felt like another awards show was about to start, there were so many stars.
The aforementioned Andre 3000 and John Legend mingled with the likes of NBA star Kenyon Martin, Nicole Richie, Fabolous, Brand Nubian's Lord Jamar, Kelly Rowland, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Slim Thug, L.A. Reid and of course the Knowles family: Mathew, Solange and mama Tina.
There wasn't much energetic dancing, mostly shoulder rubbing, but Ne-Yo and Rihanna sat on top of the bar singing along to Ne-Yo's "Sexy Love." There was also a cute little moment when Stevie Wonder's "Happy Birthday" came on: You could see a extra-wide grin on B's face. She didn't get a cake though.
Although it was a little too crowded for Vin Diesel to get over and say "What's up" to Beyoncé, he paid his respects to the Jiggaman, who stayed close to B for most of the night, rocking to songs like Evelyn "Champagne" King's "Encore." Speaking of B, the Queen Bee was also in the place — not Lil' Kim, but a gorgeous woman dressed in a bee outfit (bee day, get it?) lying between two see-through hives with live bees.
Lil' Kim was holding it down at her own shindig over at Nikki Beach Midtown. Talk about live, you know you're having the time of your life when it's 3:30 in the morning, you know good and well you have to be to work in a few hours and you don't care because the DJ just threw Young Dro on and you have to do the "Shoulder Lean."
Working folks and celebrities alike were dancing at Kim's joint. Ludacris, Missy Elliott, Fantasia and Snoop Dogg were all in the house. And even when most of her celeb friends had bolted the club around 3:45 a.m., Kim was still dancing and enjoying life. A long table that looks like a runway almost bridged the gap between a main VIP area and the door, and Kim danced nearly all the way down it while the DJ played Daddy Yankee's "Gasolina." She was stopped when she saw Marlon Wayans, who came in with brother Shawn. Kim bent down to give him a hug and talk for a few minutes before she got down and started walking outside.
Nearly all of the 100 stragglers holding onto that last piece of partying followed behind Kim as if she were leading them to the Promised Land. All she needed was a Pied Piper flute. Boxing champ Zab Judah, Remy Ma and Floetry's Marsha Ambrosius were in Kim's entourage.
Diddy threw a late "secret" party that was supposed to start at 3 a.m. at the Door, but by 3:02, a boatload of people including Jae Millz, Kenyon Martin and the Wayans were told there was no way there were getting in — the tiny club was filled to capacity. Make that capacity minus two, because Yung Joc and a friend stepped out a little early to head straight to the airport. Joc had to catch a 6 a.m. flight. Earlier in the evening, Joc hit Warner Bros. Records' huge party at Buddakan, mingling with the likes of T.I.
At Marquee, Virgin Records held their own party. A highlight of that event was a performance by Fat Joe, who just signed with the label and was welcomed with open arms. Even label president Jermaine Dupri was enjoying himself. There was no Janet Jackson in sight, but JD, Bow Wow and singer/songwriter Johnta Austin danced on couches to her new single "So Excited" as well as JT's "SexyBack," which was undoubtedly the most popular party record during VMA week.
Reverend Run's daughters, former "Trading Spaces" host Paige Davis, Korn and 30 Seconds to Mars also came out, and the guys of Mars were presented with a cake for going gold.
Hopefully somebody saved a piece for Beyoncé.
For everything we've got on the 2006 VMAs, vma.mtv.com.