Do’s and Don’ts – CIAA Edition

​By: Ms. Ifetayo Nellons

 For the past ten years, Charlotte, North Carolina has been the home of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (aka. CIAA basketball tournament). The focus of the tournament is to bring in revenue and recognition for its member HBCUs like Johnson C. Smith University, Elizabeth City State University and Virginia Union University. The tournament brings together alumni, fans, and party-goers. Whether you are a newbie to the CIAA tournament week or a veteran, here are some “Do’s and Don’ts” to guarantee a fabulous time.



1.       Attend the actual games. The basketball tournament and the ticket sales directly benefit the colleges and universities. Enjoy the games, see Mr. CIAA, and shop from black owned and supported vendors touting everything from art to clothing to beauty products. #buyblack

2.       Speaking of buying black, support Black-owned venues like Sydney’s, The Tavern and Sports One.

3.       Venture to the Epicentre to satisfy all your eye candy delights and use the light rail to beat the traffic.

4.       Check out the exhibits at the Harvey B. GanttCenter for African-American Arts Center. Black art rocks!

5.       Go to the Convention Center. It is free! There are family events, celebrity sightings, and sponsor giveaways.


1.       Drink too much at a day party. Cocktails in the daytime? Yes. Be sure to pace yourself so you don’t miss the nightlife in the QC.

2.       Wear brand new shoes. Break them in first and still bring a pair of flats for later. Walking barefoot is not cute.

3.       Assume because an artist is on a flyer they will be performing. Read the fine print because no artist can be everywhere at once.

4.       Bring your angry-for-no reason friends. They can meet you at home.

5.       Be too shy to say hello first. Thousands will be in attendance so expand your horizons and make new acquaintances for the weekend.


 The CIAA tournament is the place for the “Grown N’ Sexy” and the “Bad & Boujee.” All it takes is a little preparation and an open mind to have an amazing time.