CNN's Roland Martin had a fabulous seat at a front table for Thursday night's Howard Theatre Grand Opening Gala and Benefit Concert. But that made him prime for the picking when comedian Wanda Sykes came on stage.
"Roland Martin how you doing baby? You upset the gays real bad, didn't you?" Sykes said when she spotted Martin. "You should have called me, you know I know people, I could have gotten you back in good graces brother — next time." Sykes was referring to Martin's recent suspension from the cable news network after tweets he made during the Super Bowl were perceived as being homophobic.
"You wear those ascots so you can get...'hey, come on gays, I'm wearing an ascot, I'm on your side, I'm a cool brother, look at this, I'm flashy,'" Sykes continued. "Next time talk to me or, better yet, don't say s--- no more," she concluded.
The Howard Theatre in D.C.'s Shaw neighborhood, reopened this week after a $29 million renovation. Thursday's event brought in the big names. While Sykes eschewed the purple carpet, man of the night Berry Gordy, along with Smokey Robinson and Dionne Warwick all walked it, along with relatives of music greats Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross.
Bill Cosby played a role, shuffling on stage as the sometimes-emcee. "What happened to your hair, boy?" he asked one musician, who was sporting a teased mohawk.
Warwick, who was introducing a tribute to the women of jazz, created a memorable moment when she fought briefly with her teleprompter. "This is terrible, what have you got me saying?" she laughed, after instructing several times the machine's operator to scroll back.
Besides a huge pack of musicians we also spotted Mayor Vincent Gray, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Councilmember Marion Barry with girlfriend Sandy Bellamy, former "America's Next Top Model" contestant Bianca Chardei and former "D.C. Housewife" Stacie Scott Turner with gal pal Erika Martin Hughes.