- The Washington Times - Monday, April 29, 2002

RICHMOND (AP) The rules posted at the nightclub's entrance were unequivocal: "No profanity, no smoking, no weapons, no drugs, no alcohol, no provocative behavior. Respect God!"
The stated mission: "To establish a clean and safe social environment that will provide ministry through entertainment for Christians."
The building previously housed a traditional urban nightclub that sometimes caused headaches for police when people spilled into the street.
"The perfect alternative," said Alicia Langley, 19, one of 500 young people who flocked to the opening Friday night of Praize City, a Christian nightclub in downtown Richmond.
The dance floor was packed as DJ Dawiyd pumped up the latest urban gospel tracks amid flashing lights and gut-rumbling bass. A kitchen sold food and nonalcoholic drinks served in champagne glasses.
On the second floor, a revival was on the big-screen TV, half-watched by chatting patrons sitting shoulder to shoulder on plush leather sofas.
On the third floor, patrons sampled live music played by Christian musicians.
"The third floor is my favorite," said Jovan Hackley, a mass communications major at Virginia Commonwealth University. "I love it."
All this for a $7 entry fee.
Praize City, created by the Rev. Jerome Brandon and partner Nicole Lee, will be open Friday nights from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m.
"There was nowhere for us to have fellowship and fun," Mr. Lee said.
"We knew it was a place that was very needed," said Mr. Brandon, pastor of the Lord's Church.
"It's good for us to have something to do without going to a club with alcohol and smoking and all that stuff," said patron Deon Patton, a psychology major at VCU "I try to stay away from [those kinds of] clubs. I know the influence it puts on you if you're trying to live right, to do the right thing."
At 2 a.m. on Saturday, visitors from Praize City hit the streets smiling, sober and chatting happily about their new nightspot.
"It was a blessed experience," DJ Dawiyd said. "We've never had anything like this before. It's great to have a place for people who love the Lord to come and [share] fellowship in the name of Jesus."

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