Johnny Eden Jr., who goes by JJ, recently had a camel at an elaborate send-off before his high school prom in the Swampoodle area of North Philadelphia. The camel, brought in from Ohio, was there with three tons of sand and a Lamborghini, a Rolls Royce, and a Range Rover, among other things. It’s probably safe to say that, this year, JJ’s Friday night prom send-off was the biggest in Philly, if not the world.
The idea, Eden’s mother, Saudia Shuler, told Billy Penn, was all about bringing Dubai to Philadelphia. Why Dubai? Because Shuler had planned to send Eden there as a graduation gift. Instead, she spent months—and $25,000, she said—planning the send-off party, which was a hit on their block and, later, on the internet, perhaps in part because Shuler carefully documented the proceedings on Instagram.
In addition to the camel, Eden had a stylist and three different outfits for the night. He also had three dates, among them his actual girlfriend—“the main event,” Eden told Billy Penn.
Hundreds showed up to help Shuler send her son off to the dance, and this all might just be a prelude to something even bigger: graduation. Shuler, who runs a soul food restaurant, said that she’s been working on it for a long time: “I’ll show you receipts all the way from two years ago.”