This difficulty is heightened by the fact that white people in power utilize performers and operators they trust, often within their own (white) circles. "My main concern is the presence of straight white males who often fill entire line-ups with little to no POC, queer, or female artists," says local event creator and DJ Cid Ikarus. "It's unjust because so much of our music, especially house, was developed by these [types of] individuals."
"The black weirdos travel an hour and a half to get to these parties and feel like they're not really welcome."—Chicago DJ and producer Jared Brown
Black's popular 1LLUM1NAUGHT¥ events, for example, were a safe space for queer people of color in the city and offered patrons diverse, homegrown music."Chicago is very culture-rich. There's this intrinsic connection with music, especially homegrown [genres] like juke and house, whether it's a queer party or a straight party," she says. The party, which ran once a month from early 2014 to late 2016 at Progress Bar, was one of the only dedicated nights for queer people of color in the Boystown neighborhood at the time. Other events Black and the Lesbifriends Cartel organized took place in venues outside of the Northside, such as The Shrine in the South Loop, Simone's and The Promontory, among others.
"I think we forget in Chicago that we can manipulate the system. It just takes more work."—local event producer Vincent Martell