All photos courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool
GHE20G0TH1K was one of the most revered parties in New York. It began as a night for the notoriously no-bullshit, Dominican-bred nightlife queen Venus X to experiment with mixing music genres (and people) under her fledgling DJ sets. The night carried an experimental atmosphere from the beginning, pulling from the spectrum of experiences she and her friends had growing up as queer minorities in New York City.
Those spaces were usually raw and drippy, and you never knew who or what you'd see. You'd spot M.I.A. shaking in a corner next to a group of Bushwick kids who looked like models from the future all done up with bizarre braids and intricate piercings. Possibly not since Paradise Garage was there a more diverse crowd at a party in New York City. And, not unlike the Garage, the basement was full of new-level fashion, serving as the launchpad for many young designers, including Venus' childhood friend Shayne Oliver and his burgeoning brand Hood By Air.
Both Venus and Shayne have seen exponential success in their ventures. Hood By Air's high-fashion streetwear has been recognized by fashion industry stalwarts LVMH and the CFDA. GHE20G0TH1K became so popular within those in-the-know that Rihanna eventually co-opted the term and began branding herself as #ghettogoth. After a very public showdown on Twitter, Venus X made the executive decision to retire the GHE20G0TH1K party in May 2014, focusing instead on a thriving DJ career.
This past Saturday, Venus X resurrected her legendary party one last time. Only this time, instead of a rank basement, GHE20G0TH1Koccupied Brooklyn Night Bazaar, a climate controlled hipster marketplace permeated with a family friendly buttery pretzel scent that's kind of like IRL Etsy by day.
After an opening set by HITMAKERCHINX, headliner Total Freedom set the tone for the rest of the night by mixing Marilyn Mosby's remarks announcing legal proceedings against Baltimore police officers in regard to the illegal arrest of Freddie Gray. GHE20G0TH1K is a political act. The following set by Venus and MA NGUZU (one half of NGUZUNGUZU) was totally stunning. But the crowning event of the night was the NYC debut of Sissy Nobby, bounce legend and total goddess. She presided over her court like the sassy queen she is and urged us to shake our asses lest we forget we're sexy.
Though so much of the party was different, including the extensive sponsorship by Redbull, what remained the same was the safe, mind blowing feeling of being at home with your ferocious family. Venus, Shayne and many other people involved in GHE20G0TH1K have invented a new standard for queerness inside their own definition of cool—a paradigm in which un-gendered, non-racial persons can exist. This was a space where Venus and her friends could exist outside of the boundaries imposed by class, color, creed or subculture. The return of GHE20G0TH1K was a reminder that this party was never just about having a good time—it was inherently a socio-political act of resistance, too.