Reverend Dollars, aka Renee Jarreau Greene, started Darqness to fill a void in Seattle’s queer dance-party landscape. The seed idea, she says, was to give queer and trans people of color (QTPOC) a place to call home within the scene. “Queer people of color have always had to create our own spaces,” she says, “because the straight world isn’t comfortable for us; neither is the white gay world.”
It worked—Greene hosted the first Darqness party in August 2014, and has since become a fixture in Seattle’s queer dance scene through the community’s warm embrace. “Once I started Darqness,” she says, “that’s when things started taking off for me as a DJ.”
The party’s vibe: dark, heavy, and experimental. “We definitely like the atmosphere to live up to the name,” Greene says. In that vein, she emphasizes the importance of showcasing the “blackness” of electronic music at Darqness. From disco to house to EDM, queer people of color have always been at the forefront, because “we fucking have to be,” she says. “We have to make music that not only speaks to our community, but stays a step ahead of everyone else.” Greene is continuing that lineage herself as well, currently working on a Reverend Dollars album that’s due out in late 2017.
But she credits much of the party’s success to the full collaborative efforts of the collective behind it, Darqness Seattle. Jade Dynasty, who was an organizer for “En Vogue,” a monthly ball competition, came onto the team this past spring; Greene says “she is like a little sister to me.” Howin Wong joined in the summer of 2015 and DJ’d at the Darqness New Year’s Eve house party in the Central District, along with Calente Cardwell, aka Nome Goldie, who now helps Greene with booking. RC Brown, aka General Meow, founded Soul-Fi, a monthly queer dance party at Rebar. Soul-Fi and Darqness collaborated on “The Darqside of Pride” in June, which Greene described as “humongous and amazing. We reached a new level there.”
This Friday marks the first Darqness party since August. Attendees can expect DJ’s spinning a blend of heavy electronic, vogue beats, hip-hop, and appearances from LSDXOXO, a rising star in New York’s Ballroom scene, and Riff-Raff, founder of fellow Seattle queer dance party Night Crush. All of that—and a few surprises.
Darqness Seattle’s goal is making their party “a safer space” for the QTPOC community, and Greene wants you to know when you’re here, “You’re around family.”
Cis, white, and straight folks are welcome to come hang—as long as they can hang with queer people of color without replicating oppression. Although, Greene says, “policing people’s identities is above my pay rate.” Advice to non-QTPOC: Check yourself, or be checked! Darqness, Hillman City Collaboratory, 5623 Rainier Ave. S., darqseattle.bpt.me. $5 before 10 p.m., $10 after. 21 and over. 9 p.m. Fri., Nov. 4.