RaceSex & Gender

trappy hour is harlem’s black queer phenomenon redefining the meaning of self-care

September 20, 2017
1.9K Picks
By Leon Curry, AFROPUNK Contributor

Harlem has a history of being boldly black but also beautifully queer. The ghosts of Langston, Zora and James, and so many other great writers, artist and performers still lovingly bless and usher in new generations of black queer talent.

But still when you think of black queer spaces, you don’t traditionally think Harlem, and when black queer people are looking for places to socialize and party they don’t think Harlem either. Until Thursday nights happen.

Photo: Timothy Lee Styles

Hosted by me weekly at Harlem Nights, Trappy Hour is like the black queer CBGB. On any given Thursday, you will see stylists who work with the worlds biggest talent alongside activists fresh off of a protest arrest. You will find lawyers, writers, dancers, designers, porn stars, and your everyday lit brown gay.

We’ve also had the likes of Issa Rae, Kid Fury, Kordale and Kaleb (the gay fathers recently featured in ads for high street fashion company, Acne) along with trans models Leyna Bloom and Laithe Ashley join the fun.

Photo: Leon Curry

Photo: Leon Curry

Unlike your average party, everyone here is all talking to each other. People socialize, make out, meet their future partners, dance, heal and release.

You can leave the burden of code-switching at the door.

Photo: @rosegawd

It’s such a sigh of relief to go into a space and not be demonized or fetishized. To not be called an “urban,” or “hip-hop,” or “R&B” night, but to be called black—proudly. Trappy Hour has changed the nightlife landscape of Harlem.

Photo: @weltheimages

Since it’s inception many other Thursday night events have popped up in Harlem, but Trappy Hour has that certain quality that is hard to find in other places. Even if you’re black and bougie you will find your shoulders bouncing here eventually. (I would have freed a thousand more if they only knew they were hood!)

Photo: Timothy Lee Styles

The fliers touch upon black pop culture and are often hilarious. You might hear “My Neck My Back” followed by Kirk Franklin’s “Stomp” while a bottle of tequila is being poured down your throat.

You may be having a conversation about white supremacy then all of a sudden a Bounce track comes on and you find yourself gyrating your hips with the hopes and the dreams of the slaves.

Photo: Timothy Lee Styles

We host everything from lap dance contest to scholarship fundraisers. It’s a needed space that says come as you are.

Give us your femme, your fat, your fierce, you are loved and wanted.

Photo: @rosegawd

I knew this was something special when we set off a confetti cannon and golden specs fell from the sky onto someone’s face as they were crying to “Cranes In The Sky”. That’s when I knew we needed a place to breathe. To be mad, to be a mess, to cry and an absolute stranger be like, ” I see you, sis!” to even be loud and wrong but safe to the tunes of our black national anthems: “Knuck If You Buck”, “Down For My Niggas”, “Dey Know”, “Before I Let Go” and “Pullover”! Trappy is Family.

Photo: @rosegawd

People joke about being hood and intellectual at the same time or sophistiratchet, But Trappy Hour perfectly captures that. For a few hours on a Thursday in Harlem, you can drink it away, dance it away, cry it away and have a real fucking good time with no stigma, no judgment and no hassle.

Because this space was curated with love for you, and it’s rare that we get a party built with us in mind—where we aren’t an exception night just to get those black gay dollars.

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