Almost two years ago, a group of four friends got together with a mission to create memorable experiences for queer people of color. T. Jonae Davis, Kyrisha Deschamps, Lisa Gomes, and Lee Levingston Perine make up the Cocoa Couch Collective.
With their mission in mind, the group created Honey Groove, a queer music festival that celebrates the talent of performing and visual artists who are queer people of color. The festival offers a new experience for music and art enthusiasts. Last year’s inaugural event brought out 600 attendees and this year the organizers expect to sell out.
“This year we are taking it to the next level and are excited for our guests to experience Honey Groove. It’s going to be amazing!” says Deschamps.
The Blind Whino in Washington, D.C. will play host to a full line-up of bands, visual artists, DJs, and more. Reesa Renee, The Coolots, Be Steadwell, and J Pope and Funk Friday are just a few of the performers hitting the main stage. The first floor will offer body painting by Sekayi Fernandes and live painting from three local artists. The event also offers guests the opportunity to dance and have fun with DJ MIM, DJ Rosie, and DJ Tezrah, just to name a few.
“Blind Whino is one of the most unique venues in D.C. and is a perfect fit for the festival. It’s a work of art in itself and the layout allows us to have DJs, vendors, and live artists on the first floor and live performances upstairs on the main stage,” explains Deschamps. “There is also a courtyard where we will have food trucks and space for folks to enjoy the spring weather.”
In addition to live performances and dancing, a $50 ticket also includes over ten vendors, four food trucks, and a complimentary cocktail happy hour (4–5 p.m.) courtesy of Jack Daniels Honey.
The organizers’ ultimate goal is to eventually outgrow the venue and have 1200+ guests starting next year. They hope to receive national recognition, similar to the Afropunk festival. Next year, they will start to incorporate more artists outside of the D.C. area “while still celebrating local artists.”
“The festival is important to us because we are committed to creating space by, for, and about queer communities of color. Plus, we love music, art and people,” says Deschamps. “Honey Groove is a lot of work, but we know the community appreciates our efforts and that’s what motivates us.”
Honey Groove takes place on April 9, 4–11 p.m. at Blind Whino, 700 Delaware Ave. SW, Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.honeygroovedc.com.