Music can be a great tool to unite cultures and cross sections of communities – and local event organizer Salem Acuña is hoping to create a kind of cross-culture celebration with a new series of parties focused on RVA’s Latin@ LGBTQ folks.
Called Fuego, the 18+ monthly party series plans on incorporating Latin music and dance into Godfrey’s Saturday nights. Acuña and his fellow organizers got the idea after attending similar events.
“I kept saying to [my friends] that we should start a Latin night at one of the gay bars,” said Acuña. ”After a whole lot of just talking about it, my friend Andy was finally like “so when is it gonna happen?!” and I guess that was the final push (or sass) I needed to reach out to Godfrey’s to try to see what was possible.”
Inspired by Maracuyeah, a Latin@-focused dance collective based in DC, Fuego will play different Latin music with “an emphasis on creating a space for LGBTQ Latin@ folks to feel comfortable being ourselves in our queerness and our Latinidad.”
The stand out part of the Fuego party for Acuña is the music.
“The whole idea behind Fuego is for Latin@ LGBTQ people to be able to enjoy Latin music from Raggaeton to Bachata to Salsa to Cumbia in a space that feels like it is ours,” he said, stressing a lot of the music people will hear aims to remind them of the tunes Latin@ people grew up with, which is often outside the mainstream, predominantly English pop music Richmonders are more familiar with.
This Saturday will be the second time Fuego has gone down, and Acuña said the crowd was not only huge, it also featured a lot of Latin@ folks.
“That [felt] new and exciting in terms of LGBTQ spaces in RVA,” he said.
While Fuego does aim to attract Latin@s from around RVA, non-latin@s are of course welcome to the event. But expect a line, Acuña said it didn’t take long for a wait to build up during their first event and they don’t expect any less this time around.
Future Fuego dates include October 24th, November 21st, and December 19th, so if you miss your chance this weekend keep an eye open in the coming months – there’s plenty of Raggaeton beats to go around.
Acuña said the core of the party’s success has also been friends and fellow organizers – Janet, John, Andy, Giancarlo, Jairo and many others – but it can’t happen unless you come out and celebrate too!
Its $5 at the door and opens at 10 PM at Godfrey’s, 308 E Grace St.
“This is really an effort of a lot of people” he said. “My hope is that it only becomes more and more collective in terms of people taking lead and running with it.”