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Photography: Jeremiah Fernandes, Courtesy of Queer Bruk

Crack Magazine is marking Pride season with a series of specialist mixes and playlists dedicated to LGBTQ+ club nights and promoters. From the iconic parties of bygone eras through to the emerging events breaking through in 2022, we’ll be highlighting the sounds of these parties and the artists that shape them.

London is often praised for its rich cultural heritage, and the distinct stories and experiences indebted to each of its boroughs. When it comes to nightlife, revellers flock to the capital to experience just some of its fabled (and enduring) clubs and venues. This is a city where club culture is vibrant but in a constant state of flux, as new venues open – on occasion, at least – and older spaces shut their doors for good.

The sounds of the city continue to shapeshift as well, with each new generation shaking things up much like an excited child yielding a lava lamp (kind of, anyway). This is exactly what Akeil Onwukwe-Adamson struck out to do when he launched Queer Bruk back in 2018.

The party – which dubs itself “London’s duttiest queer POC night” – was a response to his own experiences as a punter heading out to existing nights in the city. He struggled to find a space that evoked a sense of belonging within him. He also yearned to hear the sounds that shaped his childhood – styles like dancehall, soca and Afrobeats – played out in a safe and inclusive space catered to queer people of colour. So, he decided to launch an event of his own.

Queer Bruk has since grown into a platform and collective headed up by Onwukwe-Adamson. It has ventured to festivals and other culture spaces, including the Tate Modern, bringing with it a rambunctious selection of Afro-Caribbean rhythms and altogether good vibes – think Pride meets Notting Hill Carnival. That’s not forgetting DJs such as Jordss, Donnie Sunshine and Tayo Iku.

Afro-Caribbean rhythms and altogether good vibes can also be found in our latest Specialist Mix – issued as part of our ongoing Pride series, and created by Queer Bruk mainstay Donnie Sunshine. Tune into the mix – which is also shared just in time for your Carnival antics this weekend – below, and scroll down to read an interview with Onwukwe-Adamson.

Queer Bruk is…
A movement, platform, collective and club night that aims to bring Afro-Caribbean music to the queer nightlife scene.

When did it launch?
We launched in June 2018 with a tiny event that had around 100 people. It was small, but we could see that we had done something special. We were excited for the future.

What genres are you best known for?
Dancehall, Afrobeats, soca and more. Anything that was part of our lives growing up, essentially; music my mum used to play in the kitchen while we cleaned.

Did you have any event experience before Queer Bruk?
I worked in PR for around two years before I started Queer Bruk, but delving into this specific space was all new to me. I’m lucky I had a lot of friends and connections within this world who helped me.

What experiences had you faced at other London club nights prior to starting the party, and do you feel they shaped your vision at all?
I would often go to dancehall nights and feel uncomfortable; I’d see visibly queer men being attacked or made to feel like they didn’t belong. But also, I would go to queer nights [where it] felt weirdly uncomfortable to be a person of colour, so I started my own thing!

What does it mean to be an LGBTQ+ event programming the genres that you do? Have you stumbled across any barriers thus far?
There’s been some homophobia from men who have walked in and not realised that we are a queer event. But we usually have a lot of fun.

How would you describe Queer Bruk in three words?
Inclusive, exciting and powerful.

Can you tell us more about the first party you hosted?
It was amazing: tiny, hot and filled with happy Black people who danced the night away. I had bright pink hair and I will never forget it.

What was the reception like?
Incredible! We had so many people give us love and tell us they loved what we were doing.

Do you see Queer Bruk at Notting Hill Carnival in the future?
It’s a dream of mine and I would love to bring more queerness to Carnival. However, we would have to be conscious of making sure it is 100 percent safe – it still isn’t for some queer people, especially those who are gender non-conforming.

What’s next for Queer Bruk?
We have lots of stuff coming up: more events, more partnerships, and we are planning to go the US soon, too. Ultimately, we want to bring more joy and happiness to the world through Black culture.

Follow Queer Bruk on Instagram to keep up with upcoming events