The night embraces the hustling streets of Brooklyn as its inhabitants go back home and take off their daily veils. In a cosmopolitan landscape crowded by multiple identities and an overwhelming indifference, Mohammed Fayaz, Adam Rhodes, Oscar Núñez and Cristobal Guerra, rush into their sisters’ wardrobes for the last accessories to complete their outfits. And here, the night begins.
The members of Papi Juice unlock the gate to celebrating QTPOC: a space where their voices are articulated and their spirits brought into communal love. These four are committed to bridging the gap between anonymity and QTPOC identities, a mission that’s attained by keeping up with the nightlife legacy of this community, exposing their true selves on the dance floor.
Whats your conception of “Modern Family”? Would you say your organisation is a Modern Family according to your own definition?
“Family” has been a word queer and trans people of colour have understood for years so we don’t feel like we are doing anything new, but rather continuing the legacies of our immediate ancestors. We see these blueprints as the communal love & celebration of the Harlem ball houses, claiming space like the girls on the Piers or even the nightlife legacy of the Clit Club. Papi Juice is a modern family in the sense that it’s a labour of love and dedication—but not obligation.
What’s the state of mind that binds you together?
The space that’s realized at our events is a space that we ourselves still crave and need as queer folks in this city. To know that there is a real need that we are addressing often fills in the gaps, doubts, and stressors that come with organizing, as our mission starts to feel larger than any individual one of us.
What are the ups and downs of operating as a collective?
It can be challenging to rally four folks to do anything—that’s four schedules, four mindsets, four aesthetics, four sparks that are always shooting off. That being said, all of our production costs are also divided by four, and we’re able to delegate and pass the ball when some tasks are better for one versus the other.
How do you achieve singularity within a collective?
Lots and lots of dialogue and conversation! It takes a lot of work. Usually we achieve it by spending a full night together including dinner and a couple bottles of wine. We have to be on the same page before we can write the book together.
Do you have any ritual before and/or after hosting a party?
We love to get dressed together when we can. There’s nothing like a last minute addition to an outfit from your sister’s closet that can really make a look. A come-down moment or drink with the crew, bar staff, and security after hours is also a must.
As a collective, what would you never do? And why?
Compromise our mission or do something that feels disingenuous to our community—all the coin and fame isn’t worth a drop if our spaces stop catering to our peoples.
Who would you like to inspire with your work?
Any QTPOC that’s ever dreamed of belonging through their weirdness and love of music.