Arts + Culture
Photo: @Africanist

Finding Afrobeats In a White City

One writer's quest to find a space that felt like home after moving to Seattle.

I moved to Seattle, Washington right in the middle of the pandemic in December of 2020. The following summer Governor Jay Inslee announced the opening of restaurants and clubs. It was perfect timing for Seattle summer, but the challenge was finding a party or space where I felt at home, with people who looked like me. I wanted to find a place where vibes and community intersected while listening to afrobeats, somewhere I could go to every weekend. After asking around, I was told numerous times to check out The Afrobeats Party.

According to the 2021 US census report, Seattle's population is roughly 733,919 people, and only 7.1% of those people are Black or African American. With these statistics, when you think of Seattle, the first thing that comes to mind is not afrobeats. However, there's been a big movement brewing over the past years in the city, with Ghanaian-born, Seattle-based DJ Nayiram’s party catapulting afrobeats further into its musical consciousness.

The first time I attended The Afrobeats Party I went with some of my girls who had frequently been, but they did not prepare me for what I was about to experience. I didn't expect to stand in a line that wrapped around the block alongside, what seemed like, a sizable portion of the 7.1% of black people that live in Seattle. Once we eventually made our way inside Red Lounge, we were met with over 300 people singing Fireboy DML's “Peru” at the top of their lungs, as a sea of bodies were being taken on a musical journey. I was pleasantly surprised by how much energy there was in the room and the power afrobeats had on everyone moving to every beat.

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