Bunch Of Fives: Bend & Shake | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Bend & Shake is a multi-genre Queer party run by women and non-binary people of the Global Majority. It was started to provide safer spaces for Global Majority people and those who are marginalised in multiple ways. As marginalised people, they understand the need for a safer space for everyone, especially for women, trans people, QIPOC, asylum seekers, and those with disabilities.

Bend & Shake is intended as an alternative to the Newcastle scene, which they feel misses out on representing marginalised communities, and they aim to provide music that doesn’t just stick to the idea of what ‘Queer culture’ is.

Their next event takes place on Saturday 11th November at World Headquarters. Founder of Bend & Shake, DJ Awkward Black Girl, tells us about her top 5 tracks by Global Majority Queer people.


Janelle Monae – Lipstick Lover
As I’ve said in a previous NARC. mag feature, Janelle is a Queer, non-binary icon. Her openness as a Queer Black person who breaks the norms of gender is something I have admired for a long time. Lipstick Lover is an effortless sexy homage to Queer love, and the video is iconic.

Sylvester – You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
You can’t get much more of a recognisable disco song than this. When I was a teenager, I used to go to a disco music club night called Carwash, and this song brings lush memories of me and my friends dancing to disco for hours on end. Sylvester’s voice, combined with the catchy tune, is etched in my memory. It’s a classic disco track that will never age.

Frank Ocean – Thinkin’ About You
This song brings up some powerful emotions whenever I hear it, and it reminds me of my first Queer relationship in my teens. It is a song that sounds so simple but means and says so much. The album this came from (Channel Orange) is a masterpiece, and this song came when I was at a crossroads in a long relationship. It is one of the rare few songs I will listen to multiple times in a row, and I get chills every time.

Rina Sawayama – The Hell
The fusion of pop, country, and rock on this song is EVERYTHING, and its message that “This hell is better with you” makes my Queer heart happy. In her words [about the song], “I kinda really wanted to turn it on its head, this narrative and this trauma that a lot of people have about being shunned and being wrong and told that you’re wrong from traditional religious-based belief… Just to poke fun at it a bit, and that’s how a lot of Queers, I think, deal with trauma. It’s hard, but then you just go challenged accepted.”
Rita also used her set at Glastonbury to call out Matty Healy, stating, “Tonight, this goes out to a white man that watches ‘Ghetto Gaggers’ and mocks Asian people on a podcast. He also owns my masters. I’ve had enough!” before playing another great song of hers, STFU. For this, she went up further in my estimations, and her message is in the ethos of why I started Bend.

Honey Dijon featuring Ramona Renae – Love Is A State Of Mind
Honey Dijon is one of the best DJs and producers around, and her production of this song is catchy as well! The message of this song is uplifting, and it’s a great track to fill a dancefloor. It has such a Chicago house vibe (for obvious reasons), and her 2022 album, Black Girl Magic, is incredible. I struggled to choose between this song and In The Club.

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