Outside at the Holy Trinity party, there’s a line that’s curling around the corner. If you’re trying to get down with this monthly fête, get there at 10:30 p.m.; if you’re pushing it, 10:45. The bouncer, Derek (Just Derek— He wouldn’t tell me his last name because he doesn’t want anyone adding him on Facebook thinking he’ll get them in on the sneak tip), who works most nights at the Dolphin, says Holy Trinity and Drake Night (So Far Gone) are the two most popular parties for the tavern: “Those are the nights we hit capacity every time.”

Who is the Holy Trinity? Beyonce, Nicki, Rihanna. That’s all they play. Oh, no, don’t worry, Destiny’s Child is of course allowed. Songs where these artists were featured are included too. Remixes bring an air of the unexpected; some of them, originally produced by the party’s creator DJ Dame Luz. But this isn’t a party where one can expect to hear someone just because they’re Beyonce-adjacent. It’s all about the reigning queens.

From an early party promo.
From an early party promo.

When I first heard about it, I flipped. I sent my best friend a text giving him little choice about going. I was expecting a night of black hags and black gay men paying homage and showing out. But I was just reading my friend group into the description— the Trinity is universal. That first time I went, it was a femme queer party, with a noticeable amount of people of color, but the dance floor was still dominated by arty white women with predilections to flannel and Bettie Page bangs. This Saturday, it had the diversity of a competitive college. There were hipsters; there were queer people; there were bros and the women that love them. One man told me he’s been following Dame Luz’s events for a minute; another couldn’t remember which girlfriend of which friend found out about it and dragged the whole pack there, but he seemed to be having a ball.

Dame Luz was expecting the party to stay more LGBT, but hey. “I don’t really care who comes to the party,” she says, “as long they’re respectful.”

The party is young; it’s only been going on since October. “I had this other queer dance party at the Dolphin, on one monthly Thursday,” Dame Luz begins. “I just explored different decades with the focus of black music. I went through the ’60s, ’70s disco, ’80s, ’90s, and then I’m running out of things… And I was like, ‘Let me just do what’s now.’ And it turned out to be the most popping [edition] ever. The bar was like, ‘That was a great night, you should do this more.’ And I was like, ‘Bet,’” she says. From there, she started Holy Trinity so that the Beyonce-Nicki-Rihanna party could be its own thing. “I just feel like they’re such a force, those three artists. They sell records, and they’re very commercial, but people don’t realize how powerful it is for three black women to be the top of the music charts.”

The music is as fun as it sounds— “Bills, Bills, Bills,” “Chiraq,” “Woo,”— they go through the catalogs. Dame Luz divides deejay duties with Wassup Gina, who plays more hits while Dame Luz plays more remixes.

“In the beginning, people just wanted to hear the straight up radio cuts, and that’s not the type of deejay that I am,” says Dame Luz. “I don’t know why people would pay $5 to go an event and play what’s on their Spotify.”

Dame Luz and Wassup Gina, the party’s deejays.
Dame Luz and Wassup Gina, the party’s deejays.

“I like of a lot Caribbean rhythms, that’s where I’m from,” continues Dame Luz, who is Dominican and grew up in the South Bronx. “I like mixing very popular culture with those rhythms.”

That Rihanna and Nicki are Barbadian and Trinidadian respectively makes it a natural fit. “I played all Dominican dembow remixes last night, and I was just looking at the crowd, bros and their girlfriends, like what’s going to happen,” she says with a laugh. The response wasn’t what it was with the singles, but they seemed too busy having a good time. Flipping it with a different beat and waiting for people to still catch it? Dame Luz loves that: “Yeah, you know the words.”

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/244299507″ type=”visual” autoplay=”0″]

We asked Dame Luz to pick her fave album from each member of the Trinity.

Favorite Beyonce album? Beyonce

I’m a very visual person, and she got me with all the aesthetics. Just waking up and there being a whole album with a video to every song?

I feel like she was exploring different themes, not like we’d seen before. Like my favorite song on the album is actually “Haunted,” because it’s very house-y and that’s something I hadn’t really heard from her.

Favorite Rihanna album? ANTI

I pressed play on the first song, and I didn’t really have to skip a song. It flowed so well.

Favorite Nicki album? …

The funny thing is I went to high school with Nicki, same graduating class and everything. I liked her mixtapes. I just liked her when she was raw, and you know, a Queens girl. Her commercial hits are not my favorite, but I feel like there’s something more in store.

Cassie Owens is a reporter/curator for BillyPenn.com. She was assistant editor at Next City and has contributed to Philadelphia City Paper, Metro, the Jewish Daily Forward, The Islamic Monthly and Spoke,...