R & She is the super hot R&B party that specialises in the sexy sounds of urban female stars. This bank holiday Sunday they are taking over Heaven to celebrate their fabulous 5th birthday. Dave Cross spoke to promoters and resident DJs Neil Prince, David Oh and QBoy about their biggest party to date.
Hi boys, how would you describe R & She?
Neil: R & She is a celebration of all the finest females in hip-hop and R&B from the 90s to present day.
QBoy: The best R&B and hip-hop party in London and Berlin!
David: The most relaxed, inclusive, friendly, sweaty party in London. Celebrating the incredible women of the R&B and hip-hop world.
What are the most popular artists that get played at the club?
David: Our crowd obviously love all the usual suspects. You can never go wrong with Beyonce, Rihanna, Mariah, J-Lo and Missy Elliott etc. Our crowd are clued up though and we like to throw in newer bangers too from people like Stefflon Don and Lady Leshurr and they love it.
Neil: We have a loyal crowd who love all the queens. You’ll hear screams from the floor whenever we drop Lauryn Hill, Brandy, Eve, Kelis and the list goes on.
QBoy: We are dedicated to all the females of hip-hop and R&B, which means as well as the popular club bangers we also like to support new talent like Nadia Rose and play album tracks and not just singles from our favourite artists, such as TLC’s Silly Ho or So Good by Destiny’s Child.
Can you tell us how R&She got started?
Neil: Back in 2012 and earlier than that really, it became apparent that whenever I dropped some old school R&B into the mix, the whole place would lose their shit. There wasn’t an old school R&B night for a gay audience in East London and we needed one. Plus all the gay guys love their divas, so I decided to do a themed night focussing on all the females in hip-hop and R&B. I asked David Oh to do it with me as we’ve been clubbing friends for years, plus we were already DJing together at Songs Of Praise. We reached out to QBoy to join us, being an authority on hip-hop and R&B, and thus R & She was born.
Where is R & She usually based?
Neil: Our current home is East Bloc near Old Street on the first Saturday of the month. Having said that, because our big 5th birthday is the week before our usual slot, we’ll be there a week later than usual on Saturday 13 May.
QBoy: Our Berlin party happens every three months at St Georg in Kreuzberg.
Neil: There are plans for Paris and LA too – watch this space!
On Sunday you are taking over Heaven – how did this come about?
Neil: It was always my dream to do it somewhere big one day. I originally had KOKO in Camden in mind. The opportunity arose to do it at Heaven, as both myself and QBoy already DJ there. QBoy does the R&B room every Friday and I join him there once a month, doing pop on the main floor for all the other Fridays.
Isn’t it a bit daunting?
QBoy: It’s a challenge, but one we are lucky to have the opportunity to take. For many, many years the LGBT lovers of R&B and hip-hop were not even considered or provided for at gay venues and events, then slowly we got the small room at the back of the club, then room two – and now finally we are a main event in the main room of a big ass club. The evolution of R & She is really part of the evolution of music in gay clubs.
Neil: It could be considered daunting but it’s actually really exciting too.
What can we expect on Sunday?
QBoy: As well as all your favourite cuts on the main floor from Neil, David and myself, we also have DJ Misty B playing in the Departure Lounge. Her own alternative take on R & She, supplying female-led bashment, Afrobeats, and reggaeton. We also have a special R & She Karaoke in the Departure Lounge and an opportunity to win prizes with our Miseducation of R & She Quiz.
Neil: We’re also proud to be supporting womensaid.org.uk and Black Lives Matter with 10% of all profits on the night divided equally between the two charities. We’re inviting all attending to give whatever spare change they can in the collection buckets provided.
Ultimate R & She top threes
1. Eve – Who’s That Girl?
2. Nina Sky – Move Ya Body
3. J-Lo – Get Right
1. Cassie – Me & U
2. Tinashe – Company
3. Lil’ Mama – Sausage
1. Mariah Carey – Fantasy (ODB Remix)
2. Brandy – Top of
3. Lady Leshurr – Queen’s Speech 4