The hypersexualization of Black women and their femininity is an entire case study of itself. When it comes to Black women, the curves of their bodies, the style of their clothes, and the spunk of their attitudes have long been policed by society.
But what if there was an event that took all of those things and celebrated them?
Insert Twerk x Tequila.
At first glance, Twerk x Tequila looks like just another party, but it's a carefully curated event, centered around women, but open to everyone. (In fact, the event's Instagram bio says "A women's empowerment event. Men come too!" in case anyone is confused about who this event is for.) While the word "twerk" might immediately make one think of ass shaking in a club, Lauren McGrier, aka ConnectwithLo, the founder of TxT, says twerking was never meant to be seductive — it was meant to be a celebration.
"Twerking isn't all that sexual, it's just been sexualized," says McGrier. "When you go back to its origin and roots, and you have parts of Africa where they have these ceremonies, and women are dancing and moving — it's spiritual. Every movement means something, and it went from that to 'oh, this is sexy."
McGrier has spent the last few years building the TxT brand.
As the world began to re-open, McGrier returned to her plans of taking her show on the road. So far this year, she's taken TxT to New York City and Chicago, and will be taking it to New Orleans later this summer — though McGrier admits that she's faced many challenges trying to take this local event national, including being affected by inflation and the return of larger festivals.
"This year, the festivals are back, so there are an ample amount of things for people to do," said McGrier. "People are prioritizing what they want to go to and how they want to spend their money. People are not buying tickets as easy or as quickly as they were because its options everywhere."
While production in other cities may have been more challenging, Twerk x Tequila has found a lot of support at home in Detroit. In fact, support was never an issue in the city. According to McGrier, her first TxT event had a crowd lined outside of El Club before doors opened.
"My first event was free and I was paying out of pocket. I had tickets listed for free and after those were gone it was $5," recalls McGrier. "The doors were supposed to open at like 11 a.m. or 12 p.m., and I remember thinking nobody is going to come this early. The security guard came in and asked if everything was ready to go. I asked him why was he pressing about opening doors on time, and he was like, 'because you have a line outside.'"
McGrier is gearing up for her second Detroit Twerk x Tequila event of the year this weekend at the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre. The event will be hosted by rapper Lana LaDonna with sounds provided by DJ Killa Squid, DJ Muva Mars, and Venus x FlyyTrap.
When it comes to the future of Twerk x Tequila and what that looks like, McGrier says large-scale events is the goal.
"Festival, I want to make it a festival, that's why it's been at The Aretha, because I want it to grow to that," said McGrier. "I want the work that I do for Twerk x Tequila to branch off into another business. I'm not sure if that's event marketing, curation, or logistics management, but that's what I'm interested in."
Twerk x Tequila takes place from 3-11 p.m. on Saturday, July 2, at the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre, 2600 Atwater St., Detroit. Tickets are $40 and are available for purchase online at twerkxtequila.com.