By Shelby Clark
A grassroots LGBTQ organization has recently swept the Detroit event scene: Women’s Entertainment Team, also known as W.E.T. Detroit.
The group, founded by Noura B. and Raz, has worked to create events made for queer women, as well as allies. Since September 2013, the two women have made every first Saturday of the month at Temple Bar in Detroit a dedicated night for queer women.
Suitably, the women come from backgrounds ripe for party-planning and entertainment. Raz, who is currently majoring in hospitality management at Eastern Michigan University, has worked in the hospitality industry since she was a teenager, with a passion for event planning and small business.
Noura is a founding member of both the Z Collective, an art movement, and Humans of Detroit (http://www.humansofdetroit.com), a photo collective designed “to spread a positive light on the city and the people who call it home.” She is currently a photographer studying at Wayne State University.
With an eye for business, art and planning, the two decided to create W.E.T after Noura visited New York City.
“I was exploring the diverse LGBTQ community there,” says Noura. “I noticed how segregated Detroit’s LGBTQ community was. Detroit didn’t have much to offer for its lesbian, bisexual and queer women. Raz and I would often complain about not having enough places to go to interact with fellow queer women.”
Raz notes, “I was never interested in going out to LGBTQ events because parties seemed focused on gay men. Necto, Menjos, Pronto, and Cream – just to name a few – all cater to the gay men of the community. This made me wish there was more diversity in Detroit’s LGBTQ party scene.”
Raz also experienced LGBTQ scenes outside of Michigan.
“I moved to Florida for a year and experienced a different atmosphere. I felt like we both could add something that’s been missing to the Detroit scene,” she tells BTL.
After returning to Detroit, Noura approached Raz about planning events specifically for queer women, but open to all and W.E.T. was born.
Despite their initial feelings towards LGBTQ events in Detroit, the women still view the more gay-centered parties as good for the city.
“We don’t view other LGBTQ resources as competition, but rather as a community that supports each other. We didn’t start this project to make a profit; we started out because of our love for the community,” Noura affirms.
“We started from zero and have been working our way up,” the two say. “The owner of Temple Bar was very open and supportive to the idea of a queer women’s night. It took us a few months to find a female DJ that we could work with, but we found her – DJ Diana (Mother Cyborg).”
W.E.T. had its first event, the Coming Out Party, Dec. 7 at the bar – and with a great turnout to boot. Excitement over the party quickly lead to another scheduled event, the Black & White Party, held Jan. 4.
“Overall, the reception to W.E.T. has been really good,” Noura says.
Future plans for W.E.T. include a different themed event every month, with an event being planned for Valentine’s Day in February. The party will be called “W.E.T. Detroit’s Queer Mingle.” The mix-and-mingle will feature colored bracelets signifying the party goer’s relationship status, as well as a bachelorette auction. Twenty percent of proceeds from the auction will go to a local family in need.
With few issues standing in their way, W.E.T. joins others in continuing to make Detroit an inclusive, open and vibrant LGBTQ community. Noura and Raz both agree, “We feel it’s about time.”
W.E.T’s monthly event begins at 10 p.m. on the first Saturday of the month at Temple Bar, 2906 Cass Ave., Detroit.
To contact W.E.T. e-mail [email protected]. For more information on W.E.T. and future “themed” events, visit their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/W.E.T.Detroit.