Charlotte native Winston Robinson is one of the organizers behind the cultural immersion series, A Vibe Outside, kicking off on July 24, 2021. Photo: Alvin C. Jacobs Jr.

Trace the roots of house, Go-Go and soca music subgenres, and you’ll find their beginnings in Black communities. A local group is putting each style on display in a three-part outdoor series called A Vibe Outside.

The Applesauce Group will host its first installment — The House Music Jam — on Saturday, July 24, at the West Complex in Historic West End. 

Winston Robinson, one of the group’s founders and host of A Vibe Outside, said one goal is to expose attendees to nuances within subcultures of Black music.

“These things are valuable elements of culture we want to introduce to people in Charlotte,” the Charlotte native added. “This being a transplant city, it gives people who come from these areas somewhere to step out front.”

Brief history on house music

While electronic dance music (EDM) dominated global airwaves in the 2010s, it was Frankie Knuckles, a Black DJ in Chicago, who Rolling Stone Magazine eulogized as “the man who birthed every aspect of electronic dance music culture.”

House music is heavily influenced by 1970s disco and characterized by uptempo beats that mix in drum machines and synthesizers to create its distinct sound. Knuckles earned the nickname “the Godfather of House Music” because his Chicago club, the Warehouse, is widely credited as the birthplace of house music. Listen to Knuckles’ house version of the 1982 track, “Your Love,” below.

YouTube video

Saturday’s event will also feature Black-owned food trucks offering pairings representing house music regions. Lulu’s Hotdog Stand will include Chicago-style hot dogs —  traditionally topped with mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, a pickle spear, sport peppers inside a poppy seed bun. Jimmy Pearls, known for its Virginia-inspired street food, is participating as a nod to house music’s expansion to the Washington, D.C. metro area starting in the 1990s.

Tucked within the cultural vibes, Robinson says the underlying mission of the event is to educate people on the value of homeownership and to provide resources that help people acquire homeownership. 

According to the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, current Black homeownership rates fall significantly behind their white counterparts, 45.1% compared to 73.8%, respectively.

Robinson, too, is passionate about encouraging Black homeownership. A Vibe Outside is an offshoot of A Vibe Called Fresh, another community day party produced by the Applesauce Group. He previously told QCity Metro that over two dozen citizens became first-time homebuyers as a result of the programs and guidance provided through A Vibe Called Fresh.

He’s hopeful for similar outcomes beginning this weekend.

“While you’re here, we can link you to, hopefully, something that could change the trajectory of your life,” he said.

Event Details

A Vibe Outside: The House Music Jam

When: Saturday, July 24

Where: West Complex, 1600 W. Trade St.

Time: 5-9 p.m.

Cost: Free, register to get a free skate rental for the pop-up skating rink

More info: Follow @avibecalledfreshclt for dates of future events in the series.

Katrina covers Charlotte's Black business scene for QCity Metro. She's a Miami transplant, pescatarian and lover of the arts. She earned a public relations degree from the University of Florida. Got a...

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  1. It is exceptionally disrespectful to the entire House Community NOT to mention Larry Levan, when writing any article about the origins of House Music! You cannot recognize Frankie Knuckles in Chicago, IL via the Bronx, NY WITHOUT mentioning his closest friend Larry LeVan from NY! Larry LeVan managed the Paradise Garage in NY, while Frankie Knuckles moved to Chicago, IL and managed the ” Warehouse”. Separately, House Music’s name was born out of the Warehouse in Chicago, IL.

  2. Actually it (house music) moved into Baltimore not the Washington, DC area. DC is the home of GoGo. Baltimore took house music to a different level and applied its unique personality to the sound.