Global soul supremacy

One of the city’s hottest underground parties seeks to grow the groove

Ninetyfifth (Supplied)

The phrase “soul supreme” may conjure imagery of beehive hairdos and a certain doe-eyed songstress from Detroit. But that may soon change, as a more modern means of getting down seeks to expand, and it’s right in the heart of this fair city.

Located in the Exchange District and currently operating out of One Eleven (111 Princess St.), Soul Supreme events typically include a DJ for entertainment as an introduction, followed by a live performer.

“Soul Supreme is an event that is dedicated to R&B lovers, by R&B lovers,” Keisha Booker, curator and co-founder of the brand, says. “The reason it was started is because there was nowhere to really sit down and listen to R&B music. There was nowhere to really enjoy it.”

“Eventually to be able to tour with it, that’s really the plan,” Booker says.

An R&B singer herself, Booker and a collaborator started the weekly Soul Supreme initiative back in 2014, hoping to provide a platform for their music and Black culture.

“At the time, the only places there were to perform were hip-hop showcases and other genres of music. Now, fast-forward to today, there are way more spaces that hold R&B-specific events where that was non-existent at that time,” she says.

Visual artists are also featured with the opportunity to display their art and sell pieces.

“They’ll set up their art amidst the room. It’s like an artistic immersive experience. It’s supposed to be a platform that provides opportunities for creatives,” Booker says.

“You can bring your boo thing. You can bring your girlfriend. It can be a girls’ night out or a date night. It’s a more intimate lounge vibe, but you can dance if you want to, sing along if you want to.”

Local artist DJ Zuki performs regularly and was introduced to Booker and the Soul Supreme concept around the time of its debut. He’s been a staple ever since.

“My style is pretty wide-ranging. Generally, it’s guided around R&B, ’90s, and hip-hop that is R&B-leaning. More recently, it’s started to blend into a lot of other genres like afrobeat and funk,” Zuki says.

“I love that it’s a space for Black and Brown audiences to come and listen to the music that they might not hear everywhere else. I would advise anyone showing up for the first time to show up with dancing shoes, an open mind and expect to have a good time.”

And while the beat goes on unabated here in Winnipeg, the future of Soul Supreme looks bright as they seek to expand far beyond the Perimeter Highway.

“We’re working on doing an outdoor Soul Supreme festival, a one-day festival that’s just a larger showcase on a weekend and can engage more of the city,” Booker says. “We’d also like to eventually expand and do one-off Soul Supreme events in different cities and, from there, different countries. Soul Supreme to the world.”

Follow @soulsupremewpg on Instagram for updates on upcoming events.

Published in Volume 77, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 23, 2023)

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