Inside the No Nazar Party in Brooklyn

About four years ago, the D.J.s Malinder Tooray, Omar Ahmed and Bianca Maieli hosted a night of music and dancing in Los Angeles.

They were living in the city and loved attending dance parties that played rhythmic genres from around the world, like Afrobeats, reggaeton, and Brazilian baile funk, but they wanted to hear more sounds from Asia, including the Indian music of their formative years.

Their show, “No Nazar,” attracted a wide following and filled in what many saw as a gap in the music and nightlife scene.

“Nazar” is an Arabic word borrowed by many languages and cultures. It invokes the concept of “evil eye” — that is, an envious glance that can cause harm to those it falls on. The event created by Ms. Tooray, Mr. Ahmed and Ms. Maieli reflected a mood the trio was trying to create — that of an inviting and affirming environment that encourages cultural exchange through music.

“As all of us found what we liked at different parties, we also realized what we had as a gift to offer,” Ms. Tooray said.

The party has since expanded to other cities and, on Saturday night, it returned to New York at the Brooklyn Monarch. Many of the 1,500-some partygoers wore kaffiyehs and gold Indian jewelry.

Throughout the night, a lineup of five D.J.s played Amapiano, a jazzy, loungey style of house music that originated in South Africa, and mixed it with the flutes, tabla and buttery high-pitched vocals of Bollywood classics.

They blended Reggaeton hits like Bad Bunny, J Balvin and Mr. Eazi’s “Como Un Bebé” with Indian songs like “Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai.” They played Arabic pop songs, old-school hip-hop and raucous Jamaican dancehall before segueing into tracks by the Nigerian artist Asake.

“Enjoy the experience tonight, because look around you,” Ms. Tooray said, addressing the crowd. “It is every color. Every race. Every gender.”

During the event, the D.J.s and guests discussed their outfits, their inspirations and what brought them out to the party.

Interviews have been edited.


Graduate student

Why did you come out today? No Nazar is an event that I come out to no matter what. It’s a celebration of who we are. I never get to hear Bollywood music in a club.

Tell me about your outfit and how you got dressed? I’m queer and nonbinary. I’m always finding new ways to express myself and my gender identity. One of the things I’ve been experimenting with recently is doing that in a way that also resonates with my culture as an Indian.

Tell me about your outfit. My outfit is made by a friend of ours named Rahman. He is Bengali. He started his line called Rah Drip. He upcycles sari fabric and turns them into oversized tees.

What’s inspiring your set tonight? I love my Bollywood music. But as a queer woman, I think I’m trying to portray these Bollywood songs to be seen as queer love instead of straight love.


Why did you come out tonight? I’m a big supporter of the No Nazar community and crew. I’m a D.J. who’s played their parties a few times. The movement that they’ve created, the space that they’ve created for people of color, for brown people, for marginalized people — it’s amazing, it’s beautiful and it’s grown so much.

What do you like hearing at No Nazar? I think that No Nazar truly represents the rise of global music in the nightlife world, while creating a bridge between nostalgia and what’s new. It’s a perfect blend of everything that I love right now.


How did you get dressed tonight? Every show I do, I wear something made in Pakistan or India. This shirt is by Aomi.

Why is it important to you to include a piece from India or Pakistan? I’m South Indian, I really try to represent where I come from. Also, how do I be different? I had a moment two years ago, where I needed an outfit for a show. So I went to Zara, bought a shirt and wore it to the show. Then I ran into someone at the show wearing the same shirt. And I was like: “This will never happen again.” I retired the shirt.


Business owner

Tell me about how you got dressed tonight and your outfit. I’m from Brooklyn, I just like to look fly!

What inspires your style? My culture. I’m Guyanese, I’m Caribbean. I like my colors to be vibrant. I don’t like to be too dark. Green is my favorite color.


Guest D.J.

Tell me about how you got dressed tonight. I was stressing. But when it comes to my D.J. sets, I always want to have a look. DJing has helped me hone in on my personal style.

What’s the vibe for tonight? Definitely a fun and youthful energy.


Leasing consultant; and director of product and solution management

What inspires your style?

TIA HOLMES It depends on my mood. Some days I want to be edgier, some days I feel more sophisticated. It depends on how I’m feeling that day. Today, I wanted to pretend like I was Carrie Bradshaw.


Health care administrator

Tell me about how you got dressed tonight. I’m a queer Sikh man, and I dress androgynously. I don’t really like to fit into a masculine or feminine box. I like to just mix and match and have fun with it. I’m wearing leather pants tonight with some black heels, a crop top and a fur coat, ’cause it’s cold outside.


D.J. at No Nazar

What inspires your style? I’ve been inspired by the cities I’ve lived in, like Atlanta and L.A. Definitely, street culture is big for me, which is why I love Rastah, because Rastah was one of the first brands I saw that was streetwear inspired by India.

Why did you come out tonight? I came out for a diaspora banger party.

Tell me about your outfit. I make clothes in Karachi using traditional South Asian textiles. So I brought out my favorite, beautiful mirror fabric blazer for this community.



Sumber: www.nytimes.com