HUNY and Rojo: They Bring The Party!

HUNY and Rojo.

There’s no clear path that leads to standing behind a set of turntables. A love of music is definitely required. A socially outgoing personality would be a plus. A sense of creativity helps. Prolific Pittsburgh DJ/Event Curators HUNY and Rojo definitely have those things. But it was their sense of awareness that led them behind the console. They both sensed that Pittsburgh’s queer dance scene could greatly benefit from their presence and influence and they were right. Now we’re shaking our asses like never before!



HUNY moved to Pittsburgh from New York City ten years ago. She was not a DJ yet but was a self-proclaimed “party girl”. But when she went to parties here, she was not finding the right scene for her. “It was mostly straight dudes DJing. I’m gay so I don’t want to be constantly hit on by men and that was happening. It was boring and I just wanted it to be different,” she says. Then, one day, she stumbled upon the then-new-now-closed Ace Hotel in East Liberty. “There used to be lobby parties at the Ace Hotel in New York City and they were always fun. So one day, I wandered into the new Ace Hotel here just to check it out.”

That decision set off a series of events that ultimately led HUNY to where she is today. Carrying her camera, she was mistaken for press and a staff member introduced HUNY to Ace Hotel Pittsburgh’s cultural engineer, Aaron Clark, of Honcho fame. That chance meeting led to an instant friendship and collaboration which led to HUNY pitching the idea of a lobby party to Clark with the goal of gathering a group of intersectional black people.

“Darkness Is Spreading”, a Halloween party, was launched in 2017 at Ace Hotel and was a rousing success. “It was wall-to-wall black folk,” laughs HUNY when describing the party. “That’s when I expanded my focus.” And thus MostBeautifullest, HUNY’s Black queer femme-led party collective, was born. Shortly after that, HUNY decided that coordinating the parties wasn’t enough and started blessing us with her musical prowess and became a DJ. 6 years later, Pittsburgh is still reaping the benefits.



“I’ve always been a nightlife kid,” Rojo, the newer kid on the block, tells me. “I started going out at 14.” Growing up, Rojo needed an escape. He grew up poor in New Kensington. Not really being able to hide his queerness, Rojo also dealt with bullying. “The club was just a place where things that people were critiqued for in their daily lives didn’t matter. We were all there just to have a good time. For someone just trying to figure out their queerness and who exactly they are, nightlife was such an important resource for me.” But still, even with that kind of sentiment about nightlife, DJing was not in his plans and has only been doing it for about 2 years now. But yet again, a series of chance events are what led to Rojo setting down the beat. “I have a lot of friends who are DJs and one had an old Pioneer console and he let me borrow it because I thought it would be fun to learn. One day, I was mixing on Instagram live and a friend who actually produced his own party caught it and was surprised and impressed!” That friend then offered Rojo his first booking and the rest is history. “That was an insane night,” he exclaims. “That was such an exciting set because it was all adrenaline. But I will never forget the reaction from the crowd and the energy of the room gave me a high that I’ve been chasing ever since.”

Two DJs. One Goal.

“Being a DJ and an event curator is hard but I wouldn’t give it up for the world and I don’t think Huny would either. There’s such a community aspect in our work,” Rojo responds when asked why he and HUNY do what they do. “We’re watching our queer spaces disappear. Element is gone. Cruze is gone. There, Images, Pegasus, they’re all gone. My ultimate goal for my work here in Pittsburgh is to try to establish more spaces for queer people to go and connect. If you can’t find community in your own already marginalized community, life can feel pretty isolating and lonely.”

“Sometimes you have to create what you can’t find,” adds HUNY. “At first, when I came here, I was like where are the black people? But they were easy to find. Then I was like where are the queer people? Aaron Clark showed me that when he introduced me to Hot Mass. Then I was like, ok, where are the black queer people? And that was harder to find. That is why Most Beautifullest exists. At the end of the day, the beauty of being a DJ or working in nightlife in general is finding community on the dancefloor. Barriers and dividing lines dissipate when we’re all dancing together.”


So how exactly are HUNY and Rojo helping foster this beauty? By throwing hella parties! They are giving Pittsburgh many options to find the right place to let loose and find much needed community. For example HUNY and MostBeautifullest offer Real Hot Girl Sh*t (an all female MCs/hip hop night at Cobra Lounge every first Saturday), Cherry Bomb (day parties at Trace Brewing featuring hip hop, R&B, and future beats starting on June 1), SZR (saphhic dance parties every second Saturday at the Underground in Brewers) and SZR day parties (sapphic dance parties at 5801 every 4th Saturday starting April 27).

Rojo is currently the resident DJ and curator at the Underground, Brewer’s new dance space. He also has his own party collective called Twirlosophy and can be found at many other venues in the city offering many different themed nights such as On Repeat (a 2000s pop party), Strut (an Oldies night) and Twirl (house, disco and divas). It’s giving variety! And yes, that’s by design. “In my personal life, I don’t want to just be the gay friend or the fashionista or the sidekick or the funny guy and that translates to my professional life as a creative,” explains Rojo. “So I think it’s important to show all aspects of what I represent musically.” HUNY adds, “my goal when DJing is to make you shake your ass but also to take you on a journey. I want to make you feel something and that just cannot be done with one genre.”


Some years ago, HUNY sensed a void in Pittsburgh that needed to be filled so she stepped up and filled it. In doing so, at first she thought she was just creating a good time but soon discovered a fulfilling mission. “I believe that it is our legacy as black, queer people to keep creating spaces where everybody is welcome and where we can completely be ourselves,” she explains. “I remember what it was like to walk into a space and instantly feel at home,” responds Rojo. Then, a realization. “Honestly, that was Cherry Bomb for me,” he says to HUNY. A full circle moment. HUNY’s efforts were so powerful that they recruited Rojo into the same movement. Now it’s your turn to join. For more information about HUNY and Rojo and their parties, give them a follow on Instagram (@hunyrocks and @mostbeautifullest; @rojowashere and @twirlosophy) and join them in their endeavors!

Just be ready to twirl and shake that ass!

Jason Shavers is a born and raised Pittsburgh native. He is an actor that has worked extensively on stage and not so extensively on screen. Jason is also a self proclaimed expert on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Musical Theater and sitcoms that feature 4 women leads. Yeah, he’s gay AF. Follow him on Instagram. (He / Him / His)