Before Its Anniversary Party This Week, Vibes Texas Founder Romii Rae Reflects On Efforts To Bring Talent, Art And Community Together.
Everything is art.
Vibes Texas, the underground creative community, is celebrating four years of bringing a variety of artists, musicians, vendors and fashion designers together to its inclusive environment. Since 2018, Vibes Texas has hosted monthly collaborative events for like-minded creatives to showcase their work and simply vibe, as they say.
Now, four years and over 60 events later, Vibes Texas founder Romii Rae says the event has become one of the most respected platforms in the community and it’s only getting bigger from here on out.
Its four-year anniversary party is going down on March 25 at Lofty Spaces with live performances by rap and hip hop artists Devy Stonez, Wasteey Monroe, NinoSoSupremey, Yakthemack, Bigzay and VNY. As always, Vibes Texas has invited about 15 vendors, including Essential Juice, Joelleshootsfilm and 360 Home Goods to give it a festival feel and more art incorporation.
Vibes Texas’ mission to give attendees freedom of expression, a space to collaborate with one another and party in a comfortable, safe setting is thanks to Rae, a cultural content curator and talent buyer who wears more creative hats than she can even list.
The underground rap scene in Dallas knows her very well and if they don’t, they absolutely must. Her love for the arts and bringing people together, as well as her nurturing personality, is how she got into the music scene in the first place. Through We Are Dallas, a reputable Dallas collective, she learned skills to throw her own events and network with the right people. She has worked, helped and consulted over 500 creatives in Texas and other states, even during the pandemic.
Her goal is to create more opportunities for the community and she’s been doing one heck of a job. How does she do it!?
Let’s find out. Here’s Rae on how one badass event can turn into a cherished community.
First things first, who are you!?
I am Romii. My name is Destinee, but I got by Romii. I do a lot. I’m into creative direction, event curating, I’m into producing – so, film. I’m into painting in my spare time. I have a pet cat. She’s almost two now. I am very into bringing people together — finding talent. I guess I can consider myself a talent agent as well for Coach Tev. I’m into talent buying now, so I bring talent to the city as well. I just do a lot of different things. I haven’t figured out a word for it or what word I’m going to stick to yet, but I know I’m just everywhere when it comes down to what I’m doing.
Once you’re part of the music scene, you start doing a bit of everything, right? What are you doing next?
It’s like “Wow, I didn’t think I would be doing anything like this that I’m doing.” When I started doing Vibes, I didn’t see myself as being a talent buyer per se because I didn’t even know what that was when I started doing it. When I started getting more familiar with what I’m doing, and then I actually spoke to a few of my peers and was like, “you’re basically a talent buyer because you do this and you do that.” I do bring talent to the city, of course I’m paying for it, so I’m actually investing in bringing more creatives to the city.
I’m going to dip into different types of genres this year as well – more hip hop, indie. I guess house, in a way, because I have two DJs that do house music as well. I’m pretty much in the underground hip hop scene more, but also want to diversify as well as bring some more into it. I’m also into R&B. This year we’re going to diversify and make it different.
Vibe Texas is celebrating its 4-year anniversary this week, but how long have you been doing this overall?
When I moved out to Dallas and the end of 2014. I was living in Richardson, probably in August 2014. And then I didn’t really get into the scene itself yet until 2015. I joined We Are Dallas, which is another collective in Dallas. The guy that owns the company and the collective invited me out to an event, then I just basically said, “How can I be a part of something like this? I’m new to the city and I’m really, really interested in what you’re doing.” And he invited me to come out and I kind of got a feel of it, and then I began to be a part of it. I worked the door a little bit. That’s when I learned, you know, more promotion.
When I joined We Are Dallas, I learned how to network and promote with people. I worked my first concert in 2015 and that was a good experience. It kind of got me into thinking maybe I actually do you want to do bigger events and concerts. It opened my eyes and my doors to what I want to do going forward.
Then I did my first event with a friend, and it was called Random Art Mixer. We did it at the end of 2015. It was basically art, music and fashion and we just we did that event. We tried to do another event, but it just didn’t really work out. In in 2016/2017, I kind of took a break. And then at the end of 2017, like in July, is when I did Vibes, at Drugstore Cowboy – back when it was drugstore cowboy. It was a free event. We had a few people on the lineup and we allowed people to come in and go as they pleased. I had one art vendor, Artbymartell, he was the only person that had art in the event. He just hit me up to come put his art out. When I decided to Vibes Texas in February 2018, I just had Martel come out and he was pretty much a vendor since 2014.
So, you pretty much added your own interests together to create Vibes Texas?
Yeah, I think because I wanted to incorporate art. I wasn’t seeing art incorporated as much. I grew up around art. My mom does art and my grandmother’s into crafts. I’d only seen music and then maybe as a few merch tables in the back of events. I like flea markets. I like festivals. I wanted it to have like a flea market feel at my event. I wanted to have something people could do while you’re going to parties. When you go to an event or something, sometimes there’s nothing else to do but sit around and get bored. People have short attention spans. If you need something else to be doing while you’re waiting for the next act or your friend hasn’t gone up yet, maybe you can go look at this vendor and maybe find something I like and buy. It just made me want to incorporate art more and I just didn’t see what I wanted to do, so I pretty much did it myself and made it a thing. Now it’s kind of everywhere.
There are a lot of collectives and locals who put events together every month or throw parties similar to Vibes Texas, and a lot of the curators are actually women. How does it feel to be part of that group?
We’re out here! I think it’s easier for women to throw events because we pay attention to details. Some men operating events don’t really pay attention to details that we pay attention to. Bathrooms, for instance. The bathrooms are never clean or have what we need in them as a woman. It’s different things that are missing — just key things — that women would see that some men just don’t see. I feel like with women, we’re not trying to stroke each other’s ego, we’re just trying to have a good time. We want to make sure you have a good sign. We’re very welcoming, we’re very like “did you need anything?” or “go check out this.” It could be like a crutch because we’re always making sure everyone else is good and not ourselves, but I feel like it is also a good trait to have as a woman.
When I did a live event in New York, they said men just don’t understand. It was actually men admitting that they don’t pay attention to what we pay attention to. You could go to a party, and you’ll have liquor, but no mixers. Cups, but no ice. Women actually want to just be great as well. We’re so used to not having the opportunity that we have, that we create them for everybody else to have. I feel like that’s a good thing — good trait to have as well because it’s hard to make it in this industry without having that kind of mentality. We can’t just do it alone.
We always want to bring someone else to eat too, because we’re always trying to feed people. The woman is always trying to make sure everyone in the house is fed and taken care of. I feel like it carries on to the way we work as women, as well. We’re emotionally nurturing, we’re automatically nurturing you no matter where we’re at.
It’s the little things that I feel are important when doing events. I’ve learned a lot about events by just throwing them. In every event I’ve learned a lot. My thing that I learned the most was about sound. I didn’t even know how big sound was until I started doing DIY events where I didn’t have a venue that actually came with someone running the sound. When I started doing DIY events, I had to make sure we had the right cords, soundcheck, someone there to do the sound. I’d have so many issues just finding this kind of stuff. I basically went out to buy my own speakers, my own mics, cords, so I don’t have any issue. I was making sure that my event is equipped with sound or anything. You learn a lot during events, and you really grow with them when you do it. You’re always going to have to be on your toes, no matter what.
Why do you think it’s so important to establish a sense of community in the Dallas music scene?
I feel like a lot of people aren’t doing enough or they’re not doing the right thing. Sometimes it’s good to have people that can push you and remind you that you’re working at your own speed and not to give up. We also can inspire each other to do different things. You might start out doing music, but you also might have a passion for painting, and you never knew it because you didn’t really have the right people around you to push you. I feel like it’s very important to have a community of people that understand the purpose and can understand that everyone has good days and bad days.
What do you say to those who don’t think there’s a community within the scene?
It’s definitely refreshing to have a team around — refreshing to have people you can lean on. I feel like people that say that just need to get outside more. You just got to go outside more because we’re out here. Everyone’s outside in 2022. A lot of people around me have been able to transcend people that don’t even know they’re going to be into things they didn’t even know they wanted to do. It’s all about just getting outside and keep going to places that you see. If you see a flyer and you see someone doing some, just go to the event. People wait on their friends to do things, and they’ll be behind and left behind. You just can’t wait on your friends to do everything for you, you gotta do it yourself. That’s pretty much what it’s all about. Being more comfortable with doing things and getting outside. I actually try to incorporate and encourage people to get outside their box, get outside their comfort zone. You might have to stay away from your friend group to go do things that you like to do, and you might find some more friends that are more fit for you at different places. Also, just more so doing something different out of the norm. You could actually find what you need to find.