DJ Mister Richard and his beats were regulars at LGBTQ nightspots in Atlanta. Now in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, he wants to give back by supporting service industry employees out of work.
On Tuesday, he hosts Virtual Retro Video Jukebox Night on Twitch to raise funds for employees of Woofs impacted by the pandemic. In March, Atlanta shut down bars and nightclubs – and hosts of other businesses – and Woofs quickly pivoted by offering takeout from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
But Richard (photo) said employees of the popular sports bar are still hurting economically from the limitations.
“The tips from their takeout have certainly helped,” Richard said. “They employ a large staff, and that doesn’t come close to replacing their income from when Woofs was open every day.”
Richard hosted Retro Video Jukebox at the bar on Tuesday nights for about two years. He turned to those talents to craft the new virtual event to entertain and collect tips for his Woofs family. Expect music videos from prior to 2000 with an emphasis on dance and club tracks while mixing in some rock, R&B and pop.
“I had done some VJ’ing at Mixx over in Ansley [Square], and this was a natural fit for my huge catalog of music videos,” Richard said.
Donations during the event will be collected in virtual tip jars through PayPal and Venmo, and then distributed to Woofs employees, he said.
“I’m old enough to remember when these clubs were our only safe spaces in an often unfriendly world. It’s easy to take them for granted, and we all should appreciate the work their employees put forward daily. Tips are your way of saying thank you. We’ll get through this – please help when and where you can,” Richard said.
Richard said he’s enjoyed learning the streaming technology to make a virtual event happened, but it doesn’t replace being live in the DJ booth at his favorite bars.
“I certainly miss the social aspects of it. I always look forward to seeing friends and seeing them enjoy themselves for a night out,” he said.
Remaining positive and helping others has helped navigate the new normal.
“I’m so concerned for the huge economic, physical and mental impact this is having on everyone. We all need to find a way we can help and stay positive,” he said.
The event is one of several planned as LGBTQ entertainers pivot to virtual to entertain and earn tips they are missing from the nightlife shutdown.