The Music Plays On: DJ Nina Flowers Responds to COVID-19

by Matthew Wexler

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday July 7, 2020

Jorge Flores Sanchez, known to fans as DJ Nina Flowers.
Jorge Flores Sanchez, known to fans as DJ Nina Flowers.  (Source:Jozsef Daniels)

EDGE spoke with LGBTQ bar owners, nightlife entrepreneurs and elected officials who are determined to weather a storm that doesn't appear to be passing any time soon. Our in-depth feature profiled case studies from across the country. DJ Nina Flowers offers perspective on how the pandemic is affecting the nightlife industry.

DJs have been called upon both as talent as well as recipients for fundraisers amid the fast-paced digital response to the coronavirus pandemic. Jorge Flores Sanchez, known to fans as Nina Flowers, brings more than 20 years of experience to the DJ booth and has seen the industry evolve.

"People would come out to clubs for the music, the friendship get-togethers, and yes, the hook-ups," remembers Sanchez of the days before apps like Grindr and Scruff. "The love of music and how to get it will always be there. There's a whole new generation of artists that have emerged, creating new ways to celebrate music, and the diversity in music is wider than ever before."

Sanchez represents part of a robust industry that not only fuels creative entrepreneurs but an DJ equipment market projected to hit $680 million by 2025. That is if people are still listening.

Many of Sanchez's live gigs were canceled or rescheduled as the economy shut down. As various states begin to reopen, rebooking has become a jigsaw puzzle full of missing pieces.

"I believe many are living one day at a time because it's hard to make long-range plans in this situation," says Sanchez. "I have several gigs postponed, though that also can get difficult considering the previous gigs already on the calendar. It can get messy. From state to state, all situations are so different, so we're all moving in unfamiliar territory. I believe we're all living in a state of hope."

Sanchez was one of the first to participate in Liberson's Quarankiki and realized that he'd have to evolve to survive. "Resurgence" by DJ Nina Flowers presents a monthly live-stream (Zoom, Twitch and Facebook) and an opportunity for Sanchez to connect with fans, but it took a lot more than just turning on a laptop camera.

"I had to invest in this new platform, rearranging my studio between production and streaming," explains Sanchez. "I've learned graphic design and videography in the process. In this new platform, all I ask is for fans to support and attend my events. While it's free, any kind of donation is appreciated, and fans can donate through VENMO @DJ-Nina- Flowers."

Most of the grassroots efforts for nightclub staff and talent such as the well-intentioned One World benefit by Master Beat and can't meet the needs of an entire industry out of work. Still, Sanchez says DJing is like breathing.

"Since the beginning of our community's early development, we emerged partly through the gay nightlife scene or large-scale events, such as Pride. Anytime we get together as a community, it allows us to celebrate ourselves in safety with others who understand. These spaces created long-time friendships, life partners, and alternate families. I believe that space is still needed. It's a show of unity that I hope will continue to survive."

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's Senior Editor, Features & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.