Joshua Lewis is changing KC’s nightlife with his UpDown app

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Joshua Lewis, creator of the Up Down Night Life app, hosted an event earlier this month at The Scarlet Room in the Crossroads Arts District.

Special to the star

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On a rainy evening, Joshua Lewis snuggles up with his team on an empty dance floor.

The 30-year-old tech entrepreneur makes sure they know where they’re supposed to be and what they’re supposed to be doing. He is absolutely not discouraged by the weather outside which is not ideal.

Lewis, the creator of the Up Down Night Life app, expects the empty Sweet Comforts in Westport to fill up with revelers soon.

Lewis launched the app two months ago, a service he describes as “a social network for nightlife.” Added the technological element to the nightlife experience. “

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Kirby Appollis, left to right, Brittany Lackner, Jade Williams and Mackenzie Smith attend an Up Down Nightlife event at the Scarlet Room earlier this month. Appollis and Smith work for the app. Roy Inman Special to the star

He didn’t want to create just another app. He set out to shape an experience, to help plan every facet of an incredible night, from pre-game in a bar to post-game in a late-night lounge.

Users can click on a Kansas City nightlife district – Westport, Power & Light, etc. – and immediately see what events are happening and if their friends are already there.

In eight weeks, the free app has attracted 3,500 subscribers.

“People have been receptive,” says Lewis, who moved to Kansas City from Dallas eight years ago and graduated from Park University. “3,500 in eight weeks is a difficult task. We have accomplished a lot, but I still feel like we can do better and more. So that’s what we’re going to do.

Lewis assembled a team of 10, including content creators, designers, videographer and social media manager. Quintin Randle, aka DJ Q, is one of Kansas City’s top DJs with 17 years of experience in the club and party scene. Randle oversees the music for the events and also serves as the company’s consumer marketer. The Kansas City native remembers when options were scarce for black club enthusiasts.

“There was a great lack of diversity because you couldn’t play hip-hop anywhere,” says Randle. “Especially if you’re a black DJ. My first 10 years or so, Westport was where it was hard to break into. Then Power & Light was built, which still has no hip-hop parties. You’ll have hip-hop dotted around it, but it’s older music. But if you wanted to hear something current, you wouldn’t go to Power & Light, let alone see a black DJ.

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Quintin Randle, also known as DJ Q, not only provides the music but is also responsible for consumer marketing for Up Down Nightlife events. Roy Inman Special to the star

Lewis seeks not only to bring the black community together for a fun and safe night out, but also to bridge the social divisions within Kansas City’s historically separate entertainment districts.

“We’re trying to do these culture-changing events in places where most black people don’t usually go or might feel unwelcome,” says Lewis.

It is a difficult task. Black customers have long been discriminated against at Country Club Plaza, Westport, and Power & Light. In the past, customers have complained that dress codes are only applied to people of color. That clubs are reluctant to play the latest rap music.

“The people in control are white and don’t understand our culture, which I don’t understand,” Lewis says. “When you think about what drives traffic to places, it’s our culture. From music to fashion and dance. That’s what drives everything. Blacks traditionally create these fashions and waves.

Lewis understands that part of the apprehension is due to the perceived violence that follows his target demographic. He thinks that fear makes places hesitant to open their arms to “urban markets”.

Lewis and his team are optimistic, however. For him, it’s about renaming the nightlife culture in KC, and it starts with bringing people together.

“Kansas City is very segregated when it comes to people and businesses. It’s hard to get everyone on the same page and come to terms with how important this app is to everyone, ”Lewis says.

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“We’re trying to do these culture-changing events in places where most black people don’t usually go or might feel unwelcome,” says Joshua Lewis. Roy Inman Special to the star

Part of Up Down Night Life’s mission that sets them apart from the competition is to give back control to the consumer to show a true interpretation of what happens at these events.

“Similar nightlife apps introduced are not focused on user experience. It is more business oriented. Businesses have their own agenda. Make money. But people control the culture, so people should dictate what it comes down to when choosing where to go. We make sure people are heard, and so they come out, ”Lewis says.

Lewis has teamed up with eight locations genuinely interested in growing clientele from all walks of life, from the predominantly African-American Sweet Comforts in Westport to The Scarlet Room in the Crossroads Arts District.

To create change, standards are important.

“We are all trying to develop the city’s nightlife. KC has always been a clown for his nightlife. People constantly say that there is nothing to do and nowhere to go. Like tonight, people may think there is nothing to do on a rainy Thursday night. If you go on the app, you can browse the neighborhoods and see what places are going on, ”says Lewis.

Lewis saw a gradual shift in what makes what black people would call an enjoyable night out.

“It was very bland when I arrived here due to a lack of culture in our community. Outside of what DJ Q was doing, our community was focused on Vine. Now you are seeing a lot more people in the industry moving to different places and fields. That way KC continues to catch up, ”says Lewis.

The end of the game for Lewis and his team is easy. Make the Up Down Night Life app the must-see destination not only in Kansas City, but around the world. This dream of a universal nightlife, however, is not possible without the cooperation between venues and subscribers.

“It’s more than just playing black music at a white club or bringing whites to Vine,” says Lewis. “It’s about changing the way people think where there is no need to organize events so that people have a reason to cross into new places.”

Despite the rain that evening, club goers are starting to flock to Sweet Comforts. It’s party time.

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