RONDA FLOWERS, “Queen of House”, is a House music pioneer. As co-founder of RFK Promotions, Ronda Flowers and Koko, “Soulful Saturdays”, “Summer House Series with KoKo, Nick Nonstop & Torin Edmond” and “House Club Tour with Dana Divine”; Ronda specializes in creative social marketing and promotion companies that specializes in hosting events for urban professionals; featuring some of Chicago’s legendary and international DJs that have captivated audiences for nearly 30 years on the Chicago born House music scene.
After years of perseverance, and achieving success with her well-attended signature House music events across Chicago, DJs, colleagues and club owners branded Ronda as the Queen of House. Opening the doors at nightclubs for the House music scene starting in the late 80’s as Timeless Productions was not easy as a young entrepreneur in the Windy City. Her sell-in approach was all she had to pursue the club owners for an opportunity to have weekly House music dance events. From the north side to the south side of Chicago, Ronda Flowers’ name has become respected by clubs throughout the city.
Over the years Ronda Flowers and her company RFK Promotions have branded several weekly House events, beach events on Chicago’s lakefront, and Chicago’s first and only annual House music pub crawl.
With partners Tri M Entertainment, We Jam, and Sound Sanctuary Music, RFK Promotions’ Ronda Flowers & KoKo have a lock on the Chicago House music scene. She is now expanding her influence as a promoter globally and collaborating on several events bringing her very own Chicago style with her select roster of talented DJs.
GO BANG! Magazine: When and how did you get involved in the House music community?
Ronda Flowers: I was not always around house Music. I gave parties in the 70’s in my basement playing R&B, Soul and Funk. I thought if I can get a boy to pull a chic off the wall, then I was having a great party. It’s 1977 and the money is great for a kid my age.
Around 1979 I went to a party and the DJs played all Disco. Man did I have a ball. The people were different from my neighborhood and I met a whole new crew of friends that loved dance music that wasn’t just R&B.
By the time I reached high school I decided to give parties another run. In the early 80’s, I started hosting Disco & Dance Music parties at my home and backyard. At that point I started building a network of followers. By this time the Dance Music was labeled House.
GO BANG! Magazine: How did growing up in the “home of house” Chicago, attending Kenwood Academy, and residing in Hyde Park influence you in becoming a member of the House community.
Ronda Flowers: It was easy as a 13 year old starting to feel the groove til the age of 21. At this point I felt I was a member of the House Community. I was giving parties and going to parties at juice bars as a teenager. The community was humble, non judgemental and about friendship and the love of music; just as my highschool and neighborhood was to me. The good old days.
GO BANG! Magazine: Why did you decide to pursue the business side of House and become involved in marketing and promotions, thru RFK Promotions?
Ronda Flowers: Well I was in college and I needed to pay for it. So in 1989 a very good friend of mine Charles Matlock Esq./ Promoter asked me to give a party with him and James Vincent. I agreed to do a few but they were such fun and profitable events and off the chain that I decided to keep doing them. That’s when I decided to make promotions a business for myself. So Charles and I became business partners as TIMELESS PRODUCTIONS In 1989.
GO BANG! Magazine: RFK Promotions consists of yourself and Robert “Koko” Walker. Can you tell our readers how you two met and how your business partnership developed?
Ronda Flowers: RFK is a creative social marketing and promotions company that specializes in hosting events for urban professionals. It was 2002 When I was introduced to a Robert KoKo Walker who ran a Speakeasy joint. I was giving parties in two locations during the same time on the north side. So another friend of both of us, Brian Sayles, wanted to give parties at the Speakeasy. He asked me to co-host since I had a following to the north side. We met and gave a few parties and later KoKo asked me if I would like to host more parties; I accepted and said yes. Soon the Speakeasy closed. I was still hosting parties at the time at a place called D’Vine and Dante’s. I received a call about my client at the time, Andre Hatchett, a Chosen Few DJ, was playing at Summer Dance Fest along with Joe Smooth. Being Hatchett’s booking agent I wanted to give them an after party. This is when I called KoKo to assist me on the event on the south side named The Dating Game. The party was so packed and exciting the owner asked us if we could do it again on any night we wanted. KoKo and I accepted and we have been partners ever since. Later we were known for the night “ I Live for Wednesdays”.
GO BANG! Magazine: Over the years, you have become what some would consider a legend in the House community. How do you feel about possessing that title?
Ronda Flowers: That’s a big title. I’m humbled and honored. First let me say Thank You. After years of perseverance, and achieving success with well attended signature house music events across Chicago, DJs, colleagues. Opening the doors at nightclubs for a Black Woman in the The House Music scene starting in the late 80’s as Timeless Productions, was not easy as a young entrepreneur in the Windy City. My approach was all I had to pursue the club owners for an opportunity to have weekly House Music dance events. From the north side to the south side of Chicago my name had become respected by clubs throughout the city.
GO BANG! Magazine: You’re not only a successful business woman you also have a talent in writing. Recently you wrote a script for production. Can you please give our readers some details on this exciting new venture you’re involved with, and what’s the current status of this project?
Ronda Flowers: I’m excited about my new life’s venture. One day I woke up and started writing. I’ve always had a knack for theater and tv production, which was my major in college. It came to me so naturally. Maybe it’s all about timing and life experiences. I presented one of my scripts to a film producer and it was admired so much, they sent me an acceptance letter to go into production for my script “Sammie” and commended me on the subtle messaging on those that are physically challenged. Yes I’m very excited! Since then I’ve written 4 more scripts. I’m going to keep writing as long as the stories come to me. I won’t stop! In addition to the entertainment industry I’m an educator, teaching primary students Financial Literacy.
GO BANG! Magazine: There are only a few women involved in the promotion & marketing of House music events, including yourself and Toni Shelton. (1) How does it feel to be amongst the ones trailblazing a career path for young women of the future to follow, and (2) what advice would you give a young girl that may be interested in pursuing event marketing and promotions?
Ronda Flowers: It’s nice to be a role model for young women and men. I believe young people behind the scenes are powerful with a voice and vision. I give 150 plus events per year and have expanded globally. I want young women to learn this game as a business and know it’s not all about being at a party. Always remember there are people depending on your service that you provide which is why it should become a business. My advice is to learn the world in person or from a book and follow your desires. Learn about the needs and wants of people and choose your path because you have access to the world.
GO BANG! Magazine: With the current COVID-19 pandemic in effect, many people are afraid and uncertain about returning to large gatherings, such as House parties. This has led to “virtual” events becoming more and more popular. How do you plan to adjust to the changing times and the “new” normal of masks, crowd limits, and social distancing?
Ronda Flowers: I believe there will be a new norm and I feel society will adjust and I’ll adjust with it. New concepts will be created. As far as the large crowds and social distancing, we must maintain the rules for survival. This epidemic was terrifying to me. This was the one that could have ended my life. I wish it hadn’t happened and I want safety first for all of us.
GO BANG! Magazine: What is next on the agenda for you? Do you have any projects lined up for later in the future, after the COVID-19 pandemic that you can tell our readers about?
Ronda Flowers: I have a few events and projects that I’m working on. It will be exciting and love will be spread to everyone as long as we can continue to work together.
GO BANG! Magazine: The COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it personally?
Ronda Flowers: I give all praises to God. I’m thankful for my health and family. Always staying prepared for the unexpected is crucial for our community. I’ve been blessed to have been able to help those in need and sad about those I have lost. This has broken my heart. I appreciate this gentle life we have and I will never take it for granted. I love all of you.
GO BANG! Magazine: On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down, begging for his life and repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe.” This incident has caused civil unrest and massive protests across the world. How do you feel about this unfortunate situation and call for police reform due to the horrible treatment of minorities by the police?
Ronda Flowers: I am mad at the fact another Black Man has died due to the mentally ill, untrained, racist police officers. My heart goes out to all men, women and children who have died and their families who had to deal with their loss due to an unforeseen masacre. Police officers have been killing Blacks for a very long time. I learned years ago that the racist white man is intimidated by the Black Man and have hid behind their uniforms. We all know, it’s nothing new in America. We’re tired and have had enough. I believe a change will come but we must keep fighting for justice and equality.
You can follow Ronda Flowers and RFK Promotions on social media @RondaFlowers @RFKPromo
Log on their website @https://rfkpromo.com/
Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram