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Loud and Queer: How These Two Artistic Visionaries Express Their Creative Identity

Expressing one’s artistic autonomy is no easy task. Here are a couple queer individuals who, within their respective fields, are paving the way for self-expression and creative individualism.

Chance Allen

Chance Allen is a junior Journalism and Media Studies double major at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. He began taking pictures in his junior year of high school, and after navigating his first year of college, decided to pursue his love for photography.

“I think every photographer has their own kind of style, whether they’re trying to do it or not.” Allen said.

Allen takes pride in his creative vision, however he, like us all, faces creative challenges. Night photography in particular, is a challenging but rewarding practice Allen is trying to master. 

The secret to Allen’s success in his field is to always be prepared. He will usually bring his camera everywhere, and take photos of anything and everything happening around him.

“My best photos have come sporadically. I have had some planned shoots, but I think more times than that I’ve had better ones from random moments.” Allen said. 

Photo by Chance Allen

His photos capture the beauty and authenticity within Macon’s community, and his unique style illuminates the community’s rich culture and charming individuals.

“Give yourself the space and time to take photos of what you enjoy.” Allen said. “It takes time. I don’t think it’s for everyone, but if you take the time to really put in the work, it will be more rewarding.” Allen said.


Ivy Marie

Ivy Marie is a junior English Literature and Creative Writing double major at Mercer University. She first started writing when she was little, eventually picked up poetry in middle school, and started to solidify her writing skills in high school.

“I’ve been writing my whole life, but I started taking it seriously as a junior in high school.” Marie said.

Finding her literary voice was a journey for Marie. As she ticked off the poets who she simply could not relate to, she found that there were many that were not the right fit.

“In the beginning it was really hard to find confidence in myself. I knew I didn’t like old poetry. The challenge was finding my own voice.” she said.

Now, as a confident poet, Marie is navigating how to decipher the line between sharing her art without oversharing her personal life.

“I don’t need to make art that shows all of my trauma, everything I’ve been through, all at once.” Marie said. “Some things are good to keep to myself.”

Poetry by Ivy Marie

Marie handles all her poems tenderly. She strives to do justice to her experience while also creating stories that carefully cradle her queer experience.

“No matter what I try to do, it always comes off as very gentle, and very ethereal, even when I don’t mean to.” Marie said.

Marie’s poetry takes a snapshot of her queer experience. Her storytelling makes for vivid, artful pieces of work that perfectly capture what it’s like to feel and live openly and freely.

Mental Health Check In

Mental Health Check In

September 10th was World Prevention Suicide Day, and we are soon approaching World Mental Health Day on October 10th. However, I can not help but think about the anxiety/depression that creeps in on an individual when suicide becomes the only option they feel they have left.

I have struggled with both anxiety and depression on different levels since I was young. It’s almost as if they feed on each other. I have also had a series of suicidal thoughts at some point in my life.

Anxiety is crippling, and depression makes you feel like you are sinking. It’s not even enough to describe them like this. Each person who has experienced anxiety and depression can probably give you different adjectives that portray their experience.

There is an array of things that can cause crippling and sinking. It could be trauma, loss, abuse, rejection, rape, and so much more. This is definitely a sensitive topic for many. Many people tend to shut people out when they experience Anxiety and Depression. They feel hopeless. It’s as if you are in this bubble that you cannot get out of.

Some days are better than others. Society tends to stigmatize mental health and attribute it to other factors while disregarding core reasons why someone may struggle with their mental health. It is disheartening because that leaves room for people to work on their own and cause them not to speak.

I would like to challenge you and the people you have around you. Make a habit of taking the time to review your state of mind after each day. Journal your thoughts, speak to an older person, or even a friend, try to integrate yourself into a community that holds you accountable. But don’t do life alone. Human beings were made for relationships. You are not alone, and you are loved dearly.

Yours truly,

Debbie.

3 Indie Artists To listen To In 2020

3 Indie Artists To listen To In 2020

2020 brought us a lot of surprising things. In the midst of this chaotic year, the indie music scene has been sprouting new music hits that appeal to a wide range of listeners. Here are a few rising artists dominating the genre.

Tobe Nwigwe

Musician Tobe Nwigwe’s mix of eccentric lyrics and bass- filled sounds makes for an interesting listening experience. He gave us “EAT”, featuring his wife, Ivory Rogers, an upbeat rap single that covers his life growing up as a young black boy in America. His tone and beats convey his musical prowess, and his unique sound have us all listening.

WizTheMc

South African native WizTheMc made his music debut with his mixtape Painting a Picture. His newest single “For a Minute” features a joyous, uplifting beat with a smooth chorus that makes you want to get up and dance. His melodious yet distinct sound is almost like honey to your ears.

Peach Tree Rascals

Peach Tree Rascals is an indie musical group composed of five musicians: Dominic Pizano, Tarrek Abdel-Khaliq, Isaac Peach, Joseph Barros,and Jorge Olazaba. The group released “Mariposa” in 2019, an instant hit to the North American public. The song has a cheerful chorus and smooth backing beat. Their lively music and melodic lyrics are the perfect road trip tunes.

2020 may be a trip, but these artists make it easy to escape the world for a few minutes and simply enjoy their sound.

Road Tripping into September!

Road Tripping into September!

There is something delightful about road trips. I’m not too sure if it’s the new environment, fresh breeze that goes through your hair when driving, or maybe it could just be the fact that you’re taking a hiatus from a busy life. Whatever reason it may be, you should probably go on a road trip like yesterday.

This past weekend I got the opportunity to travel to a different location. Let me just say, I was excited! 2020 has been one long year, and this break was needed. By 10:30 am, we were on the road 100 km from the capital city of Nairobi. I made sure to carry water because the heat was no joke and some fruits, too, just to keep my sugar levels on lock.

Yum

Now when going on a road trip, there are some essentials to make sure you have a worthwhile experience. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing. At some point, we were going for a hike, so I had to have some casual sporty gear. Carry your sunnies, a nice fitting cap, sunblock, and once again, don’t forget to hydrate. Your phone camera or an actual camera will come in handy when you want to capture the beautiful scenery on the way or at your destination.

I got to experience different things at my destination. Like, walk through a bridge that reminded me of one of the scenes in ‘Jumanji the next level.’ You will probably have to watch the movie to understand. I also got to play with baby goats- yes, you read right- baby goats, at least when they were not trying to run away from me!

G.O.A.T

The trip back was tiring due to crazy traffic, but when I look back to that day, I can’t help but smile. I am also quite happy because September is my birthday month, and in about two days, I turn a year older. Where my September babies at? (They are honestly so many people born in this month). I’m super grateful for life and everything it entails.

Confidently getting into my birthday month

Do something nice for yourself that will bring you joy. Happy New Month.

Yours truly,

Debbie.

Biz Tea: Natural Oats Skincare

Biz Tea: Natural Oats Skincare

That Green Tea is collaborating with Natural Oats to do a skincare basket anniversary giveaway. Read to the end on how to enter.


Most businesses don’t see a profit until the third year, but Keta’s business journey was very different. Natural oats flourished as a business in their first year. They specifically gained a lot of traction within the first six months, when they were recognized by Ocala magazine—one of the most prominent local magazines in Florida. Her secret is staying consistent.

Keta was able to use the skills that she had cultivated in journalism in helping run her business. She enjoyed being part of a start-up business but wanted to do more than be an employee. She wanted to start her own thing. Pursuing a store with skincare was something that came very naturally to her. She is used to using natural remedies and finding homeopathic remedies as opposed to buying store-bought products.

She had to wear a lot of hats at the beginning of her natural oats journey. In the beginning, she did her marketing for the products, her research on the products, and made all of the business designs for natural oats. She even did all of the manufacturing and design work.

One of her biggest challenges cultivating the business was letting go of the reins. In the beginning, she took a very heuristic approach to develop her brand. She realized, however, that it would be more cost and time effective to outsource her tasks. One particular thing she let go of the reins was the promotional material for her business.

With her business, Keta strives to bridge the gap between commercial products and natural products, hoping to cultivate a brand that produces products to satisfy all skin types. Keta wants to provide all-natural quality skincare for others while making it as affordable as possible.

Keta has a plethora of products for her customers to choose from. She prices all of the individual products between $3- $20 USD, emphasizing that it is important to her to make products for sensitive skin that are trustworthy and accessible.

Most of Natural Oats’s best products are their handmade soaps, made with natural Coconut oil, Grapeseed oil and rose hip oil. Their organic facial toner comes in to rose water and lavender for sensitive and acne-prone skin types, and in a efficient spray bottle is provides a convenient application.

Words of wisdom she would leave to new business owners are to stay consistent, and not bite off more than you can chew. Time is of the essence, and sometimes it’s essential to keep your fresh and the go of the reins.

Keta’s future for the brand is to have it grow as an entity on its own. She’s working to separate her face from the brand, and ultimately wants the products to speak for themselves.


To enter the giveaway, follow That Green Tea on Twitter @That_Green_Tea before September 4, 2020 for worldwide entries.

Purchases made to US addresses in August will qualify automatically from Natural Oats website or follow Natural Oats on their IG: @naturaloats for their guidelines.

NATURAL OATS PROVIDED ALL IMAGES. USE WITHOUT PERMISSION IS DISCOURAGED.