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.

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.

‘Ngozi’ is Skin in Swahili

‘Ngozi’ is Skin in Swahili

Also known as the largest organ in the body

Skin, no matter how rough or smooth, makes us stand out

Skin, in its different shades, identifies our ethnicities

Skin, so authentic and created by a perfect author

Skin that makes you think of the consistency of white and dark chocolate

Skin that still finds a way to heal even when damaged

Skin truly makes us unique

But man(human beings) sets humanity apart by putting negative emphasis on skin

Man looks at the beautiful different shades and says one is more superior than the other

Man, according to society prefers lighter to darker skin as if it equates to more value

Man creates a barrier between humanity because the skin is of a different yet authentic shade

Man has put skin on a pedestal and caused suffering and slavery amongst many minorities around the world

But skin whether dark or light, black or white, is still skin

Crafted In different textures, shades, and elasticity to show how creative our Creator is

Therefore, the skin is not the issue, but the heart of man is

Ideally, it would be great to live in a world that looks at the skin as a beautiful organ -something to celebrate rather than a dangerous threat.

But for now, love your skin because your creator was intentional when creating you.

Yours truly,

Debbie Onzere 


(Feel free to replace the word skin with Ngozi as you learn a new word from a different culture)

3 Things Half of 2020 Has Taught Me

3 Things Half of 2020 Has Taught Me
I can be calm in the midst of chaos
What sometimes seems impossible can actually bloom
Hope is worth holding on to

2020 has been one unforgettable year, don’t you think?

I already see December around the corner. 2021 is that you? Many things have gone by really quickly. But of course, with different seasons, come many new lessons. Today I’ll share three.

  1. I can be calm in the midst of chaos

When the pandemic hit the whole world, there was an overwhelming surge of panic across many nations. I live in Kenya, East Africa. It’s a beautiful country with a vast array of cultures and significant innovations. However, our authenticity did not keep us from panic, just like any other country. I experienced the stages of grief.

I felt like I had lost something significant; my freedom. Staying home was fun at first, then it became increasingly frustrating. I needed an outlet. So I worked out, but that didn’t work out-pun intended. I wrote I painted, and I cried, I drove to places I’ve never been to before. Eventually, the new normal seemed reasonable. The anxiety and fear were no longer sipping at my strength. I decided to be more intentional about my daily activities, the time I woke up, when I ate, talking to friends frequently, listening to good music, praying, and without knowing it, I was in a state of calm and not overly freaking out. I took a day at a time, and I’m sure in the midst of chaos, you can also find your calm.

2. What sometimes seems impossible can actually bloom

This is still a work in progress. I am learning that anyone who is living a purposeful life right now, began somewhere. I am not crazy to think that I can live a life that is fulfilling and brings me joy. That doesn’t mean it will be devoid of pain, but that same pain will be part of my growing journey. I will be an entrepreneur one day (Yup it may not seem crazy to you, but it is to me) I am currently working on this. What’s funny is that fear is not holding me back from the taking steps I need to make for that purpose come true.

How many times have you told yourself that you wanted to start something and didn’t start it? The ideas may be there, but the practical bit may seem to take too much work, right?. I am here to encourage you, especially on the practical bit. Don’t be afraid to start; otherwise, you’ll never know what could have been if you didn’t try. Are you scared of failure? What if it told you that failure is a part of the process, would you believe me?

You are capable of doing great things in this life that serve a higher purpose. Why not start today? …Yes, like right now, this very moment. Go…wait, you’ll probably have to finish reading first.

Stop talking about what you are going to do someday and just get started . Make up an eighth day of the week if you need to and call it “start-day.”

Bob Goff

3. Hope is worth holding on to.

Now, this is what keeps me going even when days seem dark and empty. God has been my number one hope. Having a safe space to express yourself and feel loved at the same time is a glorious thing. So be hopeful and take those necessary steps no matter how small they may be. One day when you look back, you’ll understand why you held on to hope. You’ll be just fine.

Debbie Onzere

Eat…Drink…Abuja!!!

Eat…Drink…Abuja!!!

The #EatDrinkFestival Abuja edition is the second event that That Green Tea experienced in a more official capacity thanks to the EDL team. The first coverage, #EatDrinkLagos can be found here

James Beard once said that food is our common ground, a universal experience (for everyone because we all eat) and this was brought to life at the Eat Drink Festival held in Abuja for the first time after being hosted in Lagos for the past five years. The event which saw the coming together of food vendors, mixologists, chefs, food enthusiasts, and bloggers had something for everyone who came to Harrow Park with an empty stomach and a full appetite.

#EatDrinkAbuja

Most vendors familiar with the Abuja festival spirit would say that “Abuja people come out late,” which they did. But few hours into the festival, crowds were gathering, holding conversations, and dancing to the music while the vendors were doing their very best, from setting up their stand to organizing their wares in the most eye-catching manner to make sure that everything went on smoothly in their stall. An interesting concept which most of them employed was the switching up of things with their menus.

Press pass gang ( gang gang )

While Waffle Stop stuck to something simple to give people an easier going and fun experience, Jaka’s Grill who has been playing out the dare of owning a food business for the past five month, used the opportunity to up his game by launching a full menu with new and exotic additions like extra delicious burgers which are so cute you could eat them whole.

We love a good flat lay. We love a food flat lay even better

For lovers of a sweet tooth, Buttercream Abuja brought their best sellers and most popular indulgence; my favorite was the banana bread which literary breaks down into several pieces of joy as you chew. Legal Tender Cocktails lived up to its name, a lawyer owned business, it gave us the sunny side up of things with drinks like a Beauty & The Beet, Mojito, Glow Up which were 100% non alcoholic and geared towards freshness, a healthy lifestyle, and tremendous benefits for your skin all at very affordable prices.

The interesting about the festival for me, apart from the cook-off, Chef Punshak’s demo, karaoke, and virtual reality pods was the cashless policy of the event.

Thanks to the introduction of wristbands, where all your monies are stored up, vendors and customers were saved the stress of exchanging of currencies, standing in queues and worst of all, looking for change! (We know how stressful that can be).

How far can your love of food take you? The answer is very far because it was surprising to see that some vendors such as Korede Spaghetti, Ette’s Barbeque came all the way from Lagos and boy, did they leave their mark. Korede, a photographer and dancer who when forced with the dilemma of having to choose between three passions, chose the stove, gave the attendees, spicy hot spaghetti and his special; Korede ponmo ( for you non-Nigerians, this is cow skin. Yes. Cow skin. Keep it pushing) sauce which came with a side of fresh fries.

Ette’s Barbeque would give the feel of home with roasted items such as plantain popularly known as Boli and yam in extra spicy sauce.

Everyone can say that they had fun in the event, mainly because there was something for everyone who showed up. If you wanted alcohol, there was the Crazy People’s Cocktails or Entrees Cocktails that came in pineapple or extreme colorful mixtures. If you wished for sugar and more sweetness, Ice Pops which sold out by the way and Yougurberry was your go-to stall.

Of course, there is no Nigerian event without the signature Jollof rice, which thanks to Corperate Jollof, wore a tie and pretty good shoes with its original taste and flavor. Pow, a PanAsian restaurant gave us a feel of what it meant to have intercontinental dishes such as Pow special fried rice which contained eggs and Szechuan chicken, which was spicy.

Not only did the festival allow people to network, but it also created the perfect ambiance for friends, loved ones, and families who needed a place to unwind and chill. Most attendees testified that they didn’t expect the festival to be so all out and they look forward to the next one, I know I do.


All images were captured with permission by Shade Olaoye for the blog and are therefore the property of That Green Tea.

All vendors mentioned are welcome to post this on their respective media channels.

For any enquires and collaborations, email us at contact@thatgreentea.com

 

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