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.

Creative Mind Block?

Creative Mind Block?

Having a mental block is probably the least favorite thing for a creative or just any other person who wishes to get something right and expertly done. When it comes down to it, it feels like trying to push a truck full of material with your minimal strength, and still to no avail.

This has been me for the past two weeks!

I felt stagnant, stuck, and stopped! The same thing.

I have had a constant conflict between the urge to create and produce content and my current limitation of not knowing where to start or even what to do. I’m sure this sounds familiar to you. Too many have been in this boat, but the hope is that it does not sink.

Building the energy even to write this post took a lot. I struggled to get my thoughts in order or yet write this post way before time, but here I am, giving what I can. More so, I hope I can encourage you to pick up that pen, art brush, notebook, blank blog page, and let yourself feel. Whether it’s the confusion, pain, uncertainty, I hope you allow yourself to express those things in the most vulnerable way. That’s how authentic art comes about if you ask me.

But if we’re more honest, there are many times where we’re entirely blank. Yup, it’s not pretty at all, and I was partly here. I’ll recommend a few tips to help you get back up.

  1. If you have been overworking yourself, I suggest you take a breather to get your creative juices flowing. E.g., taking a nap, a walk, listen to your favorite album, call a friend, watch a good movie.
  2. Write down the stuff on your mind on a blank piece of paper. You’ll be surprised that by doing so, one of those many things could inspire you to create something awesome.
  3. Don’t give up on yourself. Only you can create what you can create. The reason it will be authentic is that there is no one like you in the world, and that makes it even better.

All the best. I believe in you.

Yours truly,

Debbie.

Biz Tea: Caffeine Domination with Happy Coffee Nigeria (& Discount !!!)

Biz Tea: Caffeine Domination with Happy Coffee Nigeria (& Discount !!!)

Hot, cold, or a cocktail, a cup of Happy Coffee is a best seller that is mixed to meet the peculiarity and demand of every customer. A cup of happy coffee is also a cup towards changing the market and industry for coffee farmers, vendors, and retail hubs and ensuring that Nigerian coffee sits at the table of global coffee players.

Photo credit: Aristomixx Multimedia Creating and giving happiness to a growing niche of coffee enthusiasts

In 2015, Ms. Tekenah, a recipient of the seed capital from Tony Elumelu Foundation tapped into the growing demand and forgotten industry of the beverage with the mission to transform Nigeria’s coffee narrative and at the same time, to alleviate the plight of coffee farmers and vendors especially with the country importing over 95% for its consumption.

Adeyinka Tekenah, CEO of Happy Coffee Nigeria, a leading brand in adding homegrown coffee to your lifestyle.

Princess Adeyinka Tekenah referred to by Financial Times as Nigeria’s Starbucks copycat is giving Nigerians a delightful coffee experience and placing Nigeria’s coffee culture on the map with her enterprise, Happy Coffee.

But navigating a start-up in the busy hub of Lagos is not all that simple, giving into consideration the unfavorable conditions and rising competitive market. Happy Coffee has continued to satisfy its customers and sustain the extensive network of coffee enthusiasts by making use of locally sourced coffee, which not only adds to the richness of the brand but also gives customers a chance to participate in the Nigerian coffee transformative narrative.

Coffee is one of the many gold mines that is grown locally, and HCN is committed to showing the world.

This indigenous brand of beverage is gradually becoming a must-have accessory in different Nigerian scenes such as corporate gatherings, literary/art festivals, offices, and homes while creating and giving happiness with their visual happy emoticon.

With Happy Coffee, a personal narrative is essential as each Happy Coffee vendor and sip leaves you with more than just a taste. In her words;

Coffee is a fantastic gift that lends itself to dynamic dimensions. I believe the human mind is exceptionally diverse, hence progressive in its relationship to creating and designing great social experience. That’s what coffee does to you.

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Follow Happy Coffee located in Lagos, Nigeria on their social media to stay updated on their progress of caffeine domination

IG: @happycoffeenigeria

Twitter: @HappyCoffeeN

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