Monday, August 31, 2015

Big Hop Exclusive—Youth Speaks Celebrates LGBTQ Youth with “Queeriosity” Showcase By Shelah Moody

                             Poetry literally saved Trey Amos Life

                                                         Trey Amos

Growing up with her brothers in Nashville, TN, Amos felt out of place. As the only girl child in the family, she felt uncomfortable in the dresses and stockings that she was made to wear to church and other outings. In a world where masculinity and femininity were strictly defined, Amos wanted to participate in the activities that her brothers were into and wear what they wore, but she not allowed to. It was a struggle, she said.
“I’m southern born and raised yes, ma’am,” said Amos. “I’m a long way from home right now. A southern upbringing is very structured and very specific. It leaves little room for creativity. During my adolescent, I was kind of put into a box.”
Amos said that her parents were unaware of her emerging sexual identity.
“I think that has a lot to do with the geographical location and religion and a number of other things,” said Amos. “(Homosexuality) was something that wasn’t really accepted in my household. But now, I am happy to be older and have positive relationships with my family in regard to identity. The transition has been beautiful. My relationship with my mom has grown tremendously and I think it has to do with my writing. She sees how far it can take you and how much it can five you. Having a child being successful in the world and doing something positive is what she cares about now.”
After relocating to the Bay Area, Amos found Youth Speaks, a forum for young artists, at age 17.
“Being exposed to 500 other people who thought like me at a Brave New Voices festival was empowering,” said Amos. “The bug bit me, and I never stopped. Now, I am in a position of creating spaces that transformed me when I was the same age.”
On Friday June 12, young artists from around the Bay Area who identify as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender participated in the “Queeriosity Performance Showcase, presented by Youth Speaks and the National Queer Arts Festival at the LGBT Center in San Francisco. During the Queeriosity Performance Showcase, singers, dancers, musicians, poets and visual artists presented their work, which touched on themes of otherness, alienation and self- acceptance. The Queeriosity Performance Showcase is an annual spoken word and performance event dedicated to young people who are reshaping the conversations about sexuality, identity, and community.
Amos, now a Queeriosity Performance Showcase alum and poet mentor read her hip hop inspired piece, “This Color Brown” (See link
“Being a person of color and a person who identifies as “queer,” the importance level runs neck in neck,” said Amos. “I want to speak for people of color and speak out against police brutality and other injustices. “This Color Brown” is meant to shed light on how people who look like me or have the same skin tone as me are viewed in the eyes of the law and the court system.”
The Queeriosity Performance showcase was hosted by co-curator and lead facilitator, Indira Allegra, who led a six week writing workshop. Each year Youth Speaks facilitates a writing and performance workshop that explores how self-identified LGBTQ youth develop a deeper awareness of their sexual identities while celebrating their queerness. A small group of youth applied, and Youth Speaks reviewed their application. Allegra described the program as an interdisciplinary representation of poetry which integrated visual arts live music and dance.

                                             Indira Allegra and AmyEspiritu

I’m really pleased with the way that the youth were able to really step into that place of risk and that place of vulnerability to be able to create work,” said Allegra, who is also an acclaimed writer, performance artist, visual artist and winner of the Jackson Literary Award.
I feel like, not only is this a writing workshop to create work, it’s really about professional development,” said Allegra. “As an artist, I can’t create work that lands in other people’s experience if I’m not vulnerable myself. I feel like this king of emotional training is valuable, and we have to get it started not at the beginning of their careers.”

                                                                      Ash Phillips

One of the 2015 Queeriosity Performance Showcase’s rising stars, poet Ash Phillips, who identifies as a “genderqueer poet,” spoke of the challenges faced by transgender youth: having a hard time shopping for clothes, people placing bets on which body parts you have and the fear of walking into a public restroom without being reported or attacked.
You wonder why I cry when people ask, ‘are you a boy or a girl,” said Phillips. “I’m neither, or maybe I’m both. Or maybe I don’t know and maybe it wouldn’t be a problem if you didn’t f-----g ask.” In closing, Phillips proudly called the names of all of the members of the transgender community that we lost this year.
You weren’t killed by black and white; it was pink and blue that took your lives. (See link .(See link

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Sunday, August 23, 2015



If you’re into electronic dance music the dynamic duo Disclosure is definitely a group to check out. These two brothers from Reigate, Surrey in England came onto the music scene with their singles "Tenderly" and "Flow" in 2012. On June 3, 2013 their debut album “Settle” was released and nominated for Best Dance/Electronia Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards. I must say that I’m not really into to electronic dance music but Disclosure really started to change my mind. My favorite thing about Disclosure is that they are very experimental. They release tracks that sound incredibly different from the one before. Disclosure has some of my favorite artists featured on their songs like, Mary J. Blige, Kwabs, Gregory Porter and Sam Smith. Here are a few of my favorite songs “Omen ft. Sam Smith”, “Disclosure - Willing & Able ft. Kwabs”, “F For You ft. Mary J. Blige” and “Holding On ft. Gregory Porter”.