In a crisis that has hit minority communities hardest of all, Usurp Art in Harrow has been working with South Asian LGBTQIA+ communities and artists to produce a brand new film featuring a vibrant, reflective and joyous mix of performances from a variety of artistic disciplines, including comedy, dance, songs, storytelling and poetry. Together celebrates the power of the human spirit to overcome hardship and shine a spotlight on communities most affected by Covid19. Big thanks to Harrow Arts Centre. We have been supporting Black and Asian LGBTQIA+ communities since Covid 19 struck through food, advice, and metal health support since the start (see our other work on the website) and this is one of the outcomes through bringing people together.
**Credits (in running order)**
Andy Kumar ‘Serial Ho Toh Aisa’: VJ, writer and performer: Twitter/Insta/YouTube @iamvjandy
Teenasai Balamu ‘Wait for You’: Song writer and Musician: Insta @grapeguitarbox
Raheem Mir: Dancer and choreographer: Insta @raheemmir
Sabah Choudrey ‘New Normal’: Activist, writer and psychotherapist: Twitter @SabahChoudrey / Insta @sabah.c / www.sabahchoudrey.com
Abhijeet Rane ‘MAA”: Drag artist: Insta/Twitter @bon_abhijeet
Neelu Bhuman ‘More Love less prepackaged bullshit’: Artist film-maker: https://filmsofneelu.com
Seema Mattu ‘Gay Superhero’: Artist and film-maker: www.seemamattuworld.com
Teenasai Balamu Meant to be Yours’.
Created by Usurp Art – see more about the Together project www.usurp.org.uk
Commissioned by Harrow Arts Centre
Kindly funded by Harrow Arts Centre and Community Fund
All artists rights reserved
More about some of the artists in their own words:
Abhijeet is a multimedia drag artist from Mumbai, based in Chicago. Inspired by high fashion, Bollywood pop culture and camp they use drag in combination with photography, video and music to produce larger than life experiences. Abhijeet is also a founding member of A Queer Pride, an LGBTQ community and events organization in Chicago.
Sabah Choudrey is a reluctant activist on most things trans, brown and hairy. Public speaker, shy writer and psychotherapist in training. Proud trans youth worker since 2014, current Head of Youth Service at Gendered Intelligence, trustee of Inclusive Mosque Initiative and co-founder of Colours Youth Network supporting LGBT+ BPOC young people in UK. Top three passions right now: carving out spaces for queer Muslim family, making friends with cats and taking selfies from bad angles.
Teenasai Balamu is a queer, indie musician based in London, UK (formerly based out of Bangalore, India). They perform under the stage name GrapeGuitarBox. What started out as a simple cover series on YouTube, has built a reputation for putting an interesting twist on popular music. With their music, Teenasai wishes to create a space safe from labels, judgement, and discrimination; a space for all the misfits. As a queer person, Balamu says “I wanted to make queer music videos. And I wanted brown people in it. Growing up, I didn’t find queer people who looked like me and often felt isolated. I believe that visibility is super important.”
Most recently, they’ve been releasing singles off their debut EP ‘Out’, that musically illustrates stories of heartbreak, toxic relationships, hope, queerness, and the uncertainty of death, all tied together with the overarching concept of love. They’ve been picked up by Spotify Editorial Playlists over 5 times, and have been featured in multiple media outlets like Rolling Stone, The Hindu, Deccan Herald, etc. More recently they also gave a TEDx talk on non-binary identities. Through their music, they want to start a conversation on queerness, mental health, being a person of colour, and the important role visibility plays in the career of a queer artist, and how it can make a huge difference to someone who is closeted.