Top 5 Brown Queer creatives to follow in Toronto

Top 5 Brown Queer creatives to follow in Toronto

Toronto’s Brown queer community is rising up fast and strong. Much like the LatinX community, they are leading the charge with own comedy shows, poetry slams, burlesque, drag and full-out dance parties geared towards Brown folks of all backgrounds and those are lucky enough just to live around them. Yohomo’s Arianne Tong - a woman of colour doing her damn good things in the city - spoke to a few good folx that you should follow ASAP.


Photo taken by  Hayley Hasessian

Photo taken by Hayley Hasessian

ANASIMONE GEORGE

Pronouns - She/Her

What are they up to these days?

Staying inspired, taking up space within myself, building community while building my boundaries. Also producing a whole bunch and napping. (SHADE, Super Gay Saturday, and whatever other idea pops into my mind at 4am while my eyes are shut and I'm trying so hard not to reach over to open my notes app.)

What’s next?

Whatever I put my energy towards! Meaning: I probably won't tell anyone, but we'll all find out on Instagram.

Why Yohomo loves Anasimone George

Not only is she a wonderful performer to watch, but she makes time to build her community and give women and people of colour a stage for their art and ideas. In the comedy world, Anasimone has answered the call for inclusive spaces to prioritize divergent voices to lift them into our collective conscious! And she’s like, kinda funny, duh. 

Keep in touch

@theanasimone on twitter / on instagram / on facebook
@shadetoronto on instagram / on facebook / and @shadecomedy on twitter

manghoe-lassi

HUMZA MIAN / MANGHOE LASSI

Pronouns - He/Him out of drag, She/Her in drag.

What are they up to these days?

Right now I'm focusing more on my social media and representing brands that are Desi owned, queer owned, or owned by PoC. We don't get as many opportunities offered to us (although this is slowly changing), and as someone who had a small platform on social media, it feels like it's my duty to uplift those who aren't seen because of social blockades like race, gender identity, etc. On top of the social media artistry, I'm also performing (usually outside of the village) at gigs hosted primarily by QPoC! Keep an eye on my Instagram page to see where I'm performing next.

What’s next

Serving more looks! I have a bunch of stuff that I'm dyingggg to create when I have some free time. I'm also planning to get back on Youtube with more transformation videos. I recently started an online initiative called Haus of Curry, where I promote QPoC artists of all backgrounds (drag, burlesque, visual arts, poets, etc.) and I'm planning on turning it into something bigger in the future! Follow the page for more information!

Why Yohomo loves Humza Mian

Humza fiercely lifts his community up giving them more opportunities that oftentimes POC miss out on (boy that seems to be a trend with our mocha superstars!). Making sure there are friendly spaces is admirable, but so is the attention he puts behind creating such a beautiful onstage presence in drag.

Keep in touch

on facebook / on Instagram

robyn-sidhu

ROBYN KAUR SIDHU

Pronouns - She/her/they/them used interchangeably. 

 What are they up to these days?

I've been touring in the states and organizing a youth poetry festival called Voices of Today this past summer! Right now I'm taking a short break from organizational and performance work so that I can breathe and not burn myself out! I'm such a Virgo though that my "break" is me organizing my career and still getting work done, like revamping my socials!

What's next?

I'm featuring at the London Poetry Slam on September 20th and facilitating a workshop with them on the 21st. I'll also be at the Bi Arts Festival in Toronto on the 22nd of September as a featured artist! I've also been entertaining the idea of putting out a third poetry collection by the end of the year! 

Why Yohomo Loves Robyn Kaur Sidhu

When Robyn performs her poems on stage she/they are so animated and full of wisdom you’d never expect from someone in their early twenties. She’s an old soul who brings you inter her intersectional world, making you feel a spectrum of emotions through vivid descriptions of her own pain, pleasure and other ponderings. She’s certainly one to watch on the poetry / performance scene.

Keep in touch

on Facebook / on Instagram / on Twitter

nesta-brown

NESTA BROWN

Pronouns
They/ them, the majority of the time, yet part of my life journey as both an adult human being and as "an artist" is to consciously and frequently reflect on all parts of my identity, and be open to movement and change as it arises. Which is a long-winded way of saying, some days my answer to this question changes! So if we bump into each other somewhere, and you want to know how I'm feeling that day about my gender expression that day, feel free to ask. 

What are they up to these days?

Other than talking to bugs in the park about my shadow self and biking around the city trying to find my medicines because cement blocks keep appearing outside of pharmacies, I've been healing through music, (piano, trombone, vocals), with a group of really radical humans (who also happen to be queer poc from different corners of the world) and for this my creative spirit is so grateful. I think we're calling ourselves Charcoal Trees, so keep an ear out for that. Meanwhile, my drag persona is developing a performance piece called Dirty to be captured by the fine folks at Invisible Footprints 3.0. Dirty is a spoken word piece that tells a story of the word and its evolution in its relationship with humans from childhood shaming, senior's blaming, and anywhere in between. If you're a queer south-/east Asian and have something you want to say about your relationship with the word DIRTY, send me a DM via Instagram.

Whats Next?

I want to figure out how Colour Me Now, (an all QTBIPOC drag show I've produced with Ty Sloane and House of Kings) can become more sustainable. I think people are starving for more  representation in all forms of artistry, yet there's still a major gap in bridging QTBIPOC drag and gender performers to the mainstream, particularly if you're female or gender non-binary (oh look! the same problem we're facing in all industries. Riiiiggghhhtt....)

It's not hard for me to imagine a river of the mainstream wanting to come see us regularly, not just for the anomaly of our being, but because we hold extra special stories and wyrdness that needs to be shared. Diversity has always and forever will be our strength; ecosystems prove this. I'm convinced we can make Colour Me Now a prosperous, frequently running, kick-ass show; I'm just not exactly sure how yet

Why Yohomo loves Nesta Brown

We love Nesta’s gender-bending drag king style. Great Drag Kings are so few and few between and Nesta is a true artist, embodying and embracing the beauty of masculinity, in perfect balance with feminine energy. What a bawse!

Keep in touch

on Facebook / on Instagram

rangeela

THE BOYS OF RANGEELA

Pronouns - He/Him (for all 4 of us).

What are they up to these days?

We're preparing for our final event of the year— a toy-themed wonderland filled with childhood nostalgia and fun surprises. 

2019 has been our most ambitious year to date, and we want to wrap up in a way that sums up all the gratitude we have for being a part of this incredible city and such a vibrant queer community.

The event is titled ‘Khilona’ (which translates to “toy”), October 19 at Club 120.

What’s next?

Our next year is likely to be one of critical growth. One thing that became evident this year is that we’ve started to outgrow the framework that saw us through our first 8 years. Toronto continues to be a growing hub for the queer, South Asian community, both through immigration and through increasing visibility. There’s also a heartwarming degree of non-South Asians who’ve embraced Bollywood music and the Rangeela energy as their own. This translates to a need for bigger spaces, greater outreach and more visibility. It’s an exciting time to be a queer creator in this city.

Why Yohomo loves The Boys of Rangeela

We often think pride is just a matter of sexual orientation, but equality and acceptance is somewhat harder when you factor in cultural ethnic nuances and breaking traditional boundaries. The boys of Rangeela’s Bollywood event subverts the stereotype prevalent in many cultures including Indian culture that “true masculinity” is heteronormative. Events like this are important because it builds a community of people whose coming out experience is often more complicated and less widely accepted than in Western culture. As well, we love any event that shows that queer lives cross and touch every culture and corner of the world and that’s something to be proud of and unite over.

Keep in touch

on Facebook / on Instagram


This is obviously not a definitive list, and we hope to make in an ongoing one. If you know someone in Toronto’s Brown communities doing great things, let us, we’d love to get to know them and include them in a future piece.

Lead photo taken by Hamzah Amin.

Top spots to buy good wigs in Toronto

Top spots to buy good wigs in Toronto

Spotify takeover: Fisher Price

Spotify takeover: Fisher Price