The Artist Otherwise Known As… Quess Green ’20

Quess Green ’20, a potential American studies major, makes YouTube videos for his original channel. Photo courtesy of YouTube.
Quess Green ’20, a potential American studies major, makes YouTube videos for his original channel. Photo courtesy of YouTube.

Quess Green ’20 has the look of someone brimming with personality – he met me attired fashionably in a choker, crop top and horn-rimmed glasses – a fact to which his Youtube channel, “Queso Boi,” is a testament. Green has kept himself busy as an active content creator on this channel since the beginning of this year.

“I felt like it was time for me to share my story and my voice with the rest of the world,” Green said. “And I feel like Youtube is such a compelling way to do that … I’ve done film things in the past before, and I thought this would be a fun medium of sharing myself with other people and introducing myself to the Internet formally.”

Although Green’s channel is fairly new, he has already released multiple videos, ranging from dance videos to those covering more personal topics, dubbed “Queso’s Corner,” but all of them have the common theme of empowerment. In his video titled “ITS MEEEEE!!!!,” Green talks about his identity as an 18-year-old “gay Black Boricua” and his experience dealing with microaggressions at his predominantly white high school. We also briefly talked about his first tea time video, a feature in which he discusses issues surrounding race and social justice, specifically the whiteness of the party scene and hookup culture here at the College. The video has since been taken down.

“I think it was controversial because people thought I was coming for white people as a whole,” Green said, “but I was more commenting on the party culture at the school and how it’s very white-centered, but also just the ignorant things that a lot of white people at this school have said to me. There are some great allies at this school that I really mess with.”

In “FREAKUM,” a dance video set to Beyoncé’s “Freakum Dress” that he filmed, choreographed and edited himself, Green also explores themes of identity and race. Featuring students Arianna Ruiz ’20, Kristen Johnson ’17, Kene Odenigbo ’19 and Evette Eweka ’20, the dance video showcases Green’s talents in dance and film. Alternating close-ups, zooms and wide shots capture the energy of Green’s choreography, which has its roots in the Caribbean and Black dance cultures with which he grew up.

“[It] is the most human thing you can do,” Green said when I asked what drew him to dancing. “FREAKUM” echoes those sentiments; the heart of the video is the people and their identities, with dance as a mode of their expression. The filming process itself was one of self-love. “I had to work as a director to push them in a direction where they would feel most comfortable and confident,” Green said.

“FLAWLESS VOGUING,” filmed by Amalie Dougish ’17 but hosted on Green’s channel, similarly features black femme dancers but understands and explores identity through a different dance form known as vogue. A highly stylized and technically challenging dance, vogue originates from the Harlem ballroom scene in the ’80s. “It’s still there today, but it’s obviously more out in the open,” Green said. “Voguing is a big part of queer culture overall … It’s a cool way of expressing one’s queerness.”

The dance incorporates aspects of modeling and features precise and angular posing; the term voguing comes from the eponymous fashion magazine, but has simultaneously subverted its Eurocentric vision to empower the queer Black communities overlooked by such institutions. “FLAWLESS VOGUING” features Mia Herring Sampong ’20, Malia Hamilton ’20 and Berline Osirus ’20 as models and dancers, but Green takes the spotlight with a mesmerizing interposition of two vogue scenes. Switching between what appears to be the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance and Spencer House, Green combines the two into a continuous choreography. Dougish’s lighting contributes a dazzling effect, as the background swims with saturated tones. Both dance videos were filmed on campus at recognizable landmarks like Schow Library and Mission Park, thus making statements about the identities at the College as well as those connected with the vogue dance itself.

I asked Green what plans he had for his channel, and he told me to expect more rants and more tea time videos. In the meantime, you can subscribe to his Youtube channel at “Queso Boi.”