Grammar geeks, don't sic. That "bless" in Team You Are Bless is by design. Fraternity brothers Garrison Green, 22, and James Bowman, 21, founded Team You Are Bless on October 28, 2011, a month after Bowman's childhood friend was killed. They wanted to take action, to do something positive, motivational. "Bless with 'ed' is past tense," Green explains. "We wanted the present state of always being blessed."
Team You Are Bless does a mix of poetry, entertainment, and clothing. Bowman is the poet — and is known as "The Poet" — of the duo, and Green does the marketing. They are hosting their first event, along with Clarence E. Simpson of the Awkward Pop-up Shop, this Thursday at the National Civil Rights Museum.
The event is a "Watch and Listen" party. There will be slam poetry, music by PBZ and Trump Tight, and a photography exhibit by Mario Kristian. Kristian works exclusively in black-and-white, Green says. For this exhibit, in recognition of Black History Month, Kristian is showing photographs he took in the city's most-beloved barber shops.
The Team You Are Bless clothing line currently features three T-shirts and two crew-neck sweaters and is for sale at K'Pre'Sha on South Main. One of the crew-necks, released for Black History Month, is printed with Bowman's "Free Me" poem, which covers the African-American diaspora. The poem "Smile" is on a T-shirt with an image of a homeless man holding a sign that reads, "Penny or Smile." The pair see that man and his sign as an emblem of hope worth spreading around. "When you purchase a T-shirt," Green says, "we say, 'That's your dose.'"