by Chi Ilochi
I am Chi Ilochi, and I am a Nigerian American model, personal stylist, designer, journalist, poet, and singer/songwriter. In every medium I indulge in, I must say I am passionate about all of them. It is a blessing to be multi-talented, because it allows me to express myself in ways I never knew I could. As an adolescent, I was always misunderstood and overlooked, an outcast if you will, but creating was my stage and microphone. I learned to perceive my “weirdness” as a platform rather than a curse. During my adolescence I was able to master my craft, but most importantly I was able to better understand myself and my story. I believe if you don’t go through anything in life, how will you be able to help someone else get through their adversity? I am a firm believer that we live by example, there is a purpose for pain, and your originality and authenticity is a blessing that should be shared and cherished.
I am honored to be given this opportunity to share my story. It means the world to have people support me (a creative) in such a unique way. It is important we continue to support all creatives in this way, because it inspires that creative to help another. Being “a creative” isn’t easy. At times, it’s a lonely and misunderstood journey. Sometimes all it takes is someone believing in and seeing potential in that creative for them to keep pushing and trusting their journey. This process in my life led me to Anthony.
Before there was a Chi Ilochi as I am today, there was an Anthony Miller who believed in her. Anthony was an amazing person, the kind of person that you don’t come by too often. The kind of person that you cherish and hold on to. Anthony was smart, loving, caring, gentle, honest, and supportive. On top of those things, he was a brilliant artist. Some people have gifts that can only come from above, and that was Anthony for you. Anthony brought out the best in me as he did all his friends, and I’d like to believe that I brought out the best in him, when given the chance. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.
Anthony committed suicide in December of 2017. Anthony fought his hardest to improve his mental health, but it eventually got to a point where he couldn’t fight anymore. To say that I and anyone who loved him was hurt by this great tragedy would be an understatement. But a beautiful soul like Anthony’s could NOT die in vain. As I said, there was no Chi Ilochi without Anthony Miller, and that will remain for as long as I live. Anthony was an amazing visual artist– in fact, that’s how we became friends. I was in awe of his creative genius as were countless others. I could see how much of himself he put into his work, and I knew somehow, somewhere there was a creative who had a similar gift but lacked support, funding, and supplies.
That’s how Anthony’s Art Foundation was born. It is a charity organization that provides art supplies, mental health awareness, and support for those who aspire to create like Anthony. Since its launch, we have spoken to aspiring artists about the importance of their mental health, held mental health workshops and a fundraiser, given out two scholarships to Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild (an art program Anthony was a part of), and have provided art supplies and gifts to The Pittsburgh Project.
I’ve realized in my journey that this life we live is not just for ourselves, it’s for others as well. It’s about changing, helping, and Inspiring Lives. Anthony’s Art Foundation helps carry on that vision.