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You may have heard of My Cup of Tea, an orange mound business and resource center for employees, in need of guidance. But recently, the business needed help with its new box design. They wanted to support local black artists.

So, My Cup of Tea announced a request for professionals to send in their portfolios.

And one man stood out, above the rest.

“This whole street can be a lighthouse for the community,” Carey Moore said, founder and CEO of My Cup of Tea.

In 2019, I featured My Cup of Tea in a story highlighting its work in Orange Mound. They provided jobs and workshops to women working to get on their feet.

This year, the work involves this man: with a new box and new orange flavor.

“We wanted to identify people here in this lovely community who have great roots and great talent,” Carey told us.

The orange mound neighborhood tends to tell its own story through colors and words.

Now, we’re seeing this city and neighborhood through the minds of natives.

Professional artist Andre Miller knows Orange Mound and the city of Memphis.

He’s a product of Melrose High School and the University of Memphis.

“My mom and father bought me and my brother a set of encyclopedias and I would always try to draw the different pictures from history,” Andre told us.

Andre’s eclectic style led him to my cup of tea. The business needed a new tea box design, so they sifted through artist submissions.

“I did this huge elaborate painting, and I emailed it to Carrie, and she says ‘oh, how is that going to translate to a tea box? Is that going to reduce well?’ And my feelings (laughs) were hurt,” Andre said.

“We loved it, but it was a mural big enough for a wall,” Carrie said.

Andre was selected by a large, diverse panel. He was the unanimous pick.

Andre is the first professional black artist to be featured on the ninth “my cup of tea box” with a Memphis motif.

“The high art circles have neglected black artists throughout history,” Andre said. “It’s an avenue that needs to be explored a little bit more.”  

Artwork made to fit in your hand showing the rich Memphis history.

Black composer W.C. Handy is the focal design, as a trailblazer in Memphis blues.

“W.C. Handy was the first person to write a song with the term blues in it and get it published. The reason why I chose B.B. King is because he stood on the shoulders of W.C. Handy and the reason why I chose Elvis Presley is because Elvis Presley stood on the shoulders of B.B. King so you have those kings represented there with the focus actually being on W.C. Handy and his connection to the Orange Mound community which was the largest and only community built by, and for African Americans in the country,” Andre told us.

If you know someone making a difference in the community, Symone would love to hear from viewers like you. Feel free to reach out to Symone via email or social media.