The New Normal: Artists Establish Independence Amid Covid-19

For nearly two months, the world has been adjusting to a new normal brought on by the infamous pandemic ” The Rona.” The virus, aka COVID-19, has called for curfews and mandated stay-at-home orders that have cut off social ties to those actually abiding by social distancing rules. Families and friends have been forced to communicate via video conferencing apps like Zoom and Houseparty, while those who live under one roof are slowly learning about the people they thought they knew like the back of their hands.

Dependence on others has been another harsh reality many have had to face. Though some restaurants remain open for takeout and delivery, cautious beings who have opted to cook their own meals for safety, are getting tired of having to do so everyday. Barber shops and closed hair salons have people embracing their own crowns and using Youtube tutorials in an attempt to keep themselves groomed.

Despite the unprecedented changes, however, many people refuse to let COVID-19 stop their show. Naomi Campbell, for example, is the cover for Essence’s 50th anniversary issue, but the pandemic presented problems that nearly came in the way of its fruition. The magazine and the supermodel, both examples of longevity in their respective industries, worked together putting on full display their resilience. For the first time ever, the cover took on the role as a hairdresser, stylist, makeup artist and a photographer, shooting quality photos for the magazine with her iPhone!

While some celebrities have blessed us with free entertainment on their Instagram Lives, others have tapped into their creativity to come up with ideas that will allow them to make some sort of income during their down time.

Erykah Badu has been charging fans a low fee to attend her sporadic Facebook concerts. When a Twitter user criticized her for asking fans to pay while unemployment rates have increased, she retorted, “I’m unemployed too . I’m just not bitchin about it. I created a way for my folks. But if you’d rather give your money to iTunes for my music keep in mind we only get fkn pennies. And yes I am happy…Broke or rich.”

R&B singer Kehlani has expanded her skillset and has added video director to her resume, teaming up with photographer Brianna Alysse to film two videos in the confines of her home just days ahead of her sophomore album, It Was Good Until It Wasn’t.

Still, others have been using their down time to embark on new journeys. Kelly Rowland launched her IG talk show Coffee where she interviews her famous friends. Fat Joe has also become quite the media personality and even coined the nickname Joprah.

In 2018 ahead of Solange’s album, she discussed the trajectory of her career in an interview with the New York Times. To the journalist Ayana Mathis, she said that her stint as a 14-year-old dancer on a Destiny’s Child tour ended when she tore her meniscus. Amid her recovery process, she began songwriting, which “came out of a need to express another facet that my body couldn’t.” As Mathis explained, limitation led her to discovery, the discovery of new talents that ultimately gave rise to a polymathic artist we know today.

The revelation Solange had is much like what is happening to many of us during this pandemic. The lack of access to certain people and things is forcing us to get creative, to learn new things, and to finally execute the ideas we’ve pushed back for so long.

What that looks like for the landscape post-corona is not yet known, but as people expand their skill set and become more independent, it is almost certain things won’t be the same once outside backs up.

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