How 'The Culture' Is Getting Us Through Quarantine...
Updated: May 10
Honestly, if I never hear the word ‘unprecedented’ again after this pandemic, it will still be too damn soon. That being said, this whole coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has really brought life as we know it to its knees. Schools, workplaces and businesses shut down, major events cancelled and social distancing a new mandatory lifestyle.
By definition, culture hinges on shared, collective human experiences so how it is consumed at a time that hinges on curtailing all communal gathering spaces has to be reworked.
The beauty about culture is its fluidity and some real epic moments for the culture have come out of this period already. It’s almost as if boredom and extra time has been the key to unlocking new levels of creativity in some people. The level of editing and creativity that I have seen in the TikTok challenges and videos online. The level of fine detail in some art pieces. The efforts that creative platforms have made to reach and connect
virtually with its audiences. Producers and musicians, particularly black ones, have taken to Instagram Live breaking viewership records and giving us live battles, live concerts, exclusives, ‘Club Quarantine’, ‘Quarantine Radio’ and so much more. It has allowed us to share this experience with the people we admire and the memes and the live commentary are often
a lighthearted reminder that we’re all in one way or another going through the same thing.
Recently, UK based organisers of repeatedly sold out events, Recess, 'the party of the people’ have launched an online black radio show called 'There’s No Signal'. Once the clock strikes 9pm, it’s hard to miss the trending #NS10v10 segment where representatives go head to head with 10 hits each from their favourite artists. It's been a beautiful celebration of the evolution of the diverse sounds of our cultures, the impact of music and the power of 'for us by us' initiatives. Even if some
of the clashes have managed to descend into yet another Diaspora War, the collective excitement, experience and re-eduactaion on the discographies of some of our favourite artists is a cultural moment. One Twitter user also highlighted just why this is a defining moment, tweeting ‘A few years ago young Black Women were being blocked out of nightclubs in Central London & Radar Radio was not doing right by the calibre of talent on their books. Now look what @rec_ess & @theresnosignall have achieved with community focused teamwork & social media. Now look..’
It is difficult to deny the influence that black people have on popular culture today and this period has highlighted it with many describing it as a ‘cultural renaissance’ or ‘cultural reset’. Historically, a number of creatives have alluded to how the practice of going into solitude has helped birth some of their magic. In the midst of all the darkness of this quarantine/pandemic era, I am excited for all the creativity that will come to light. However, as creatives, curators and influencers are in the well-earned spotlight, issues of representation, diversity, inclusion and ensuring credit is given where it is rightfully due, should all be getting attention too.
In the meantime, whilst we stay home and stay safe, we are grateful to 'The Culture' for keeping us sane through trying times!