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  • Jamal Gerald

Trying to Cope

Hey you!


How you doing? I know this COVID-19 drama is devastating. Sending love and positivity to everyone. It's a hard time and none of us knows when it’s going to end. 

I needed to express myself in some way, besides posting on my Instagram stories and tweeting. So, why not write a blog post? 


Like a lot of things, the rest of my national tour has been cancelled. Yes, it sucks. 

I’ve been having multiple meltdowns. I am still dealing from the shock of it. But luckily, I have the spiritual guidance of Olodumare and the Orisas. So, I’ve been praying to them every day and it has made this process much easier. I hope you all have something to help you during this time.


Do you know when you work so hard on something? And then boom! It’s gone just like that. Not because it came to an end. But because of circumstances that are out of your control. Sigh. I know I’m not the only one. I’m also hurting for the other artists who have lost work too. I’ve been doing nothing besides binge-watching and reading. Don’t get me wrong, it's nice to catch up on films and TV shows. But how long is this going to be my reality? It starts to get a bit depressing after a while, especially when knowing that it’s best to stay inside. 


I’ve done a lot of reflecting on the hard work I put into Idol. And I started to think: was it worth it? Why did I try to be exceptional? I think as someone who is Black, queer and working-class I often feel like I have to be. I will never succeed if I’m less than. There’s no way I can get away with being mediocre. Even though I put in so much effort, it’s never going to be good enough. Which is so annoying! 


However, I have made something that I am truly proud of. I also made sure to truly grind to get my career to this point. And then it gets cancelled? What? Yah joking? I get that my tour dates could be postponed/rescheduled, but I might not want to perform Idol next year. Whenever this pandemic ends, I might be a completely different person. And no, I’m not interested in making a work responding to COVID-19, thanks. Hopefully, I will want to continue performing this work, but who knows. 


I’ve learnt not to push myself too much. I set unrealistic expectations for myself, and then get upset when I don’t meet them. I want to be an amazing performer, so I take rehearsal seriously. Even though some of the performances don’t end up being great. But, I need to remind myself, Beyoncé didn’t become Beyoncé overnight. Things take time.


Since the cancellations, I’m now feeling so dissatisfied with all the effort I’ve put into making and performing Idol. What I wanted to achieve, won’t be achieved until further notice, or ever. And that’s heart-wrenching. Will this ever happen again? Was this my only shot? So many thoughts were flying through my head. 


I’m very tough on myself. I should probably give myself a break. And think about all the things I have achieved so far, and to celebrate that. I’m trying to take one day at a time and hope for the best.  At least the playtext of Idol has been published by Oberon. Go on and buy it! If I were to die tomorrow, my work will be remembered in some way. That’s what I want to be remembered for, my art. And for also being a troublemaker, haha. 


This COVID-19 drama hurt so much, because not many Black artists get a national tour. So, it was truly important for me to finish it. Because I want to continue to take up space as a Black person. It is what it is. And there’s nothing I can really do about it. 


I know people are making digital versions of their work, but I ain’t digital. Yes, I can live-stream, but I made this work for the stage. I need to keep on reflecting. Because I don’t think it’s realistic to start thinking digitally, since that isn't my practice. For those that are currently making digital work, I applaud you. And for those that are not, I applaud you too. It’s good to just relax and do nothing. There shouldn’t be an expectation for you to make something digital.


These times have been so deep. I started thinking: do I want to make performance work anymore? I most likely will, because I’m not that good at anything else, haha. From speaking to some beautiful people, they all made me feel positive. There’s no point being negative.


Because at least I’m currently safe and healthy. And the ones that I love are safe and healthy too. I should be grateful for that first and foremost. I don’t have much else to say, just wanted to express myself. Thanks for reading. 


Please continue to stay safe and to look after yourself. 

Also, stay inside and wash your hands! 


Ase xxx



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Jumbie

Good day! How you do? I thought it would be good to give you an update on what I’m currently researching. This project probably won’t happen for a while, due to this current climate. Fuck you, Rona! B

© 2019 Jamal Gerald

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