Covid and Black Arts & Entertainment (MLK Day 2022)

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.~

My thoughts are continuously on The Arts & Entertainment scene for the Black Community here in Las Vegas and and beyond. So many thoughts and concerns cross my mind and I go around and around on what the challenges that are faced and more so, what are the actions that need to take place to resolve the problems that I have identified.

I have sat on this blog, trying to identify my respectful approach on addressing what my perspective is. This can be a challenge since I am no Black, some know my background but many don’t. I have been apart of the industry from the Indie side, and not living in Las Vegas, I have witnessed the challenges of Black Entertainment.

So on this Martin Luther King Jr Day of 2022, I decided to pray and put my thoughts out there publicly as I reflect on the influence this great man had on my life as a child, young person and seasoned adult that I am now. I was 8 years old when he was assassinated and remember trying put together my simple words of sympathy in the loss of this man’s life in a letter to his bereaved wife and family. Even at this age, I understand the impact this would have in my school, my neighborhood and city.

I don’t honestly know if I can say that MLK was a big influence in how I think and feel about the rights and responsibilities of creative soulz and building a network to support the community of Black Creatives with in their region and beyond. I found that I want to have a say, a voice that people would listen to and could influence them to react in kind. At times there seem to be a strong following of creatives and their fans that mad me feel that I made sense. I had a following in Seattle, across the United States and even pulled an International following. My posts and internet radio shows response along with my numbers showed that what I was saying and trying to build made sense. From call-in’s to my radio show to emails and phone calls that from people who followed me anonymously for a lengthy amount of time, to then reaching out to me to connect due to appreciating my consistently and commitment to support Black Arts & Entertainment.

The Indie Artist Cheerleader, Advocate and Consultant was founded…and I loved it. I found my passion and purpose. It began in my coffee house, Flava in Seattle, branched out in a varieties of around the world and introduced to experienced in this Industry that inspired me and frustrated me.

I try to have conversation to help inspire people to come together and build a scene of real support and a scene that can go beyond the the regular following that attends their events or those that support by purchasing product. The conversations about building a solid and identifiable brand to promoting and presenting opportunities for people to advertise on my radio shows and website and blogs. No response or reaction…my efforts go unnoticed or not needed…something. More and more I don’t want to be SILENT and want to be apart of the solution to help creative soulz thrive and feel excited about what they do.

“Our lives begin to end the day that we become silent about things that matter. ~Martin Luther King Jr~”

The Power of Communal Voices who Take Action to Build

We are living through this crazy thing called Covid a major Pandemic that has not only effected Las Vegas and the United States, but is has effected people all over the world. Covid and it’s variants do not discriminate by color of your skin, the content of your character, the economic stands, education and where you live…It can attack anyone, at any time and any place….it sneaks up on you and you might thing it’s a cold or the flu and then something tells you that its more.

Here in Vegas Covid shut down all Entertainment…not discriminating, but I was very aware of how it has effected Black Entertainment…The casinos that was the home to many Black Entertainers shutdown and at this point going on 3 years later will not be reopening…the other outskirt casinos and venues shutdown or limited what type of entertainment could take place. In the beginning the the entertainers where able to apply for a special unemployment, some got it while more did not… Some of these talented people were able to find side jobs as they were made available but even that was few and far apart. The struggle was real and depression set it.

I tried to encourage creatives to take this time to master they craft, perfect it, learn new music or techniques, choreography or whatever things that could prepare them for the return and opening of space for them to again be amongst the people and showcase their talents. Indie Artists seemed to continue to work on their crafts…music, books, graphics and such… Vegas just stopped.

When the doors of opportunity reopened not all the way but allowed smaller venues to have patrons to dine in and be entertained….they came back with the same ole same ole. This was when I really realized that it was about the talents, but more so the need to get out and socialize and be seen. The indie scene existed and open mics and such presented the ability to come share your original works. But there isn’t a real Indie scene here in Vegas and it seemed that the Indie Scene Globally was so challenged by this Pandemic.

Towards the middle and end of 2021, there were more and more opportunities for Black Entertainment to be experienced…but more and more the masks came down and not ward the whole time in a venue and social distancing became non existent. Sadly, there have been events where people with Covid were present (possibly not knowing at that time that they were positive for Covid) and from what I can tell, no contract tracing took place or announcement made without names to notify people that they had been present where people have tested positive. Working in the health industry, this was so disappointing to me and so irresponsible.

“The time is always right to do what’s right. ~Martin Luther King Jr~

Some venues has closed again or limiting what is taking place…you can still come out and experience Black Entertainment and Events in January of 2022…but there is not much. For me, with Omicron spreading rapidly in Las Vegas and around the world…I do not know if people will heed to the fact that they can contract this New Covid Variant even if you are vaccinated.

Back home in Seattle, I have been told that the Arts & Entertainment scene for the Black Community is practically nonexistent. That many place require you to show that you are vaccinated to come in. I do not think they will ever do that here in Vegas. It would be a way of limiting the chance of spreading and contracting Covid…but I sense that they do not want the backlash of taking this approach to filling venues and events.

So what’s the right thing to do when it comes to Black Arts & Entertainment? And how can they maintain some form of income coming into their lives so that they can simply survive until the day that this Pandemic lifts?

Today, on Martin Luther King Jr Day 2022…I wonder what he would tell his Black Brothers and Sisters to do? I wonder.

I can recite some of his words, and reflect on others….at times I come across a writing that I had never experienced and I pause…so much wisdom in one man. I wish people could build off of his essence and come together and create they own spaces and standards to keep this Life that I Love, called Black Arts & Entertainment.

Lady Flava of Lady Flava News

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