Isolation Drills: RB Ricks (Hardwork Movement)

Like the majority of you, all of us in the Philadelphia area are staying at home, learning to adapt to our “new normal.” MAGNET is checking in with local musicians to see how and what they’re doing during this unprecedented time. Photos by Chris Sikich.

Hello. This is Robert Ricketts—or RB Ricks—from Hardwork Movement checking in.

I hope everyone reading this is staying safe and healthy during this global pandemic. I give my thoughts and prayers to all of those who have faced any form of hardship during this time.

I must say, being quarantined has made me more disciplined than ever before. During the week, I spend most of my time working as a purchasing analyst for a manufacturing-products company. Work has helped me to keep some form of structure in my days while also keeping my mind from wandering. I’m extremely thankful to still be able to work and provide for my family during this time as the unemployment rate continues to skyrocket. 

When I’m not working, I’ve been spending a lot of time writing, working out and catching up with friends and family. This time has allowed me to slow down and appreciate all the things I normally wouldn’t have while stuck in my pre-COVID routine. 

As for Hardwork, being creative as a unit has been challenging especially since we are a nine-piece group. Due to social distancing, we haven’t been able to rehearse, and of course, we haven’t played any live shows this year. Pre-COVID, we were working out our performance calendar for the year while also, getting ready for The Roots Picnic. Now, everything has changed. With all that, we’ve had to adjust. We’re looking to find alternative ways to be creative and, most importantly, stay connected. Everyone is going through many different challenges, but the most important thing we can do is continue to keep community. As a group and individually, new music is on the way!! Hardwork is always working! 

I know it’s easy to wish that things would go back to normal while we are faced with a pandemic and economic crisis, but I would be remiss if I didn’t express my feelings about the racial injustices that Black people are feeling across the county. Like everyone else, I have been itching to go to Spruce Street Harbor, Silk City or hit up Assembly to catch a rooftop vibe, but that isn’t what keeps me up at night. What keeps me up at night is the fact that every time I step out of the house, it could be the last time because of the color of my skin. That has been weighing heavy on my mind more recently. I’m praying for all of my Black men and women who have an additional hurdle every single day. We’ll work together to get things right.

Much love, and stay safe.