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.
Namarah: 2020 has proven itself time and time again to be the year I will always remember. Ironically, I felt the urge in my heart early March that this year was going to have a lot of huge moments; I’m sure some other intuitive folks felt the same way. That’s when we all began to quarantine and stay home. During that time, and even now as we try to navigate the phases of reopening the city of Philadelphia, I’ve learned that being present is hella important but hella hard and that I actually have no idea how to relax. I guess you could call me a doer, but I have watched myself now (because what else is there to do?) get up multiple times in a day to start a project and finish it, sit for max three minutes before getting up and doing something else. Many have called me the busy body. I used to be offended and claim, “That’s not me. I’m not that busy” I’m throwing out the flag on this one: IT ME. I see myself.
During this period of quarantine, I have been forced to truly see myself and redirect my energy. Which inturn has allowed me some amazing creative moments; I paint more often, using watercolor on canvas and paper or on whatever is around. I don’t start with a plan. I go with the flow of how I’m feeling that day. It’s become a great meditative process for me since I am teaching myself how to settle my mind and body. I have had the pleasure of collaborating virtually with friends and strangers; one song in particular is now featured on Fuel The Fight 2, a local collab album for essential workers. You can find the song “Keep On” there; we wrote it for fun, and something beautiful came out of it. I love those moments.
While I teach myself to relax, I also have been allowing my superpower of throwing myself into work to push forward in building community. I truly believe the best work comes when individuals come together and create spaces for new innovative ideas to flow. With this in mind, I can’t help but look forward to today’s launch of Deia Tribe, a week of virtual experiences for creatives to connect, lasting until July 11. There are coaching sessions, music exchanges, conversations, dance classes and even virtual concerts. I’ve partnered with creatives based in Philadelphia and beyond, and I can’t help but smile ear to ear just thinking about it.
The word “deia” is an anagram for “idea” and also means new perspective—it came to me a few years back when I was in college and stuck with me. The Deia Tribe is the medium in which all my work flows. I write music, produce events and create with the community in mind. As we all were inside our homes, some of us were the most isolated we have been in our entire lives, I couldn’t help but wonder, “What does it look like for a community to connect digitally?” Deia Tribe is for all those who know that they need to break free from isolation in order to grow, thrive and embrace who they are.
The time we take to embrace who we are happens at the rate of how many people who are in our life pour into our heart and spirit. As I stayed inside, I saw on the internet how quickly our society ran to Instagram Live to fill that void of community. I saw how we had deeper conversations and focused intentions. I saw how we, across the globe, rallied and marched for justice and continued to push forward for equity and equality. We would not have had these moments without the stay-at-home order.
It’s a dark time, and yet, I find myself wanting to shine brighter with hope and love each day despite it. My creativity has expanded in ways I couldn’t have imagined, and if it were not for the ones in my life who chose to love me and seek me out when I was quietly being my busy-body self, I would have stagnated. Thankfully, the universal truth of “it takes a village” is real, but villages don’t just raise children. They raise cities and people, strength and love—and, most of all, new ideas for the future.