These Days of Our Lives
Do we now live our lives through LIVES?
Not only is that sentence a great example of how confusing the English language can be with its homographs, homonyms, and homophones, but it’s also true. Instagram has seen an influx of users during the pandemic and its parent company Facebook reported an 11% increase in revenue for the first 6 months of the pandemic.
During COVID-19 lockdowns, the world turned to Instagram Lives to bring joy to their lives and content creators did not disappoint!
Live with our Lives
Local entrepreneur Jordan English had thousands of Barbadians glued to their phone screens for the first National Lockdown in 2020 and has continued to captivate audiences an entire year later.
He has even turned his entertainment product into a multi-dimensional platform where he promotes other creatives, content creators, and businesses as well as his activist work.
However, not every live has thousands of viewers. Some garner less than 50 but are hosted by individuals who have a genuine love for what they do. In this section, we will be highlighting some of those hosts and moderators keeping their smaller niche audiences entertained. One such individual is Yekini Nurse, host and creator of ChatwithKeenz.
Chat With Keenz
ChatwithKeenz is a talk show initially intended for YouTube and was inspired by day-time network talk shows such as The Ellen Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show. In my interview with Yekini Nurse he said the show was a selfless endeavor where he wanted to give his lesser-known creative peers a chance to showcase their work and be promoted.
“When I have a guest I try to get as much information as possible out of them, so the people watching could understand who these artists are and not just what they do”
He articulated some of his concerns about the succession plan for many shows on CBC TV 8 and on the radio, stating that many of them do not incorporate hosts from a younger demographic. He has aspirations of filling this gap and someday having a larger scaled show where he can focus on mental health amongst young males with a psychologist.
For Yekini the show is a labor of love designed to help and assist the artists doing work that he loves or believes others will love if they had the opportunity to experience it.
His next show will be on Monday, March 22nd, and will be featuring the songstress Krisirie.
Oh My Word! Open Mic
Oh My Word! is a now online open-mic show that was once held in The Happitude Restaurant Bar every Wednesday. The show is hosted by one of the unofficial freestyle kings of Barbados RhyMinister whose real name is Keoma Mallet.
In my chat with Keoma, he said he would still do an Instagram Live version of the show even if there was no COVID-19. He stated the pandemic has given him the unexpected gift of having performers from abroad take part in the show consistently. His show is truly a niche product loved by his audience and when asked what was his biggest moment thus far he responded with this
"Being sick and getting online late to host the show one night, after considering calling it off, and getting all the love and support from everyone in the chat, especially finding out that some were constantly refreshing and checking their IG to see if the show had gone online that night."
As someone who has attended the show in person and online, I can absolutely attest to the authentic feel of the event. Many of the performers and audience members know each other and there is a mist of friendliness clouding the fact that you have been staring at your phone screen for hours. The more I spoke with him the clearer it became that he had a passion to create a platform for artists consistently.
Consistency was the key ingredient in the food for thought he gave me. For him, the process of creating the show mirrors his own life as artists discover new audiences, he discovers more about himself.
You can time-travel through this video to a time when we were once outside and also check out Oh My Word! by clicking here.
CiTea? City? A homophone in the title itself? LOVE it!
CiTea is an interview-based Instagram Live series hosted by singer/song-writer Samaria who is known on Instagram as City of Samaria. She has definitely done her market research on the very saturated area of Instagram Lives and has chosen to take a more penetrative approach to her interviews, burrowing deep into the minds of our "Faves". As she explores the right brain of her guest, she gives her viewers an opportunity to see how the art they love is created. Although her show may be small in scale it has uncovered a gargantuan overlooked truth, which is that even if you are a "big" artist, you are still human.
"Some of the people I have interviewed said things I'm concerned about when it comes to my career. It is very valuable to find out that people you admire and look up to struggle with similar issues as you. It makes you feel more seen."
She served some tea in our interview and revealed that she has aspirations to turn the live into a broadcast show!
COVID-19 confined us to our homes and inadvertently gave birth to dreams and passions. These lives may be in their infancy for now, but with time they will grow into mature cultural products.