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By J.J. McQueen
Special to the AFRO

For nearly 2 full years Anthony Hamilton and Raheem DeVaughn fans have been waiting patiently to see them perform. It was performance that left nothing on the table. Why did it take so long? Who did it impact? How did the artist and production teams recover? Those are all questions that many have asked in relation to the timeline of not being able to see their favorite entertainers. The answer is simple, covid. 

However, much like the days of old, many African American artists have had to lean in with one another and create avenues for revenue. For Indie artists like Hamilton and DeVaughn the pivot was instinctual. After having spent years as independent both creatives understand the value in having been self-employed. 

Recently in a radio interview Hamilton said, “once my contractual obligations were up with my previous label, I knew it was time to start my own. I had some things artistically that I needed to reveal to the world. I also wanted to cut out the middle man.”

Hamilton’s ticket partner also fared well amid the pandemic shutdown. After spending the 15 plus years as an indie artist, the Washington D.C. native’s online sales and metrics are higher than they’ve ever been in his career. 

During their performances both artists celebrated now being over the age of 40. DeVaughn said, “I’m now at an age where I appreciate the lessons of life, and it’s being poured into my music.” 

The impact of not having concerts around the world not only shuttered fans, but it also impacted production teams, security, management, musicians, lighting directors, and even the seasoned senior team of ushers at local and national venues. 

In recognizing the catastrophic gravity of covid’s impact, black music artists have taken it upon themselves to shoulder the next steps of safely putting people back to work. So much so that Hamilton stopped mid-show and shared that he’d been hospitalized December 2020 for 2 weeks as a result of having covid. He told the audience with a little comedic inflection, “people please where your mask. Seriously, I said that in a fun way, but we want ya’ll to be able to come back and safely enjoy these shows”.

Healthcare teams all around the world are still grappling with the approval of large gatherings while covid numbers are rising. However, Hamilton and DeVaughn provided room for hope that patience and wisdom still has a place while navigating uncertain times. 

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This content was originally published here.

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