Over the last few months, the Covid:19 lockdown has affected the lives of millions of people all over the country. However, in the midst of the fear and confusion, came an army of young creatives who came to entertain, inspire, and motivate the masses.
This cover is called the ‘Isolation Issue’ because it was created in the thick of the Covid:19 lockdown. We worked with talented photographers to shoot individuals via face-time and had the opportunity, to speak to them about the impacts of Covid:19 on their creativity. We had the chance to interview and feature Murad Merali, a London-based commentary Youtuber.
Tell us a little about yourself?
Born bred South Londoner and I put out content on YouTube every day! Daily and consistent! From pop culture to raising awareness for colourism and racism issues. I’ll NEVER stop! I graduated in Clinical Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, so I try to give psychoanalysis when reviewing topics to not only directly question behaviours for example but why we see it. The subconscious is powerful. Advocating a voice for antiblackness in Arab communities too because not enough people speak out! There needs to be a change, quickly.
What inspired you to do what you do?
I initially started my channel with menswear fashion but was annoyed watching a Game of Thrones and Real Housewives of Atlanta episode one night so I just spoke about both of them, woke up the next day and people came out of nowhere! They liked how level-headed I was, and I knew that commentary style videos were my thing! I had found my niche.
How has covid:19 affected your work?
Covid – 19 hasn’t massively affected my work in a negative way since its online-based. People staying at home has led to an increase of viewership on my channel I believe. And I’m extremely grateful for it. Extremely.
What was the biggest challenge of working from home whilst in self-isolation?
Honestly speaking my biggest challenge whilst working during self-isolation was trying not to work. I work a lot and I love it, keeps me busy and occupied. But it’s important to rest, relax and reset yourself. Take time out, self-care is important – eat healthily and meditate.
On a day to day, how do you balance a personal and professional life, especially now that you’re working in quarantine?
Working in Quarantine is the same as always for me since I’ve always worked from home. The only issue is that I can no longer go to the gym until they open. Balance is key – without it, you begin to lose a sense of direction which not only affects productivity but also your mood. My personal and professional life are easy to balance because they both interrelate. Simply due to the fact that I LOVE what I do! Creating content and editing is something I’ll never stop doing god willing so I never feel like I have obliged to feel like I need to work.
What are some of the highlights/successes you’ve had most recently?
Being able to master mindfulness meditation is a big success for me I’d say. I was initially taught it working in Psychiatric hospitals in Bali with doctors and patients as I graduated in Clinical Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. I’ve been doing it every morning. I feel like I’ve mastered it and it has tremendously helped my mental health. Experiencing YouTube growth is another major success which I’ll be eternally grateful for! I still can’t believe people want to take the time to watch me and the topics I talk about. Crazy.
What’s next for you on your journey?
I honestly have no idea; I take each day as it comes. I just want to help people man. I love helping people because it makes me happy. Even if one person feels inspired by my videos then that means the world to me. I’d like to do more philanthropy work.
What would be your advice to other creatives, struggling to maintain creativity and motivation in isolation?
Good question. That it’s okay to fail, it’s okay to not get the views you thought you would get, or the pictures don’t come out right. Keep working. Don’t stop. And be consistent! The power of habit is real and effective. Once you find your niche and your passion nothing can stop you. But you honestly need to believe it and envision it, you must see it coming true and then go work for it. Don’t worry about anyone else judging you or reacting to anything negative, keep your head down, and stay focused. I cannot stress this enough, the best revenge isn’t competing with anyone to attain impressionability, it’s becoming a better version of yourself that you are proud of.
What have you learnt about yourself and the world whilst in isolation?
Isolation really has put most of the world at pause, it’s made me feel extremely grateful that I’m still allowed to continue to do what I do. People have lost jobs, can’t provide for families, and fall into depression. It’s awful. Be grateful that you have a roof over your head and clean water.
How do you hope our society will change for the better after COVID -19?
We need more empathy. Feel for others and what they’re going through and ask how you can be there for people. Help them. Assist them. Even during the racial injustice all over the world that we are seeing right now. BLACK LIVES MATTER. They always will. And I won’t stop raising awareness on my channel and protesting because police brutality has NOT stopped. No Justice. No peace. Simple as that.
Check out the GUAP Arts & Culture section, to discover new art, film, and creative individuals.