Letter From the Editor-in-Chief: Culture 2020

Letter From the Editor-in-Chief: Culture 2020
Words by Shelly Brown
Photo by Kenwyn Alexander

At the beginning of the year we launched our Awaken issue with the theme of having 2020 vision. Setting the tone for a new year, new decade and new point of view. Never in our wildest dreams did any of us envision a pandemic that would put our healthcare system under such pressure, cause millions of people to lose their jobs, and put those of us lucky enough to be spectators-- under quarantine and in total culture shock. But that's the beauty of focusing on a new view, instead of a new you. It’s shifting perspective and creating the vital life skill of pivoting with grace. As I write this letter I have no idea what the new normal will be when this issue comes out in May. Currently we are under quarantine and I am taking breaks in between paragraphs to help my kids with their school work. I have a “girl’s night” zoom call scheduled and my neighbors walk to the other side of the street with a friendly smile when they see me coming. While the distances we keep have moved further apart, the company we keep hasn’t had to thanks to technology. Culture is literally shifting as we launch this issue. 

The culture of the South harbors a rich legacy of change, darkness, growth, and intensity. It’s in the food we eat, the way we worship, the expectation to hold the door open for the person behind you, and the new culture we were recently introduced to of social distancing. Southern culture is woven through our day-to-day lives. That same culture is woven through the pages of this issue. It is a reminder that struggle gives us the opportunity to deepen our cultural roots and there is nothing that we cannot overcome. Dr Jerome Lubbe reminds us that we can change our perspective and adapt to any circumstance, Jen Hatmaker is one of our staff’s favorite golden girls of growth and reminds us of the reward of authenticity. Southern makers such as Charles Robinson of Atsiniki Cigars bring tradition and heritage to his modern brand. We the Kingdom grace our cover before they become a new legendary sound of faith. This year’s pandemic may have cancelled their first tour but they showed us what pivoting with grace looks like with live stream living room concerts just for their fans. The humans featured in this issue have reminded us that creativity is bigger than fear. And the creative culture of the South is second to none.

I hope that when you hold this issue in your hand that the pandemic is a thing of the past and we all did it together. If it’s not, then I hope this issue reminds you that we are all in this together. Some of the greatest ideas and works of art have come from times of isolation. What will your contribution to the future of culture be?