Interviewed By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor
Le’Asha Julius is an actor and rapper, native to the Washington Metropolitan Area, who is serving on the frontlines as a delivery service worker.
AFRO: Tell us about your life as an artist before the pandemic?
LJ: Before the pandemic, I was a full time actor and rapper. I’d just moved back to Maryland after living in New York for ten years. I was and still am working on a 5 song EP that will be released soon.
AFRO: How was your life affected by the pandemic?
LJ: My life was heavily affected by the pandemic. I had to immediately find new ways of making money. The pandemic also happened at the same time that I started looking for an entertainment lawyer. It was pretty difficult to find anyone to take on new clients, and I had little faith that I would be able to afford any lawyer. I also had a company willing to invest in my project and now I’m very unsure if I’ll be able to receive those funds. It’s shaken me up a bit.
AFRO: When did you begin serving as an essential worker and if it was after the pandemic, what particularly inspired you to begin working in that field?
LJ: I became an Amazon Flex worker about a year ago. I was unmotivated to work a lot because I had very little interest in delivering packages. However, in between gigs, sometimes I’d need a little money here and there and Amazon Flex came in handy. Once the pandemic hit, I waited about a month before I started picking up shifts almost everyday. Honestly, I was inspired to work more mainly so that I could afford my lawyer and other bills/expenses.
AFRO: What is it like serving as a front-liner in this capacity and do you feel protected?
LJ: Serving as a front-liner in this capacity is truly scary. Everyday, I’m afraid of bringing anything harmful back home to my family. I try to take as many precautions as I can, I sanitize my hands after every single delivery. Sometimes I can deliver up to 50 packages per shift. It’s also hard sometimes to deal with other people. I’ve had people refuse to allow me to deliver to an apartment building once. I was having trouble gaining access to the building- a lot of doormen are absent for one reason or another- and two men, huge guys, gave me attitude and aggressively closed the door in my face. People are scared, and when folks are scared, they tend to respond with attitude and shut others out for their own protection. I try to tell myself not to take it personally, but it hurts whenever people are rude to you, pandemic or not. But for the most part, people have been extremely nice. Mostly its women that will thank me, or smile or wave. It genuinely helps.
AFRO: What are some of the concerns you have (if any) about your work in the arts or current employment with the state of the pandemic?
LJ: I am very concerned about my career in the music industry and in the acting world. We don’t know how long all of the theaters will be closed, we can’t get together in groups to even rehearse, film or enjoy a good performance. I’m afraid that artists may be left behind, which is even scarier when thinking about what that means for the entire world. The arts exist for the people, to bring us together, to help us cope with the outside world. Imagine TV with no new shows or films, no new music videos or concerts, no after-school arts programs. It will feel like we’re losing our soul, our freedom- the simple things that make us the happiest… Quite frightening isn’t it?
AFRO: Are you still creating art during this time?
LJ: Yes, I am still creating art right now. I try to write music as often as I can. I’m going on a lot of virtual auditions, in hope that the lockdown will be lifted soon. I am also currently trying to figure out how to film unique music videos while in quarantine. Hopefully I’ll find some cool creative answer!
AFRO: Is there anything you’d like to add?
LJ: Please remember that we’re all in this together! Your delivery service workers aren’t the boogeyman. We’re trying our best to stay safe too! A smile goes a long way, they can even shine through masks! I’ll smile right back at ya!