Curtis Midkiff ’92: The show must go on
photo by Kelly Allison
One of the very first things Curtis Midkiff ’92 did was recognize the isolation and anxiety brought on by the COVID outbreak in the late winter of 2020. Borrowing skills from his digital-marketing day job with the Weber grill company, Midkiff convened a virtual daily prayer meeting for people of all faiths and backgrounds.
For three months — 30 minutes every day starting at 7:30 in the morning — the People’s Prayer Circle created a space for pastors and prayer leaders to offer spiritual support and reflection while churches around the country scrambled to move their in-person services online.
The pandemic shut everything down. I thought: “I’ve got some digital and social media skills. There’s got to be something I can do.”At one point, 600 members were a part of the Facebook group. Midkiff helped HBCUs (historically Black colleges and universities) organize their virtual events and reunions. He created a digital platform — called SMOGO TV (“SMOGO” for the “Show Must Go On”) — to make sure Black producers, directors, actors, and content providers continued to have an outlet for their work. Programming included a faith and family channel, a marketplace for Black-owned businesses, and a “Justice Sunday Series.”
“I was just trying to help fill that initial gap,” he says. “It’s all about the uplifting use of the arts and technology. It reminds me of what Lakeside encouraged us to do.”