Jonathan McReynolds Advice to Strong Friends Who Are Struggling Right Now


Can we all agree that 2020 has been a year of practicing patience, having compassion and improving our self-care? Jonathan McReynolds (and his graphic T-shirt) highlighted this theme during his heartfelt Music Monday performance, exclusively for ESSENCE. 

We caught up with the three-time Grammy-nominated gospel artist, who ministered to us through music. McReynolds performed an acoustic version of his song “People.” Then he smoothly transitioned into his 2018 smash hit, “Cycles,” a single off hisBillboard-charting album Make Room.

Ahead of his performance, McReynolds challenged listeners to lean into the uncertainty of the times. He also gave sound advice to those who consider themselves the strong friends, but who may be struggling under the weight of COVID-19, the racial reckoning and the financial crisis happening around the U.S.

“My therapist once told me life sometimes is about grieving rather than fixing. Sometimes for us strong folks, we’ve gotta learn how to be okay with not being okay,” he advised. “That doesn’t mean marinate; that doesn’t let it mean take you into a pit that you can’t get out of.”

McReynolds said that while it’s okay to “have all the normal day-to-day up and downs,” be sure to give your problems and issues “to someone who can actually handle them. I can’t. I don’t have a cape on, but I have a God who does. He can take it.”

Outside of making music, the Chicago native continues to have an eventful schedule. This summer McReynolds returned as a judge for BET’s hit series Sundays Best, sitting alongside Erica Campbell, Kelly Price and host Kirk Franklin.

Regarding the virtual filming, he said: “I really can’t even estimate how the actual competition would have turned out differently if we had been under normal circumstances. Maybe certain people that shined would not have shined so much in front of people [a live audience.]”

McReynolds is also set to cohost the 35th stella Awards which will premiere on Sunday, August 23, at 6 p.m. ET. He’ll be joined by veteran host Kirk Franklin and Koryn Hawthorne.

©Essence Media

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