Growing up, I used to be obsessed with YouTube. But what I found out when I started growing out of watching the typical “British Gang” of YouTubers was that I wasn’t relating to any of them. They didn’t seem to talk about things I could relate to, or give advice I can learn from, or encourage their viewers to strive for what they want, or put out meaningful content. When I look back now, I realise that I wasted so much of my teen years watching people do the chubby bunny challenge, travelling to YouTuber events and doing meaningless tag videos. Not that these are wrong (good for you if you enjoy watching these types of videos, to each their own) but they weren’t meaningful to me.
What these YouTubers that I became obsessed with all had in common was they were white, middle class and they all fit the “perfect description” of what a YouTuber was. When it came to watching makeup tutorials or shopping hauls, I felt left out because I didn’t have the same skin as them and I wasn’t rich enough to shop for lots of clothes. It was quite later on in my teenage years that I started looking for Black YouTubers to watch and Black bloggers to read. When we think of Black YouTubers who are women, we tend to think of Patricia Bright and Jackie Aina, since they have millions of subscribers. But what about black bloggers who are women? Can we find Black YouTubers and bloggers who are interested in studying? Or ethical fashion? Or reviewing films, books or music? Finding YouTubers and bloggers who are Black and interested in a range of different topics like these are rare. Sure there are some out there but why are they not getting the same support as their white counterparts?
Encouraging black creatives is so important. When I was younger, I wish I could’ve seen more black YouTubers and bloggers because I wouldn’t have felt so left out and I would’ve felt encouraged. Currently, I’m studying paramedic science while also blogging and it’s great seeing the blogging world support each other. But I want to see more black creatives. More black bloggers nominated for blogging awards and being invited to blog events and being given travel opportunities. Although we know that it’s difficult to reach these achievements (as we live in a eurocentric world) it would be so great to just see a community where black bloggers and YouTubers are making different types of content that different people can relate to and support.
Branch out, encourage black creatives, be inspired.