YouTube is both a personal vice and a wondrous blessing. Often I have found myself on that side of YouTube and been whisked away; spending way too much of my life watching animals being jerks and monkeys riding on pigs. Yet, when I find my way back to the land of the sane, I have happened upon beautiful and life affirming stories such as the dancer Alice Barker whom I would have never found out about had it not been for this visual platform.
One of the most powerful changes that YouTube has brought about is how it has placed the power of entertainment right into the hands of the consumers. This has been the most effective way to make networks and broadcasting stations sit up and recognise that there are target audiences that need to be tapped into. It has enabled the everyday individual to carve out their own career sans the permission of those with money, power and control and has thus enriched my quality of viewing.
So I have dedicated this blog to a few of my current faves on YouTube who are totes amaze! (I heard someone say something like this on the bus once- I almost choked on my water; people really do speak like this...?!)
The first person I shall mention is known as Evelyn From The Internets. Evelyn calls herself a Magical Black Girl (how beautiful is that!) and I have been following her since, about, 2012. She is one of the very few people whom I follow, literally, everywhere: on Youtube (of course), on Twitter (yup still getting the hang o' that), Instagram and her website. Am I stalking a little? Let me answer with this: 'When a blossom blooms in the sunlight, do we really know the time upon which the bees will harvest it's pollen?' Exactly!
Evelyn is one of those people of whom I have to remind myself that I do not, actually, know and have never met. Her sense of humour is so in keeping with my own that, many a time, I have had to pause her videos whilst catching my breath laughing. I speak to Evelyn; responding to her commentary as though we were in the same room and have even been inspired to copy one of her DIY videos (I've posted a photo of my scented oil on Instagram and Twitter- it's totes amaze).
I enjoy Evelyn because she's honest, quirky, hilarious, opinionated and doesn't try to change in order to gain followers or fame. I think (and I'm sure many others agree) that this girl should have A LOT more subscribers to her channel. So here I am spreading the E.F.T.I (work it out) Love. Go check her out!
Below is a wonderful example of her humour and wit rolled up with sharp intellect and observation. Although this is not my favourite video; it's a darn good one! Hot Diggity!
Look out for the Beyonce 7/11 reference. Yay Evelyn!
My second candidate is Miranda Sings aka Colleen Ballinger. Colleen is an actress, comedian and a professional singer. Colleen created the fictional character: Miranda Sings whom at first she wanted to play as though Miranda were a real person. As the character gained mass success Colleen decided to reveal her 'true' identity whilst having Miranda Sings as an 'alter ego', so to speak.
I say alter ego very loosely for when you see Miranda in action, it will be very hard to imagine her any other way. Even though I know that Colleen and Miranda are the same person, their personalities contrast so greatly that my mind, point blank, refuses to accept it.
Miranda Sings is HILARIOUS! And she does in fact (as her name suggests) sing- very badly though (don't let her know I said that). Much like with Evelyn, I cannot pick out a favourite video yet her rendition of Starship is definitely in my top 5. Colleen, on the other hand, can actually sing, I mean professional, operatic, straight up musical theatre sing, which simply compounds the comedic value of her Miranda videos.
Recently Miranda Sings was featured with Jerry Seinfeld in his series Comedians In cars Getting Coffee. Talk about recognition from comedy royalty! To be acknwledged by a legend like Seinfeld and featured on his show is like being inducted into a secret society club (full of secret funny people...?). If you haven't watched it- do! It made my day.
The video I have decided to post is with Miranda and Colleen (together) in an Q&A session. Do you see what I mean? They're like two different people...that's some method acting Colleen...
Last and, absolutely, not least is the magnificent Issa Rae.
Issa Rae is an actress, writer, television presenter, writer, director and producer. Her mountain of work accomplished in such a short period of time (4 years) is outstanding and a constant reminder of what you can achieve if you have a clear vision and a novel idea.
I first encountered Issa with her web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl in 2011 and it was a show like none other. Firstly the protagonist was woman who looked like me, a character I could relate to who was a positive, non stereotypical, 5 dimensional (yes 5 because that's how epic an experience it was for me) image of a black woman depicted on screen. She was funny, witty, sensitve, emotional, passive aggressive, off beat, intelligent, vulnerable and most of all awkward- so awkward that I would cringe and cover my face witnessing the mishaps that her character 'Jay' would so often find herself in.
The series dealt with love, relationships, race, personal development, work and everyday life in a way that spoke to a demographic which has long been ignored and over looked. An audience that were all too ready for something like this to connect and engage them. It wasn't long before Issa Rae had not only created a second series of ABG but had also began to produce a ton of other series showcasing narratives from the black diaspora. Many of these stories aren't ever featured on mainstream film and television because it's deemed that there isn't a market for it. WRONG! The influence of YouTube strikes again!
This is the most powerful example of how YouTube can change the course of ones life and also the environment around you. Issa is now currently working on a pilot series for HBO! I cannot wait to see what this dynamic female produces next. Whoop Whoop! Yessssssss!
So my video below is from a series on her YouTube channel called The BIZZ Plan created by Benoni Tagoe. If you're looking for some pragmatic advice to get you inspired; definitely have a gander at these.
Here's the much awaited episode featuring Issa Rae herself. Here she talks about her journey and the consequences that success can bring. It's a perfect example of Issa Rae being wonderfully raw, honest and totally un-apologetic for who she is (I take a moment to punch the air in pure solidarity. UGH!).
To these 3 women (four if you include Miranda Sings...) who have been a bold, creative and totally authentic voice over the internet airways: I SALUTE THEE.
Thank you for filling my life with joy, humour and some serious Female Inspiration!