There’s a video floating around the online natural hair world where Jouelzy raises the question of texture discrimination in the natural hair community, especially as it relates to sponsorship or partnership opportunities with large hair companies for kinky textured bloggers. In rare fashion, I made a response video just to pipe in that I don’t think the hair companies are the blame, but really we as consumers are more likely to support a blogger with long, curly hair, even if we ourselves have shorter, kinkier hair.
Since making the video, the comments have been nonstop – some people agree with me, some don’t, and some called me a jealous hater – but all in all, they’ve caused me to think more about the shifted culture of natural hair on YouTube (and YouTube in general) and what viewers expect. One comment that shocked me was that some people don’t support kinky haired bloggers because “4c hair videos are boring”.
In case you were wondering what could possibly make the videos that my fellow kinky haired friends and I – which we spend time recording, twice to three times more time cutting down and editing to appease the low attention span generation that we live in, and then even more time uploading to YouTube… sometimes more than once if it’s acting up – boring [yes I know this grammar is all jacked up and then some but let me just ignore it and continue], here are 10 reasons that I came up with.
10. We don’t review 30 different kinds of wigs and weaves each year.
9. Our hair doesn’t shine in the camera.
8. Our hair doesn’t shine in the camera because we don’t use $1000 Nikon 7000XYZ cameras and professional cinematic lighting.
7. We edit videos on iMovie instead of the $200 FinalCut Pro.
6. Even if our hair is waist length, it shrinks to our shoulders.
5. We don’t beat, contour, and highlight our faces before we get behind the camera.
4. We don’t all put 4C in the titles of our videos i.e., “Tips to Grow 4C Hair Fast”, “Waist Length 4C Hair in 2 Years”.
3. We don’t record daily vlogs… we actually only talk about our boring, luster-less, short hair.
2. We have pretty basic boring lives just like the rest of the world; we go to work, go to school, are raising kids, etc – and no one wants to watch videos about people who are just as plain and boring as they are themselves.
1. We talk about loving our hair as is, rather than tips and tricks for how to make it grow longer faster, or to magically (eh hem… chemically) become a looser texture.
Don’t take this list to mean that these are all things I aim to “improve” upon. I made my YouTube channel solely to track my own journey and to help inspire others to see that their kinky hair was beautiful as is; perhaps if I was in it for either the money or the fame I would put in more purposeful and sustained effort. Getting an extra check here and there is always fun, but I have other interests, goals, and sources of income that don’t tie my happiness to the number of views I have on my videos. I’m also not knocking anyone’s hustle if YouTube is their source of income, or if they would like it to be. However, I’m curious as to how the natural hair community on YouTube has evolved from simply informational videos of a few years ago to full blown out theatrics of today, and whether that change has been driven by viewers or by the bloggers.