Note from BW of Brazil: You gotta admit it. YouTube has opened up a flood of opportunities for common, everyday people that simply weren’t possible just over a decade ago. Thanks to this ingenious website, people are becoming famous almost overnight by displaying whatever it is that they do best. We’ve singers blow up and earn recording contracts and endorsement deals because of YouTube. We’ve seen people appear on nationally televised TV programs after earning a loyal following on YouTube. We’ve seen women parlay their leading roles on YouTube into the release of a brand of lipstick specifically for black women. Indeed, YouTube has become a true starmaker! To be truthful, I spend far more time searching this video-sharing website than watching television as I find exactly what I want to watch there as opposed to the garbage that free and paid TV offers on a daily.
Now this isn’t to say that there aren’t a few problems with the site as if you post a video considered a little too controversial your video can be banned. I’ve seen it often over the years. And YouTube, although it does level the playing field a little more fairly for those who don’t have a voice in the mass media, the video channel is still a microcosm of the inequality of the biased world from which it emerged. Black women YouTubers, for example, will still not attract the audiences, exposure and endorsements that white women will, as we’ve seen in Brazil with the massive exposure of white female video makers such as Jout Jout and Kéfera. But even so, the video channel that reaches billions of people per week gives black YouTubers the vehicle to reach their audience that the regular media consistently refuses to. Below are a just a few of those black Brazilian women who are making names for themselves on YouTube.
12 black women YouTubers empowering women on the internet
By Amauri Terto
Do you know what colorism is? Ever heard of the solidão da mulher negra (solitude of the black woman)? Do you know what cultural appropriation means?
You may not be able to respond quickly to these three questions and also not know that they address issues that painfully affect the lives of pessoas negras (black people).
Today, if you access YouTube, you will see that there are vlogueiras negras (black women vloggers) of different ages and regions in Brazil who are willing to discuss these issues and help other women to have better self-esteem, to combat racism inside and outside of social networks, and to question the lack of visibility of the blacks in spaces of power.
One of those YouTubers is Gabi Oliveira, owner of the DePretas (Of Black Women) channel. The 24-year-old Rio native came to understand her black identity and the ubiquity of racism in college.
After studying at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, she decided to open a channel on YouTube to transmit, mainly to black women, the information and experiences of the course.
In DePretas, Gabi almost always talks about controversial topics, such as quotas, black representation in the media and racism in social networks. The roughness of some subjects is balanced with videos on black aesthetics and hair care tips for cabelos crespos (kinky/curly hair).
Gabi says that the repercussion of videos on aesthetics is always positive, different from those whose content is dedicated to militancy.
“Of course, no one is going to complain about a woman talking about hair. Now when a woman, even more so a black woman, decides to create her own narrative, often disagreeing with common sense, then the negative reactions are much greater.”
The YouTuber sees no problem in talking about empowering the black woman through beauty. “Estética negra já é militância (black esthetics is already militancy),” she says. However, she believes that by addressing issues that are of importance to the community and little discussed in the media, the strength of this empowerment can be even greater.
“When we decide to go a little further than aesthetic empowerment, we see how necessary it is for us to talk about things outside the themes of hair and makeup. Every comment telling a new story or talking about understanding a subject through a video, I realize more of my responsibility of being there transmitting a message of courage, of strength, of questioning, of pain but also of encouragement.”
Brasil Post has selected 11 other YouTubers that deserve your attention. They are vlogueiras that have found in the platform a place of resistance and voice; women who share different experiences on behalf of other black women.
Nátaly Neri is the name behind the Afros e Afins channel. A 22-year-old feminist, social science student and passionate about thrift stores, she brings together a mix of discussions for black women’s self-esteem on her channel. With videos ranging from fashion tutorials to reflections on black stereotypes in the media, the YouTuber presented in November the YouTube Negro (Black YouTube) project, which aims to broaden the impact of discussions on representativeness, diversity and racial issues within and beyond YouTube.
Ana Paula Xongani
Speaker and businesswoman in the afro fashion market, Ana Paula Xongani has a channel on the platform that bears her name. In it, this YouTuber brings together reflections on fashion, black entrepreneurship, aesthetics, self-esteem and black beauty. Mother of a 2 year old girl, Ana Paula also offers videos with reviews of children’s books that have personagens de pele escura (dark skinned characters) as protagonists.
A trained music therapist, Xan Ravelli owns the channel Sou Vaidosa. In it, the São Paulo YouTuber publishes videos that reflect her personality. Cosmetic product reviews and beauty tutorials for black women are the flagship of the channel. But it’s not just about talking about Afro aesthetics. In her space on YouTube, Xan also proposes discussions about motherhood, relationships, sex and black feminism.
It’s from Ubatuba that Sá Ollebar records videos of her channel, Preta Pariu. Mother of 4 children, this YouTuber discusses heavy issues for black women in Brazil. “Afroconvenience”, “palmitagem” and the solidão da mulher negra (solitude of the black woman) are some of the themes of the videos of greater prominence on the channel. “There is a huge erasure of black women in mainstream media. And for us who are thinking of constructing a more representative world, even for our children to see a world with possibilities, it’s important that all blacks position themselves – each in their way. I have a camera, a space and something that no one can take away from me which is my knowledge,” she says in the channel’s presentation.
Creativity, good doses of irony and “afrodeboche” (afro-debauchery) are the tone of the videos of Neggata, created by the Social Sciences student Lorena Monique. Last year, the UnB student gained media attention with the project Ah, branco, dá um tempo (Ah, white people, give me a break). The initiative, that went viral on social networks, invited black university students to share phrases they were tired of hearing from day to day. Since then, this YouTuber has proposed a number of other important discussions within black activism, including feminicide, cultural appropriation, and privileges within society.
A novice on the platform, the radio and TV student Joyce Geravaes created the Joyce Show channel a few months ago. The YouTuber has made videos with personal reports in which she discusses (and discovers) along with her audience the significance of issues regarding the empowerment of black women. Interesting detail: Joyce dreams of being a TV host. And, motivated by that dream, she created a fun language for her video presentation. She calls it a vignette and calls for “production” relief as she were really in front of a television program.
A hairdresser in New York, the São Paulo artist Regianne Rosa created the Coisas de Preta (black things) channel two years ago. Tutorials, makeup tips and care for cabelo crespo are the focus of most of her videos. However, the YouTuber also discusses relationships and presents insights and curiosities about what a black woman’s life is like constructing a new life in the US.
Patrícia Rammos is the name of the baiana (native of Bahia) behind the Um Abadá Pra Cada Dia channel. An actress (graduating from the Federal University of Bahia), producer and blogger, she currently lives in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her videos combine discussions of Afro culture, book and movie reviews, and style tips. With good humor and not holding her tongue, the YouTuber also talks about even more complex issues, including abusive relationships, genocide of the black population and the concept of politically correct.
A student of librarianship and blogger, Jacy July has a channel that takes her name on the platform. On it, the carioca (native of Rio) shares countless tips of hairstyles and of hair care specifically for crespo (kinky/curly) (type 4). On the channel it’s also possible to follow guidelines on how to make the so-called capillary transition, in which the person stops straightening their hair with the chapinha (straightening iron) or chemicals to recuperate their natural strands.
Journalist Tatiane Sacramento has a healthy routine based on balanced eating and regular exercise. On her channel, called Tati Sacramento, she shares videos of this routine. Recipes, chats on wellness and self-esteem, fitness tips and how to always keep a black power (afro) hairstyle in beautiful shape forms the channel’s programming.
Aline Custódio always had trouble finding YouTubers who were a reference in makeup for black skin. In 2007, she decided to share her ideas. Her channel, the Preta Aline Custódio, is filled with elaborate makeup tutorials, almost always multicolored. The São Paulo YouTuber also gives tips for the care and maintenance of braids, hair pieces and extensions for women who want to experience a new hairstyle.
Source: Brasil Post
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