Note from BW of Brazil: Today’s post should NOT be seen as a followup to a similar piece featured here a few days ago, also about black Brazilian women making the most of the online video sharing site YouTube as a forum to reach other black women to initiate dialogue on topics this segment of the population finds important. But it certainly could be seen as such.
That previous piece approached the fact that black women YouTubers cannot compete with the popularity of white women YouTubers, at least in terms of numbers of followers and sponsorships. But in a Brazil in which white women dominate nearly all things feminine in a very Eurocentric country, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. But exploring the possibilities of YouTube means a lot more to black women who have been made invisible in Brazil’s media for decades. Below, Rebeca Nascimento, a relative newcomer to the world of YouTube, explains why.
Black women and YouTube: It’s not for popularity, it’s for visibility
By Rebeca Nascimento – Originally posted at Blogueiras Negras
I decided to start a new project. I graduated in journalism in December 2008 and because of the various turns my life has taken, one of them including a daughter who is now six years old, it took me a while to find myself in the labor market. After working with advice in a public organ and some freelance in the area, I discovered on YouTube a way to put into practice my profession and to adding to this a militancy that this time is more than present in my life.
The idea of having a channel had been active in my head from the beginning of this year, but my experience with video was limited to college and some works of the time and we would match with many things that have changed in this world since I got that red straw and threw the hood up. Life is also not limited to lattes.
Before launching the channel, I decided to study the platform and black vlogueiras (vloggers) that were already in it longer. It’s not necessary to search much to realize the greatness of content in most channels presented by meninas negras (black girls) that lack of visibility and that they have been there for a long time dedicating themselves, with a captive audience, but that still haven’t yet reached a large number of views. I accepted my own challenge to cast my channel. Beca com Cê went on the air in May of this year still with no certainty of what was to come, but I found myself willing to continue working hard to achieve my goal.
When I started planning the channel, I realized I needed to have good equipment, have the minimum notion of video editing and none of this was within my reach. I had the opportunity to call some producer friends who stuck with me on the project, but in spite of having everything organized, there came the challenge of organizing the agendas and what I was going to say. I knew I wanted something feminist, black and that I would talk about our agendas in a light and didactic way.
It was really difficult when I saw the camera. The channel’s first video took more than an hour to be recorded and brought a result of a little over five minutes. The embarrassment was great. I was super shy. A thing that was gradually decreasing. I see a big difference from the first two videos that are on the channel to what’s been put there more recently. This week I recorded two videos that I will still air and recorded both on the same day in half an hour.
It’s all flowing easier and more natural, but it was necessary to start. As many difficulties as we run into, seeking some alternatives is important. In this time of one month, I realized how much content we have to present and how much the lack of visibility affects us, but being there is to demand. Managing to get the work seen and known on the Internet is very difficult. I realized gradually that being a black woman and a YouTuber is a revolutionary act. It’s far from the spotlight.
There is a differential and a very glaring gap at analyzing the proposals presented on YouTube Brasil. The country’s biggest YouTubers are respectively Kéfera Buchmann (that one who does black face and has transphobia) and Jout Jout. Meninas brancas (white girls) who are well satisfied with their jobs and their millions of followers (yes, I said millions). Their videos stroll by as entertainment, which is not something bad or illegitimate, but it’s necessary to place the work of recording of meninas negras with very different material.
I realize that most of us are on YouTube talking about the black aesthetic, the daily struggles and empowerment. There are comments about entertainment, but it’s as if we found in video a way for us to shout out our concerns and observations and be seen. More than that, we’ve also arrived at that fateful point that we realize that most of us find in YouTube a working tool and a possible and necessary compensation which for most white girls really starts with the desire to be better known and become more popular people. For us the thing works in a less playful way.
I honestly still don’t quite know what direction my work will take, but I know that for things to really work even for us, we need each other and that this work of strengthening should be for greater visibility of causes, for less racism in networks and for ourselves.
Highlighted images taken from the ‘Beca with Cê’ YouTube channel
Source: Blogueiras Negras