ADELE HAS BLESSED US WITH HER RETURN

Around midnight last night I had a heart attack.

My queen, Adele, has released the music video for her single “Hello”. It is amazing, to say the very least. It has garnered over 48,000,000 views in the last two days! It is a masterpiece, directed by my favourite director on the planet: Xavier Dolan. It’s no wonder the visuals match the song itself so perfectly.

I honestly cannot form words at the moment, but here it is:

Watch it and weep with joy.

YouTube Culture

Merry Monday!

Alright, so everybody’s been going crazy the past couple of months. By everybody, I mean YouTubers. And what they’ve been going crazy over is the seemingly recent acknowledgement of the of fame and stardom within the  YouTube community and the consequences that follow. Let me break this down.

It all started with SprinkleOfGlitter, aka Louise Watson, who posted a video appropriately entitled “YouTube Culture” in May.

 

Screenshot 2014-07-07 00.43.53

 

This video sparked a YouTube revolution. Okay, maybe not a revolution (yet), but it definitely got a great deal of people that use the platform to voice their opinions on the topic. From the people in comment sections, to smaller YouTubers, even to the major YouTube celebrities like PewDiePie.

 

Screenshot 2014-07-07 00.54.46

 

What Louise was saying was that after experiencing her subscribers scream at her and go crazy at YouTube conventions and meet-ups, she was overwhelmed. She says that it has come to a point where her own fans scare her. She thinks that there needs to be a better way for famous content creators to interact with their fans in a more stable environment. What’s more important is that she believes that she doesn’t deserve the praise and idolisation from her subscribers. She used idol and role model” as the key word. Louise thinks, and I agree with her, that to idolise someone one needs to acknowledge that person’s life story. She fears that they might not realise that the person they see onscreen is only the version of herself she wants to put out there. In other words, often viewers fall in love with the person that the content creator has decided to portray, not the actual content creator. So when one says Louise is their idol, they really mean Sprinkleofglitter is their idol.

Personally, I agree with every single word she said. I left a lot out, so you really should check out the full video to get the full idea, it’s refreshingly honest.

What struck me the most was the part where she talked about how she found it weird that there were barriers between her and her viewers at this convention. Also, when she heard that a girl queued for 7 hours just to see her, she felt like crying. This was what got me thinking, for the first time, about the authenticity of the “dialogue” atmosphere the YouTube claims to uphold, contrasting to the “monologue” ideology of mainstream media.

Until recently, we’d all accepted the idea that mainstream media, mainly TV, is not a platform where creator and consumer can interact. Because, really, no matter how much I love Amy Poehler I know that there’s zero chance we’ll ever meet. However, I sincerely and shamelessly believe that I will meet Trisha Paytas, The Third Pew and Brandon Berg and that we’ll be the best of friends. Seriously. But the point is, I soon realised, after watching all of Tyler Oakley‘s VidCon vlogs, that YouTube culture really isn’t that different to Hollywood culture.

 

Notice the screaming fans screaming for Tyler's attention. Also BODYGUARDS!

Notice the screaming fans screaming for Tyler’s attention. Also BODYGUARDS!

Granted, Tyler Oakley has over 4 million of subscribers, so fame is inevitable. However, the power that be have constructed an environment where the subscribers are treated as fans and YouTubers who happen to have lots of subscribers are treated as celebrities. Just like the mainstream entertainment industry. Bodyguards, flashing cameras, fangirls begging for the famous person’s attention, signed posters and red carpets.

People aren’t equal within the YouTube community. I’m not sure if they ever were; I got into YouTube relatively recently so I wasn’t there to witness the early days of YouTube but I see where it is today and I’m afraid to say, it looks a lot like the mainstream entertainment industry. There are spaces on YouTube where there is plenty of dialogue. Sadly, this usually only occurs when the YouTuber has below half a million subscribers, maybe even less. It seems that when the subscriber count goes up, comments and tweets stop getting replies.

Louise is really on to something, and I love it. She’s one of the few top YouTubers that seem to care about the divide between viewer and content creator. I respect that. She’s not the only one. Here’s a non-extensive list of other YouTubers that feel the same way (my favourite is TheThirdPew’s, just sayin’).

Don’t worry, I added links so just click on their names to go straight to their “YouTube Culture” videos. I know people of the Interwebs are lazy, I got you.

1. TheThirdPew

2. PewDiePie

3. Mickeleh

4. ChewingSand

5. Vicky (from The Hopeful Family)

 

What’s your take on all this? Comment!

ARE TROYE SIVAN & CASPAR LEE ‘REAL’ SOUTH AFRICAN YOUTUBERS?

Good Day People of the Interwebs,

Do you consider Troye Sivan and Caspar Lee genuine South African YouTubers?

It’s Troye on the left and Caspar on the right. This was the thumbnail for Caspar’s video “Exclusive Interview With Troye Sivan”

 

Today I was exploring the small but talented world of South African YouTubers and found a video by the amazing Michael Cost entitled ‘What South African Movies Taught Me‘ and he said something that really struck a chord with me. After he mentioned all he learnt from Spud was that “if you starred in Spud, you will become a famous YouTuber”, he said something I’d been too afraid to voice myself, which is that he thinks Troye Sivan and Caspar Lee aren’t reeeally South African YouTubers because:

a) Caspar was actually born in England and moved to South Africa when he was young, and

b) although Troye was born in Johannesburg, he moved to Australia when he was young and has lived there ever since

And, to be honest, I kind of agree with him. But not for those reasons.

Okay, I see the disappointed judgement on your face. Let me make my points clear before we start throwing stones. Firstly, I don’t think that you have to be born in a place to call it home, so Caspar, you’re as South African as I am. I don’t dispute that fact. And Troye, well I don’t actually know what your family’s reasoning was for moving to Australia but whether you have or haven’t abandoned your South Africanness has nothing to do with me.

HOWEVER, the way I see other South African YouTubers is not how I see Caspar and Troye. For me, it’s not so much that I don’t think Caspar and Troye aren’t South African, that I have no right to decide, but for me it’s more of the essence of a hardcore South African YouTuber that I think they don’t have.  You know what I mean?

 

Here're just a FEW awesome South African YouTubers. From top left corner to the bottom right corner it goes: Michael Cost, Kharla Williams, Nerdzsquared, Prev Reddy, Rohil Aniruth, Tenn iBair, Liesl Prinsloo, Mark Fitzgibbon and ME! (^_^)

Here’re just a FEW awesome South African YouTubers. From top left corner to the bottom right corner it goes: Michael Cost, Kharla Williams, Nerdzsquared, Prev Reddy, Rohil Aniruth, Tenn iBair, Liesl Prinsloo, Mark Fitzgibbon and ME! (^_^)

 

Most South African YouTubers that I stalk (did I say stalk? I meant subscribe to) and love watching don’t really have über HD cameras, don’t hang out and travel with mega famous YouTubers like Tyler Oakley and Zoella, don’t get over a million views for a video and definitely don’t have a million subscribers. Heck, I’m pretty sure we get excited when we see we’d gotten a hundred views on a video and gained two subscribers.

But this is what I love about the South African YouTube community. We are growing together, experiencing the struggle of slow internet and powering through Eskom but are still making videos, not because we’ve got a billion subscribers, but because we have twelve and we love entertaining those twelve. Well, that’s why I’m doing it anyway.

So, no hate to Caspar and Troye (Troye was actually previously one of my “YouTuber of the Week” click the link to find out why!). I actually enjoy their videos. I’m simply saying they just don’t have the je ne sais quoi that I find in other South African YouTubers. Hey, it’s neither a good nor a bad thing: they’re just different.

Having said that, please check out all the South African YouTubers I’ve included in the collage I made, they’re top notch, I promise.

Here’s a list, in order of appearance:

1) Michael Cost

2) Kharla Williams

3) Nerdzsquared 

4) Preven Reddy 

5) Rohil Aniruth

6) Tenn iBair

7) Liesl Prinsloo

8) Mark Fitzgibbon

9) Gugu Béla

As usual, comment below! I’m dying to know what you think about this.

YOUTUBER OF THE WEEK: Hart

Happy Hump Day!

I bring you nothing but the greatest. This woman is fearless, hilariously brutally honest and my hero. Her name is Hart and she gives you life!

 

It’s Hart!

 

As of now, Hart is my favourite comedienne on YouTube. She is incredibly talented and does sketches, produces her own music, and tackles serious topics. She does all of this  while strongly advocating respect for the LGBT community from the perspective of a lesbian. In fact, the video of hers that caught my full attention was her Watermelon video, which was her response to somebody asking her: “If you love women so much, how come you don’t dress like one? Why are you dressing like something you don’t like?” To which her reply was…

Starts off with her eating watermelon…

 

Then you realise SHE’S WEARING AN OUTFIT MADE OF WATERMELON!

 

…And the dancing commences…

 

And what this really proves to us is that you don’t have to wear what you love. Just because she loves watermelon don’t mean she has to dress up as a watermelon…although she rocks it.

Ladies and gentlemen that video was just the beginning. All of her videos have a lot of time and energy put into them. She educates the masses about their own ignorance (towards sexual orientation or other issues) but she does it in the most unpretentious and level-headed way.  If you’re looking for an intelligent, educated YouTuber that can make you laugh and has many substantial things to say, then I suggest you visit Hart’s channel, Hartbeat, on YouTube and forget about your project/homework/250000-word essay for a few minutes.

Yes, I may be a bad influence, but if you’re going to procrastinate might as well do it right!

YOUTUBER OF THE WEEK: Sarah Rae Vargas

Merry Monday! 🙂

So yesterday I was scouring YouTube for something to watch. I admit, boredom had sunk its jagged teeth into my cranium. You see the problem with religiously watching your favourite channels as soon as they post a video is that you end up having seen them all and as a result have nothing to watch. But after much milling about on YouTube, I found a video entitled ‘Fat Girls Who Wear Leggings‘ and my life changed. My life. Changed.

Loooooved this video!

Loooooved this video!

This video made my day. I laughed, cried “I KNOW!” multiple times and laughed some more. In this video Sarah Rae Vargas speaks about the redundancy of proclaiming “Leggings aren’t pants!”, which, annoyingly, many people are prone do (I have a lot of personal experience with people like this). I loved every minute of it. She had a tasteful sarcastic approach to dealing with idiots trying to tell thicker people how to dress based on their body size. Argh. Such Magic.

Sarah Rae Vargas has her own blog and YouTube channel. Her channel, RavingsByRae, comprises of vlogs dealing with other weight-related issues that her subscribers (ahem… me) might share, OOTDs, Product Reviews and Beauty Tutorials. My second favourite video of hers is her Plus Size Swimwear Lookbook. This video really reminded me of how awesome Forever 21 is and consequently made me extremely sad that we don’t have it here in South Africa. The swimsuits were all stunning. I mean, I want to buy each and every one of them. More importantly, she really rocked all the swimsuits, especially the bikinis! I myself have never had the confidence to rock a bikini but after watching RavingsByRae, I am definitely going to consider those high-waisted beauties!

Look at that gorgeousness! I want one! If only Forever 21 was available in SA 😦

Just perfection.

I know I probably have too many full swimming costumes but this one is just begging me to buy it!

All in all, Sarah Rae Vergas is a phenomenal, confident and beautiful woman whose vlogs and blogs continue to inspire me and hopefully will inspire you!

Sarah Rae does incredible OOTD’s

Cookies & Coconuts

A tall, ten year old snot-nosed girl with frizzy relaxed hair yells at a short five year old snot-nosed girl with dreadlocks, “Wena you’re such a coconut!” To which the dreadlocked girl replied with frustrated passive-aggressiveness, “Coconut? That’s a fruit!”

That little social interaction was between an old friend and I in a rural town called Bothaville in the Free State, circa 2001. I was the short one with dreadlocks. The reason my friend accused me of being what I believed at the time was a fruit (which is actually a seed) was because when I spoke Sotho it sounded weird. The problem was that my tongue wanted to say Sotho phrases in English. The intonations were off and I emphasised the wring syllables. You see, up until that point I had been living in Maryland, Virginia where there weren’t a lot of Sotho-speaking children I could play with (I doubt that there are today).

The video I am blogging about this week is one that resonates completely with this topic. It is a slam poetry session by one of the poetry channels I have subscribed to: Button Poetry. The video is entitled “Tucker Bryant – ‘Oreo’ (CUPSI 2014)”. The poem itself speaks to my heart. It is a strong reaction to the slap on the faces of many non-white people who have ever been called either “Oreo, Klondike, York bar and Peppermint Patties”.

Bryant addresses the stereotypes of "Oreos"

Bryant addresses the stereotypes of “Oreos”

Tucker Bryant starts off the poem by reciting an anecdote about his candy-eating habits as a child. This then brings him to eating his first Oreo. He then started “swallowing them whole, while the other kids would twist them apart, licking off the cream while discarding of the brown shells. Stacy said the white part just tastes better”. This is also a metaphor for the way he perceives the mind-set of Stacy (who would later on call him an Oreo); ignorant and prejudiced towards a certain colour. Bryant also addresses the way in which she told him he was an Oreo. She said it as if it were a compliment. As if he would be crazy to be offended at being called an Oreo. That being an Oreo would be the closest he would come to “touching white privilege”.

Bryant expresses heated emotion as he talks about the issues with being called an Oreo. His opinions seem to be that; firstly, it is offensive to call someone an Oreo, Peppermint Patty or any interchangeable term. Secondly, he feels as if Oreos are tamed/watered-down black people that are “easier to swallow” for white people. He used the metaphor of someone loving caffeine but needing to add creamers and sweeteners to their coffee because they can’t stand the bitterness of the “blackness [that] the binds to [their] tongue”. Thirdly, Bryant believes that he shouldn’t have to “leap out of [his] own ancestry”. He believes that acceptance should not involve looking for oneself in others. In other words, personality is not necessarily liked to skin colour. Now. I can relate to this poem on many levels. However, there are other levels to which I cannot.

First and foremost, we need to translate the term “Oreo” into the South African equivalent: Coconut. Typically, coconuts are determined according to hobbies, preferred music genre, their English accent and how many African languages they can speak fluently. For example, I myself prefer listening to Indie and Folk music to House or Kwaito. My love for water is ridiculous, seeing as I have partaken in numerous galas throughout my high and middle school careers and have always begged my mother to get a house with a swimming pool my entire childhood. Not to mention, I have a certified scuba diving license. These are all the signs that you are a coconut, according to the general consensus of the people of South Africa.

Much like Bryant, I am fed up with the fuss over Coconuts. I believe it is simple: people are brought up in different environments and thus have adopted various cultures over time. Being the daughter of a diplomat, I grew up in three different countries. As a child I never had the chance to recognise the difference between black, white, brown, and yellow. I guess I had too many sleepovers with girls of Arab, English, Pakistani and Indian ethnicity to acquire the mind-set that would help me place labels and racial boundaries on the things I found fun, such as music or hobbies. I was immersed in too many cultures and spoke too much English. I did not eat enough Kotas, the taxis I rode in were not Quantums and my Egyptian next-door neighbour did not speak my mother tongue.

I had to get accustomed to different languages, and here are some of them: Arabic, French, Spanish, my mother tongue Sesotho and of course English.

I had to get accustomed to different languages, and here are some of them: Arabic, French, Spanish, my mother tongue Sesotho and of course English.

Whenever I visited home—South Africa—I was confronted by fellow black people using Coconut to accuse me of abandoning my roots. The age ranged form elders and aunties to my peers. More often than not, these individuals did not hesitate to point fingers and slap labels on my face, not knowing I did understand them whispering in Sesotho, that I did know how to play Dikete and that I did know how to cook pap.

Therefore the prejudice and judgements towards individuals labelled as Coconuts is unjustifiable. From my experience it is usually other black people labelling black people, which differs from Bryant’s experiences. However, the lesson that must be learnt is the same: people need to accept people for who they are. And this is presented in my own project entitled Coconut Culture which directly confronts assumptions made about those labelled as so-called coconuts.

I would therefore like to acknowledge Button Poetry for their video of “Oreo” by Tucker Bryant this week because it helped to make my stance on the Coconut issue clear. Indeed, South Africa; a country that runs on a highly liberal national constitution, and calls itself the Rainbow Nation, still has a lot of learning to do when it comes to social awareness.

Be sure to check out Button Poetry on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/ButtonPoetry. They are a channel based in Minnesota dedicated to the distribution of live performance poetry.

Also, please check out Coconut Culture, I promise you will learn something worthwhile.

As always, stay fresh.

Solange vs. Jay-Z! Wait…Beyoncé Was There?

Happy Thursday!

This blog needs no introduction nor does it need an explanation. There’s elevator video footage TMZ posted on YouTube where Solange beats Jay-Z up.

Yeah, Jay, we know it hurt.

Now most people watched that video and started talking about how crazy Solange is and wondering what Jay-Z said to her to make her go that crazy. For me, what was going through my mind was very different so I’ve compiled a short list of things I was thinking while Solange beat Jay-Z up.

1) Is the elevator going up or down?
2) How many floors does that building have, this video goes on forEVER?
3) Is that big guy holding Solange back a bodyguard?
4) If he is, who’s bodyguard is he?
5) I mean, are they all sharing one bodyguard?
6) If they are, what’s up with that?
7) Also, is Beyoncé choosing to ignore the situation because she’s above it or had the Illuminati spirits taken over momentarily?

I hope some of you shared these thoughts, although I strongly doubt it. Also, for future reference, don’t beat up somebody in an elevator thinking it’s private. Evidently, it’s not.

As always, stay fresh.