Friday, May 16, 2014

Texture Discrimination?? Or Defeatist Mindset??

Okay y'all.  If you follow any of the popular natural hair blogs, I'm sure you've heard by now about the video titled, "So Over The Natural Community & Texture Discrimination," by popular YouTuber Jouelzy.  Essentially, Jouelzy is arguing that YouTube content creators with a kinkier hair texture will never be as popular as YouTubers with looser textures because that is what the majority of those in the natural hair community prefer to look to for information and inspiration.  From what I was able to gather, Jouelzy feels like she should be more of a household name in the community because of the size of her subscriber base and the quality of the content she produces.  On one hand, I can understand that.

I am a YouTube content creator myself, so I understand how frustrating it can be when you spend three and half hours shooting and reshooting footage for a video, then another three sitting in front of your computer or laptop cutting and rearranging tracks, adding background music, voice overs, picture in picture effects, captions, and not to mention creating custom thumbnail images in an entirely different program, just to watch it sit on the internet and get an average of 20 views a month.  That can be seriously disheartening.  And one can't help but to wonder what the reason for the seemingly disinterested audience might be.

But there is a fundamental part of her argument that I can't help but take issue with.  By arguing that she isn't as popular as she feels she deserves to be because of her hair texture, Jouelzy comes off a bit defeatist to me.  There seems to be an underlying assumption that people are intentionally avoiding videos that feature kinky-haired or 4c naturals.  I just don't think that's true.  It is up to the YouTuber to create content engaging and eye catching enough, and on trend with what people are searching for to be successful.  If the hot style of the month is a 3-strand-twisted-bantu-knot-out and you're posting "How To Do a Two Strand Twist" tutorials, the vast majority of natural hair-related traffic will not be seeing your video.  There is quite a bit that goes into optimizing a video for maximum views.

Besides all the technical skills it requires for one to make visually appealing videos, there is also a personality element.  To her credit, Jouelzy does address this briefly toward the end of her video.  She states that she understands that her personality may not be compatible with many people, but essentially, it shouldn't matter because of the quality of the content she makes.  To an extent, there is some truth to her statement, but I think it downplays how important it is to be able to connect with a wide range of personality types if you want to appeal to an extremely broad audience.  Jouelzy has what I would describe as an "in your face" personality.  She speaks rapidly and loudly.  Sometimes that makes it difficult for me to understand just what she is saying.  She also has no problem using profanity in her videos.  These characteristics may be why she doesn't appeal to as many people as she thinks she should.  I can't presume to know for sure, but that is my experience.  I enjoy the content she produces, but I simply can't subscribe to her because he personality is way too much for me.  I'm pretty sure there are other natural women out there who feel similarly.

Then there is also the motivation factor to consider.  People like to support YouTubers who they feel genuinely care about connecting with and providing good content for them.  If you say that the only reason you started your channel was to receive free products, people won't feel like you're posting for them, you're posting for companies.  And whether the opinions expressed in the review are honest or not, if the motivations are perceived as being dishonest, you've pretty much already shot yourself in the foot.

There have been a ton of response videos posted on YouTube since Jouelzy originally uploaded her rant, and some of the responses have lead me to think there isn't really a discrimination issue so much as there may be one of a defeatist mindself. Kinksgalore, another YouTuber, stated in her response that people don't want to see "thin, kinky hair" like she has.  I take issue with that because I, myself, have very thin kinky hair.  But I never wear weaves, wigs, or extensions of any kind, and only flat iron my hair a couple times a year.  I'm PROUD of what grows from my head and that radiates from me.  My followers don't seem to have a problem with MY thin hair.  They celebrate it along with me because I see no need to hide it, and would rather learn to work with it to make it thrive.

At the end of the day, I think we can all achieve whatever we desire to.  And if 80k+ followers aren't enough for Jouelzy, she can kindly send them my way!!!


  1. Hey! I'm glad I finally got to check out your blog :) My next step is your YouTube channel.
    I agree with what you're saying. I watched some of her videos and I was glad when I first found her. As a 4c girl I do not see that many 4c vloggers. At first, it was a bit discouraging. There are more and more of them popping up but most of them end up wearing wigs and not showing how they care for their hair.

    There are some negatives outlooks on 4c hair and, from my experience, the natural community and the black community hold most of these views. Since I've moved to San Diego I've gotten showered with compliments. Everyone loves my hair and wants to touch it and wishes they had hair like mine. Living in the DC Metropolitan area, that was not that case.

    I feel Jouelzy's pain but her style is a bit abrasive and that's probably why she's not as popular as she would like. You said it, "people like to support YouTubers who they feel genuinely care about connecting with and providing good content for them." Out of all of the YouTubers I've watched, I don't feel like she cares or posts to help others.People can sense passion and selfishness. Her abrasiveness and language (she doesn't curse a lot but still) makes me not want to watch her. I've found other YouTubers that I enjoy and only watch her videos every so often.

    1. Hey Beautiful! Glad you like the blog and thanks for commenting. I definitely know what you mean about living in the DMV. One second I get a woman asking how I got my hair like that and the next I get someone asking me what I'm going to do with it. And there definitely aren't as many "4c" vloggers as there maybe should be but I don't think we can completely blame it on discrimination. A real part of the problem is just that there aren't as many women with kinky hair posting youtube videos. But I can honestly say kinky hair is beautiful to me and when I first went natural I actually wished for kinkier hair than I have. (I was always watching Bronzeqt and blakizbeatyful and blackonyx) So the idea that absolutely everyone who watches natural hair videos prefers looser textures is ridiculous.

  2. very nice blog post on this topic. I was seriously bothered by the video when I saw it the day it posted. I absolutely love her smartness and her tech series but this attitude of blaming others I could not get with nor can I get with an attitude that won't accept constructive 'criticism' from well meaning folks who are trying to help. I appreciate ur blog post b/c it expresses my sentiments very well. Thanks for posting and sharing this and stating ur observations in a very positive way.

    1. Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it! This topic sparked up so much debate around the web I kind of felt like I had to say my piece as well. lol. I hope you'll check out my youtube channel as well. :D

  3. I love your blog,also your youtube!!Please keep doing it!Thanks for your sharing!

  4. I agree your sayings,i will see your youtube!very nice blog!