Here are some rough parts of my final paper. I notably started with the Jackie Aina part because I forgot to check a book out of the library.
I think a lot of people don’t really understand YouTubers. A lot of time and effort has to go into production if they want to be taken seriously. What for most people is a side leisure activity can be someone’s entire career. So much drama happens across different platforms and individual posts that it can be hard to keep up with. Perhaps most important, though, is how strong various subcategories’ community becomes across thousands of miles. This community feeling is no accident; YouTubers know that the key to views is allowing the audience into your life as some odd kind of one-sided friend. This ability to reach people on a more personal level even when they’re alone creates a lot of activist potential in YouTube. It operates in a wholly unique way and has the power to influence the minds of millions of people per video.
One person who is taking this opportunity seriously is beauty guru Jackie Aina, a black feminist icon that has taken both the beauty community and YouTube world by storm thanks to her candid videos about racism and colorism in the beauty community. She talks to the camera like a friend to foster a deeper connection with the audience while educating and validating them on the issues that matter most to her. Before we talk specifically about Aina and all the amazing work she’s done for women of color in beauty, let’s break down a little bit of why and how YouTube can create community and foster activist messages.
**community of practice**
**youtube activism’s irony**
Now that we understand a little bit more about the structures in place, let’s look at how Aina specifically fits into them. Her story with YouTube starts in 2009, around when YouTube was really starting to take off. She was around 20 years old, in the military, and a colorful eye shadow enthusiast that just decided to start making videos and lean into her love of beauty. Now she has her own line of shade-inclusive foundation with TooFaced, a major cosmetics company, and won the new NAACP YouTuber of the Year Award for her work. Through the years her channel has shifted from more straight up tutorial-style videos with semi-religious themes to incorporate everything from product reviews to challenge videos with hard hitting social commentary. She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s real, and she’s an incredible artist—a combination makes her both comforting and exciting to watch.
If I had to describe Jackie Aina in one word, it would be unapologetic. She is unapologetically black, unapologetically a beauty lover, and unapologetically a businesswoman. That is the true spirit of indignant feminism that is taking over the social media world. The increased privileging of user-generated content has opened the floodgates to a vast array of opinions and personalities that otherwise would not be able to be shared. The power of positive influencers like Aina has been absolutely game changing for the beauty community and beyond. To me, this is a perfect example of the internet working to connect people and serve as a vehicle to make the world a better place.