*This post was originally posted 01/29/2016 and later restored, reedited and republished. Read about that here. It may not contain original photos used.
If you happen to watch makeup tutorials on Youtube and are subscribed to some of the more popular beauty gurus of color, you might be familiar with the names VickyLogan and RavenElyse. Together the YouTube beauty gurus have combined subscriptions over 500 thousand, over 31 million views on their channels. VickyLogan and RavenElyse are just two of the collective YouTube Black who have taken the internet beauty world by storm with their step-by-step do-it-yourself beauty videos, hair tutorials, style tips and video blogs (vlogs).
Recently, both women found themselves in the hot seat— for reasons much unrelated to their brand: colorism, casteism (discrimination towards someone in a different societal caste), and a splash of sexism.
A string of old tweets surfaced dating back to 2011 of the women bashing Black people for their appearance, behaviors and attitudes. Compiled and published by Tumblr site, The Pro Black Girl, dedicated to the “survival, advancement, and empowerment of black women and girls around the globe,” VickyLogan and RavenElyse were faced with reliving 140 characters of prejudices towards their now majority fan base—Black women.
Being that I am unfamiliar with both ladies, I had somewhat of an objective standpoint since I am neither a fan or follower. I wanted to give the women the benefit of the doubt and read their tweets before I made judgment. However, being a Black woman I had something to say as the women who have responded here and here.
First off, the set of tweets that reflected the most ignorance are five years old (Vicky’s) and gave hint to the age and mindset VickyLogan was at the time. If I had to be judgmental, I would say their tweets showed nothing short of shallow and vain ideology with the dark skin/light skin remarks and the constant use of “ghetto”. However, in the midst of the controversy the question that was asked on Facebook where I originally saw the story, “Do you ladies insert your personal feelings into your blog or do you think personal feelings will hurt your brand especially if it’s not politically correct?” branched off into something more gripping,
Am I too pro-Black of a blogger for other people?
In my initial comment, I said even though I run an opinion base blog where my personal thoughts and life experiences are shared, I still have to be aware that there is a chance someone can get offended even if it is my damn blog. Although the discussion was whether VickyLogan’s and RavenElyse’s tweets were prejudice, it made me think how much of my personal feelings are integrated in my blogger brand. It’s something I think about quite often, especially on job applications and there’s a section for me to link my blog. It’s something I think about when I go on interviews and mention I’m a blogger and asked, “What type of things to you blog about?” How do you say I blog about social issues pertaining to black culture and not get an eyebrow raise? You just say it.
The other day while on an interview I answered I blog about social issues, which include racism and sexism. But I didn’t stop there. To make myself seem less “pro-Black” I threw in how I also discuss DIYs and movies I’ve watched. It’s not a lie but my tag line isn’t based off how many Pinterest DIY projects I can do in a week.
Many fellow bloggers comments expressed they avoid too much personal opinions in their blogs since it doesn’t fit into their brand. But for me, what about when your blog’s entire existence is to sound off? How do you know you’re going too far or not far enough? A fellow blogger of color comment gave me clarity,
“Well being that my blog is dedicated to woman of color I find both of these bloggers tweets highly offensive. If you feel like “all black” people are the same you are apart of the problem. Bloggers of such a high standard and with a platform should use it as such. I ask myself on a daily will brands want to work with me because I’m “pro-black” and I always find myself at the same answer… Always be true to yourself Candace. I started blogging because I wanted woman of color to feel good about rocking their natural hair. No matter what I’m staying true to that. So if that means I have to “offended” a few people along the way then so be it.” — Candace.C.
I often think about how marketable I am if I ever want to work with companies and where my writing niche would fit in. I’m not a travel blogger, not a food blogger, not a fashion blogger, not a beauty blogger, not a tech blogger, not even a mommy blogger. I truly consider my blog lane unique because I write about whatever I want when I want, which is essentially limitless. Meaning my brand isn’t one thing, so, if I want to talk about my road trip travels to the #Oscarssowhite debate to how I styled my hair and makeup for a job interview I can do that without clashing content with interest.
I won’t lie, sometimes I worry how corporate America will accept my brand since my content 100 percent reflects my personal perspectives. I don’t want a white coworker to read the time a random white chick touched my natural hair and think I don’t like white people touching me. I don’t want a white coworker to read how I stopped watching Morning Joe because of how they handled the SAE racist chant story and deflected the responsibility to end the word exclusively to blacks and think only black people can say the n-word. I don’t want someone to think I’m talking about the imbalance of police brutality to police accountability only when a Black person is the victim. My blog reflects my opinions on the world and since the world is full of racism, sexism, classism, colorism and so on and so forth my content parallels.
This whole ordeal made me think about if I ever were to gain a huge following and people were to use my words against me and how I would handle it. At the age and mentality I have now I’ll stand by anything I said, especially since I’ve started blogging. I don’t know what I tweeted five years ago at 19-year-old, but at the same time social media wasn’t as detrimental to careers and social status five years ago as today which is why VickyLogan and RavenElyse are in hot water over tweets spanning from 2015 to 2011.
Even today I mainly use social media for promotion reasons and stick to my blog for depth. As Millennials, when we first made accounts on Myspace, Facebook and Twitter (in that order) we were tweens and teens, no one told you that web footprints were permanent. It was the fascination of saying something or posting a picture and getting likes from people around the world who liked what you said—strictly popularity. Back then social media wasn’t a component to your business, it was a pastime. What was said on Twitter stayed on Twitter; whereas now, it haunts you. People weren’t marching in the streets holding #blacklivesmatter signs and there wasn’t a plethora of websites dedicated to empowering young Black men and women. Five to seven years ago, there wasn’t a big push to be socially awoke as young Black people as there is today. It is why who I was then isn’t who I am now. I’m still Kayla. I’m still Black. I’m just Blacker and “woke”.