As connecting and communicating starts to change, so, too, does the way we consume entertainment. YouTube has become a huge platform for disseminating new content. It not only allows everyday people like you and me to share our thoughts, knowledge, and skills, but also offers a platform to increase visibility for people who might otherwise not have their voice heard in mainstream media.
So, without further ado, here are five YouTubers (and their shows) I’m completely addicted to, and reasons why you should check them out.
Known for: The Guild, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog
Types of videos: Mostly some variation of comedy and vlog, usually in relation to video games and other “nerd” interests; some DIY; also part of scripted show “The Guild.”
Reasons to love her: Felicia Day is easily among the cutest people ever. Seriously. Ever. I was obsessed with her the moment I saw her in “The Guild,” her web series where she stars as Codex, a dedicated player to a massive multiplayer online roleplaying game (aka MMORPG), similar to World of Warcraft. In real life, Felicia does play World of Warcraft, and I got into the show when I played, too.
Felicia Day is a video game junkie and she represents women who are immersed in nerd culture, and does it well. It helps that she’s a total badass at the games she plays. From her web series, she was able to launch an entire website, Geek & Sundry, complete with daily video updates which often star other self-described nerds, like Chris Hardwick (of The Nerdist website and podcast), Wil Wheaton (who used to be on “Star Trek”), and some of her “The Guild” castmates. Felicia is down-to-earth, cute, and completely honest in her videos, which make her channels addicting.
Known for: Shit White Girls Say… to Black Girls
Types of videos: Comedy, satire, vlog, sketch comedy, beauty tutorials
Reasons to love her: You may have heard of Franchesca when her video “Shit White Girls Say… to Black Girls” went viral back in 2012. It was funny, honest, and a startlingly accurate depiction of some of the racial issues that still exist in today’s society. That video now has more than 10 million views, and Franchesca has built a rather large following.
Franchesca has got three channels now, one that focuses on skits and sketches, one that showcases her vlogs, and one offering tips for natural hair. Most recently, she started collaborating with Tracee Ellis Ross, who starred on BET’s “Girlfriends” for 8 years. Perosnally, I love Franchesca’s television reviews; her commentary on “Girls” sometimes has me crying from laughing so hard.
Other videos to check out: High School Hottie, a totally accurate satirical analysis about double standards for young men versus young women; He Said, She Said, ongoing TV reviews (for shows like “Girls” and “Scandal”)
Known for: The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl
Her channel(s): Issa Rae
Types of videos: Scripted comedies, dramas
Reasons to love her: Issa Rae is a pioneer. Her web series, “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl,” was her attempt to bring attention to the fact that mainstream media portrayals of people of color is lacking — and it was wildly successful. For her work, Issa won a 2012 Shorty Award for Best Web Show (which was not without its controversy), and Pharrell Williams invested in the second season of her show, which he invited to air on his Google Channel “i am OTHER.” (Season 2 started to air in summer 2012.)
Now, Issa is trying to produce a plethora of new material featuring people of color — but I’ll never get over my first love, “Awkward Black Girl.” The show does deal with race issues, and very real ones at that, but it’s also about the life of a young woman and love, friendship, and office antics.
Other videos to check out: I recommend the entire Awkward Black Girls series. So good.
Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Known for: Lizzie Bennet Diaries
The channel(s): Lizzie Bennet
Types of videos: A scripted, modern day interpretation of Jane Austen’s famed novel, “Pride and Prejudice”
Reasons to love it: First off, I’m a huge fan of “Pride and Prejudice.” It’s the perfect combination of dreamy romance and smart ladies kicking ass and classic literature — so it ranks among my favorite novels, which is hard to do, because I read a lot. So it makes perfect sence that I’d be head-over-heels for a modern day interpretation of a book I already love.
Basically, it stars Lizzie Bennet as a 24-year-old grad student documenting her life via video diary. We get everything we would from the books, except in modern form. Also: people of color play Charlotte, Caroline, AND Bing Lee, yay! Each video is around 3 to 3.5 minutes long and it gives us a peek into what Lizzie Bennet would be like were she to exist today. There are 100 videos total, but I breezed through the first 20 like it was nothing because they were so good. I’m now on video 67, and I’m trying to drag this out as long as I can because I don’t want the series to end.
Other videos to check out: Alas, since this was based off of a novel with a definitive ending, the series has come to a close. But do check out what each of the actors is up to!
Known for: Her roles in SNL and “Parks and Recreation”
Her channel(s): Smart Girls at the Party
Types of videos: Advice, interviews with young girls doing awesome things, feel-good humor
Reasons to love her: It’s possible I’m madly in love with Amy Poehler. If you don’t know her from SNL, then perhaps you’ve seen her on the best show of all time “Parks and Recreation” as the bubbly, positive, and adorable Leslie Knope.
But did you know she also self-identifies as a feminist and wants to do great things for young girls? Cue “Smart Girls at the Party,” a collaboration between the wonderful Amy Poehler and her friends, Meredith Walker and Amy Miles. Each episode features the threesome interviewing young girls about their interest, before it concludes with “hard-hitting questions” (like “Dogs or cats?”) and epic dance parties (usually with cameos from other super awesome famous people).
On top of that, Amy also does several other videos, all of which focus on positivity, feeling good, and encouraging young girls to do great things. It’s totally dreamy and I’m not embarrassed to admit I watch “Ask Amy” when I’m feeling down — it always makes me feel much, much better.
Any YouTubers you love?
- World of Warcraft Karaoke With Felicia Day and Jimmy Fallon (geeksugar.com)
- Favorite Web Series (kristinjeaneen.wordpress.com)
- YouTube Comedy Week (technoteamblog.wordpress.com)