Does “Texture Discrimination” Affect the Success of Naturals on YouTube and Social Media?

kinkyvscurly

NOTE: Though the word “texture” is actually a term that describes strand thickness (i.e., fine vs. medium vs. thick), it is sometimes loosely used in place of hair “type” (i.e., curly vs. kinky vs. coily).

Several days ago, a video by Jouelzy entitled “So Over the Natural Hair Community & Texture Discrimination” popped up on my subscription feed. Intrigued by the title, I watched her video, which actually raised some good points. To super summarize, she discusses how kinky-haired naturals have much less support from hair companies and fewer clicks/views/shares than curly-haired naturals. You can check out her video below:

Klassy Kinks, another 4C natural on YouTube, recently did a response video, which was also interesting. To summarize her video, she speaks more on the reality that kinky-haired naturals have less support and views because those with the same texture tend to follow more curly-haired naturals. You can check out her response video here:

Not too long ago, I did a BGLH post on 10 Kinky-Haired Naturals You Should Check Out on YouTube.” I, in part, did this post because 4B/4C’s tend to have a hard time finding “watchable” naturals with our hair type. (Remember the word “watchable”; I will come back to that soon.) Many of the ladies I posted – and there are so many more – have few views, few shares, and less than 10,000 subscribers. Alternatively, if you look at curly- or coily-haired naturals like Naptural85 (433,000+), SunKissAlba (366,000+), MahoganyCurls (216,000+), or TarenGuy (204,000+), their subscribers are well over 200,000 and their views are through the roof. Few kinky-haired naturals, probably as much as I can count on one hand, hit 100,000 or more subscribers, and this includes AfricanExport (145,000+) and maybe Nikkimae2003 (151,000+). Why is this, and does it have to do with texture discrimination?

In my honest opinion, I believe both Jouelzy and Klassy Kinks have very valid points on why fewer kinky-haired naturals get product sponsorship, views and shares compared to their coily- or curly-haired counterparts. In terms of views and shares, I also think another factor (a smaller but still relevant one) is the “watchability” of kinky-haired naturals that I mentioned earlier.

Let’s talk more about what makes some kinky-haired naturals less “watchable” (other than the obvious texture discrimination). Well…. presence, personality, video quality, and hair length also factor into whether a YouTuber is watchable. (Yes, I believe there is also a bit of hair length discrimination when it comes to naturals.) If you do a YouTube search on “4B” or “4C” natural hair, plenty of individuals pop up, but few are ones to which I (and probably other naturals) would actually subscribe. Let’s be real; how many kinky-haired YouTubers have the “whole package” of an engaging presence, a good personality, AND great video quality. (Add in super long hair, if you want, but that characteristic is not a requirement in my search for naturals.) Now compare that number to those of curly-haired naturals. The latter is overwhelming. That “whole package” generally does matter when it comes to whether some individuals subscribe to a natural.

So what does this all mean for kinky-haired YouTubers? Yes, I definitely believe that there is texture discrimination; it is very real. Also, yes, kinky-haired naturals do need to support more of our own. However, I am not going to subscribe to someone just because she has kinky hair (or curly hair OR natural hair, for that matter). If the sound quality is poor, the video quality is sub-par, her presence is boring, and/or her personality is bland, I’ll pass. Last but not least, I’m more inclined to subscribe to naturals with great hair style tutorials and/or interesting hair care advice; if they lack those two, I am not as intrigued.

As for other social media (Instagram, Facebook, etc.), I’ll let you all chime in on that one.

Ladies, is texture discrimination apparent on YouTube and other social media? What are your thoughts?

Chinwe

Chinwe

Empowering women of color to break barriers. Cherish.Thy.Melanin. https://cherishthymelanin.com/ https://www.facebook.com/cherishthymelanin/

246 thoughts on “Does “Texture Discrimination” Affect the Success of Naturals on YouTube and Social Media?

  1. maybe it has something to do with naturals going natural to be cool/trendy rather than for getting to like blk features.

    there is some photo i saw of a youtuber who made a set of photos. one she had her kinky texture and was looking all sad. she then did a twist out style and her expression was like THANK YOU JESUS. smh. the funny part is instead of a twistout it was a relaxer ppl would call her self-hating.

  2. Is everyone ignoring the elephant in the room?
    Cause its too obvious.

    Why are these channels getting the praise while 4b/c are being ignored?

    Because everyone wants loose, mixed girl, curls cause its the same mindset of wanting light skin.
    Looser curls, means closer to euro beauty, aka white people.
    You see it in the comments on videos, you see it on product ads o f the lure of being mixed and looser curls are the only right way to be natural. Its saddening and sickening.

    We are still a slave to these euro beauty standards that bombard us everywhere we go. It shows that we as black people ARE STILL brainwashed to believe, whether they know it or not, the closer to white, the better. I don’t wanna hear my fiance with 4b/c hair say sadly that he wishes his hair was looser curls or mixed hair. I think his hair is gorgeous and i love a man with natural afro hair <3

    To be honest I dont think its going away because its invading a movement that is suppose to reject those euro beauty standards yet here we are still being influenced by it along with it invading everything else.

    I know its a painful topic but if we dont address that euro beauty standard still dictate it will always be here.
    Just my $0.02

      • I agree. people are treating it like another standards that most of use can’t reach. going natural went from loving what you have to another divide in our people. why do black people do this to themselves? I will never understand it. i have “3b” hair and i’ll never understand the stink eye i recieve because of it. i didn’t ask anyone to feel a certain way about my hair. when i started my no heat journey the person i followed and watched was naptural. even though her hair is “4b-c” i love her videos, she still have valid advice to give. i think insecure women have poisoned something that was suppose to be good. poisoned what was suppose to make blacks realize they too are beautiful the way they are. if all the women with this so called 4c hair were sharing and liking and watching all the things 4c we wouldn’t be having this problem would we? there are just as many women with type 4 hair that there is for type 3.

        don’t make me pick up your slack cuz you are self hating on your own hair.

    • I agree with you partly. When I first started my natural hair journey 4 years ago, I was trying to achieve that loose curl look, and it took me a year to really understand the purpose of the natural hair movement (ie. Love what you have). However, of late, I have been desiring looser textured hair just for the shear purpose of minimizing tangles. I have 3c/4a hair and I spend a LOT of time detangling. I have to wear protective styles 90% of the time to prevent tangles. It’s very frustrating. I love my hair, I just to love working with it. So my desire comes from convenience, not Eurocentric standards of beauty.

      • Omg i have the same hair type and I spent months trying to get a looser curl like 3a 3b . I love my 3c 4a hair but sometimes I wish my tight curls were looser and that I had silky edges . Now i just accepted my hair and love my tight curls and coils . I get alot of tangles too and not even a year natural yet I braid my hair on cornrows to minimize tangles .

    • I really like your $0.02 because it is true.
      For a lot of people, beauty and self confidence comes from validation from men and society in a general. Until the darker melanin, cotton haired young ladies like myself find it within ourselves to rise and break through that glass box fighting for that validation will forever be a lost cause.

  3. I’ve subscribed to African and Nikki just now. I think it’s the lack of knowledge of the good YouTube personalities! I would like my you tube front page to be more customized to what I Favored and subscribed to. I’ve been sifting through videos and after heavy Internet Lagging I get ADHD on You Tube and sign off. Also, it takes talking to other naturalist to know them or reading and surfing the web a lot. I don’t have much time but to work a lot, feed kids,spirituality, run kids, sex, barely clean, health, dress, cook, do my thick springy gray specked treat dandruff coarse yet beautiful if maintained only dry Maine! and SLEEP! So it’s a stress reliever, but I would like to know things faster and easier. Thanks for the recomendations! Forget comparisons, every hair type has it’s frustrations ( I love my hair but I’ve been frustrated just like I love my kids but…) yet we must embrace us and master our look that is us and not someone else. And no one has the right to down us, not even our evil twin, esp. IF MAINTAINED!

  4. I have kinky hair and I have been natural for what is about to be a year now. Making youtube videos in my opinion is not easy and not a lot of people have the time for it. I have watched many hair youtube videos for both natural hair and weaves. Majority of women who have 4c hair and I have seen it even in my own family. My sister has 3c hair and people and my mother who had recently went natural at that time asked her how did you get it like that. How my sister always answers it just grown like that a few days later my mom permed her hair. Why? Because it was not perfectly curly like you see on T.V. and on other women. I know my hair will never be just like my sisters and I am okay with that even if sometimes it takes me longer to get ready because of my hair. In my opinion it’s not all about video quality,personality, but how well does your hair match mines, If you look at majority of kinky haired women on youtube guess what their hair is long as hell. My hair is in the middle stage right now were I am not loving my twist out and braid out but it’s not long enough to do a goddess braid. What the natural community needs is more kinky textures that are willing to make videos in the middle of their stage journey. Not at a TWA or when their hair is almost touching their ass. Those videos may help people with longer hair or people with barely any hair but where are the girls with neck length hair. Or any length besides short ass hell and ass length.

    • You’re so right! And like you said at first, bc I’m in that stage, WE DoNt have Time! Unless we can really figure out or get help to make quality You Tube videos, you won’t see our MOP on the screen! I’m thinking about it and and I’m like No! Who would watch me day in and day out, how can I Time Manage with all it takes to get my hair perfect, learn all the best products, visit natural hair shows or research, and still pay my bills and feed my 4 kids? We are the lets do it quick and wrap it up if don’t have time for perfection, yet still don’t look perfect to others, Hair types. Boo! Whoever decides to do it need investors and friends on Facebook donations, and already has a huge understanding of Chemical Hair and Natural Hair bf with versatile expierience bf they could make a quality video with hair like mine, which dosent even have a grade or hair type! I’m serious, 4C boo, my stuff is Don King hair type! Spung, Dry, Dandruff, thick, tight coils, Fro only, has huge shrinkage, blow outs please (if I could)! The best styles for my type is dreads that needs heavy oil and maintenance, braids ( but have to flat iron to really grab hold), and up- do’s! I’m not doing all others it makes no sense for me.

  5. I watched Jouelzy’s video but not the response. It appears that Jouelzy got into the game for the wrong reasons. At first, it was to get free weave, but when that didn’t materialize, she moved on to natural hair. That gives the appearance of inauthenticity. Is she upset that she doesn’t have a bigger following and is getting overlooked or that she isn’t getting free stuff? FWIW, she mentioned having 80K subscribers and in the month since the video came out she’s climbed to 97K. Who’s to say the video wasn’t just click bait?

    Personality also counts. I first saw her on CurlyNikki and while she was personable, I didn’t really like the way she talked about 4c hair. Something just rubbed me the wrong way. Also, in the video above, she does drop some profanity and that might be a turnoff to some.

    However, I wonder if she might have a point when I think of Jenell of BlakisBeautyful. Jenell has a few HUNDRED videos, but 88K subscribers. Whitney has far fewer vids, but almost half a millions subs. Why? It could be hair, but it could also be content and quality. But, Jenell has partnerships/sponsorships with companies and she travels for the well-attended meet-ups and events that Jouelzy craves.

    All in all, make top quality videos with good information and then see what happens. I’ve never truly believed that Jouelzy knows what she’s talking about when it comes to her hair, much less anyone else’s. The long and short is that if you’re looking for some sort of discrimination, you will find it and you will also be less likely to assess or search for any other explanation.

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  8. I think we are also not taking into account time. It takes time to build a quality channel. The women named in this article have been at this since at least 2009. Also two out of the three for sure are full time Vloggers. This is their full time job. NaturalMe4C is a great. She is the total package. I have fine 4a hair however; I love to watch her channel. No my hair cannot do all the great things that hers can but I genuinely enjoy watching her and her family. As time has passed, you can really see the growth in her channel. CharyJay is also another great 4C Vlogger. She is doing it big with her signature twist outs. I just love her style.

    • Chary Jay is not 4c, she says shes 4a and you should watch her video with the salon experiences, the stylists tells her that as well

  9. I have to say, when I first went natural in 2008, the texture discrimination mainly came from men. That’s why it was so refreshing to be around and communicate with women with ALL hair types. There were very few naturals when I started 6 years ago, and I loved the friendship and bonding I got from the whole experience. I spent countless hours on Fotki skimming through accounts for updates and regimen tips. We were really into it to empower EACH other. No one was worried about texture discrimination. Now all of a sudden, you have self proclaimed gurus that have only been natural 2 years or less ( pet peeve!!) trying to give not so great advice for the sake of getting a check or being sponsored. I watched her video, and she just sounds down right bitter, which is sad because she has such a big personality that could be used for so much more. I want the community to get back to the sisterhood of it all. Corporate America dangled the bait, and a lot of women went natural just to have a shot at snagging it, smh.

  10. I saw Jouelzy’s video and I definitely agreed to an extent. I agree much more with the second video and your point in this post. I believe people are just looking for someone to blame . I definitely have come across many many Youtubers with hair ‘like mine’ but the video quality just was not what something I look forward to seeing in my “my subscriptions” list. I subscribed to Mahogany Curls because her video quality, editing and attention to detailed (QUALITY) information is amazing. I subscribed to African Export because her personality is very comfortable and her hair texture felt very relatable but lately her videos just aren’t what they use to be. It looks like – hey I have a minute let me turn on this camera and throw something up -. Obviously I don’t know her life but you can definitely tell she has her hands full so what do I do as a viewer? Move on to the next person who puts effort into videos. I just really believe that a person must come with a certain package for me to subscribe to them especially as a content creator myself, if I can’t learn anything from you, then why am I watching?

    xo
    Maggie A
    http://www.lovemavin.com

  11. I watch those with my hair and kinkier than mines . I’m sorry I’m going to follow coily curly naturals like Naptural85 she has a great personality , one of the few that has my hair type 4a but I’m 3c/4a and she gives me information and tips that actually work !I also Follow Hair Crush and many others .

  12. But I get texture discrimination because the men I talked to only liked my hair because I had tight curls and adorable coils and my mom and brother hates my hair .

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