Makeup guru Jackie Aina is among a very small number of black woman vloggers with more than 1 million subscribers on YouTube. Rarer still is that she amassed this following as a dark-skinned woman with tightly textured hair (there are persistent complaints that YouTube viewers favor lighter skinned hair and beauty gurus.) While some vloggers preserve their audiences by remaining quiet on controversial topics, Aina has opted to be vocal about issues black women face. This year she has done videos calling out the worst brands for people of color and encouraging people to buy from black-owned beauty brands. On Instagram Aina has posted about cultural appropriation, colorism and police brutality.
In the midst of this her brand has continued to grow, amassing 200,000 followers since August to cross the 1 million mark this month. But one fan’s unsolicited advice is a reminder that many still believe checking one’s identity at the door is the only way to succeed professionally.
“Jackie I love you. But you need to stop talking about race, skin colour, and WOC issues on your channel so much. You can talk about it one [sic] in a while, but not all the time like you do. Or else it will alienate and annoy white girl viewers. Nobody wants to hear about that on Youtube… we already see too much race crap on TV and the news…but Youtube is a chance to escape all that and relax. And you need to reach the white girl audience if you want to go mainstream on YouTube. I can totally see you being the “black Jackyn [sic] Hill”, but you just need to make some improvements. No more race talk, please.”
Jaclyn Hill is a white YouTube beauty vlogger with 3.8 million subscribers.
Aina responded to the comment — left under one of her videos — with a simple “No.”
She posted screenshots of the exchange to Twitter, followed by a screenshot of her 1 million viewers and a picture of herself with an expression that can only be described as “You Mad?”
— La Bronze James (@jackieaina) December 27, 2016
We appreciate Aina for exemplifying that you can excel professionally while embracing your skin and hair, and speaking on issues of justice.