Daily family vlogging is bullshit. There, I said it.

By design its intent is to sell the image of a near-perfect family. The only imperfections allowed are the adorable ones — ‘Oh look at me! I am so busy tending to my beautiful family that sometimes my house is a little messy! Tee hee!’ ‘Oh, look at this! My husband and I are having this adorable argument about which restaurant/sports team/food item is best!’ ‘Oh, look here! My baby is having a meltdown but it’s over this adorable thing she doesn’t understand yet.’

Bull. shit.

Conflict is an inherent part of life and family. And I don’t even mean that in a negative sense because conflict is not always ugly or debilitating. It’s a necessary part of life and it often leads to growth and development. But conflict — genuine conflict — is something you will rarely ever see on a daily family vlog. Which is why I think the whole thing is bullshit.

At times it occurs to me how easy it would be for me to take the various elements of my life and spin them into a popular YouTube channel.

I mean I already have the cute kids and the cool life to match. Watch this…

My 5-year-old son is one of a teeny percentage of kids who tested into the New York City’s gifted and talented program. His teacher informed me last week that she is skipping over kindergarten curriculum altogether and jetting him straight to grade 1.

My 2-year-old daughter is an all around magical black girl with a ridiculously wide vocabulary and curls to die for.

And my baby boy is cuteness central. On a whim I submitted his photos to a Manhattan boutique doing an open call for a commercial campaign. Not only was he selected, the casting director included a personal testament to his cuteness.

Last year my family moved to Brooklyn — which is obviously where anything and everything cool ever happens — and we love it. I live in a gorgeous duplex in Bed Stuy — complete with a back yard — and just a 10 minute walk from my gorgeous storefront. Which is already attracting a steady stream of customers and is the third business I own and operate (in addition to this blog and BGLHMarketplace.com)

Throw in a few vampy selfies, some #blessed’s and #onmygrind’s, and I’m halfway to my first 100K YouTube subscribers.

And all of those things about my life are 100% and completely true. They are also 100% and completely just a part of my life.

Because I’m also going through a divorce I initiated back in May. And I rent out the spare bedroom in this gorgeous Bed Stuy duplex so that I can cover the cost. And my storefront, like most brick and mortars, will likely take a while to turn a profit. I mean, I don’t doubt it will be a success, but it ain’t paying any bills right now. And I’m sure Brooklyn is cool — but I wouldn’t know because I’m at home most weekends with my kids.

And I’m not saying all of this to be a downer. I love my life! But that’s what this is — life. Struggles with money, personal battles, relationship challenges, the constant fight to be our best selves. That’s life — no matter who you are.

I was away from blogging when the news broke that Brittany and Austin Null, the couple behind popular family vlogging channel The Nive Nulls, were getting divorced due to Austin cheating on Britt a second time.

As a black mother also going through divorce with three very young kids, I understand the struggle. Getting through a single day feels like an episode of American Gladiator. But this whole industry of trafficking beautiful families for clicks, upselling the good while downplaying the bad — it has to end.

But of course it won’t. As long as there are cute kids, camera phones and people willing to believe anything, it won’t.

I guess all I can implore is that we ingest this content with caution. Understanding that social media is designed to be ‘aspirational’ (which, more often than not, means ‘inspire envy of my life by being dishonest about its true nature.’)

As for me, I have my attention squarely focused on my life. My messy, beautiful, struggle, joyful life. And no, I don’t have time to vlog it.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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49 Comments on "I Hate Daily Family Vlogging and The Nive Nulls Cheating Scandal Makes Me Hate it Even More"

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Alison HILAIRE
First, I’m really sorry to hear about your divorce 🙁 Second, your kids are AMAZING and SO CUTE, I want to steal them for an hour (not more, cuz it might be too much to deal with for me lol). I think that social media in general, not just Youtube tend to show a romanticized version of life, whether good or bad. It’s so easy to do, it’s almost ridiculous. I can be bored AF in my bed during the weekend, take a great picture with an inspirational caption about the beauty of quiet moments in life and get more… Read more »
J. Nelms
This is so true! I can’t stand general vlogs. I get that it generates revenue but it does make me feel like: 1) why do viewers have so much time on their hands that they can watch someone else’s life on the regular. And, 2) once you have an audience, yep, you gotta keep generating vlogs, so the most mundane ‘ish gets taped. Plus there’ so much pressure to keep it light and airy. I happened to see this post the other day of a woman expecting her 5th child. It was so funny because he husband was trying hard… Read more »
Tenns
I think it goes without being said that no one’s life is perfect. I agree that many of the daily vlogging Youtubers as a whole make their lives look very picturesque, much like that of what we see on tv (just look at Fixer Upper couple Chip and Joanna Gaines — who just stepped away from their show to focus on their family, which I’m sure includes their marriage even though they say their marriage is “stronger than ever”). For me, I never really watched many daily vloggers, specifically family vloggers, to begin with. I found myself somewhat irritated at… Read more »
Jewell Singletary

WOW Leila! Thank you for being so transparent! I’ve had love/hate affair with social media since it started. It kills me how people only post the “positive” and not any of the negative/messy realities that sometimes infiltrate our lives. Thank you for being so honest. Keep moving forward! Many continued blessings to you and your transitioning family. All will be well in time!! xoxo

Poofie

WELL SPOKEN OMGOODNESS THANK YOU!

Chocobelle

It’s interesting. People often complain about people on social media pretending that they have a perfect life, yet, when you have someone ( like me) that shows the good AND the bad, everyone sees you as negative and whiny. It sucks, people have way more respect for the fake people. ESPECIALLY on Instagram.

Owl
Omg so so true. I remember a while back naptural85 did a few vlogs showing the day in the life of her family I guess she was going through some stuff and always tired etc. She would mention how exhausted she was in every vlog not being bubbly and excited and people continuosly complained about it. Then they would go on to complain about her not being affectionate enough towards her husband..It was sooooooo rude and annoying. They were just nitpicking at any and everything she did also talking about her house looking messy. It’s like you can’t win. You… Read more »
Carla
I am so glad someone finally spoke up about this family vlogging thing. I personally have never been into it and avoid videos that has that theme. I am only interested in videos about hair, skin, nails, makeup, diet and fitness – not about what you’re doing in your personal life. Also given that I consider myself “child-free” and most videos are made by mothers about their children, it is just another factor in my disinterest. Not necessarily a “family vlogging” theme but, but those “haul” videos that doesn’t offer product reviews irk me too. Yes, I can see you… Read more »
PrettyLawyer

This was SO well written! From one divorced Black single mother to another, I have nothing but compassion for what you are going through. Keep doing what you’re doing, sis and may God continue to bless you and yours! <3

AliciaFiasco

Dang sis. Sorry to hear about your divorce. Your babies look happy and I hope you are taking care of yourself. Sending love 🙂

Todra
Girl, this was so on point. It’s weird to broadcast a sterilized version of life. But I get why some of them do it. I don’t do a YouTube channel, but I can say from sharing (on social media) about my life traveling and house sitting that when I share some of the more “real” stuff, there are so many less comments and likes than when I put up a shot of me on the beach in front of a 4,000 SF house that I’m borrowing for a month in Vancouver. And seriously, nothing about my house sitting adventures is… Read more »
aiych

Why do people enjoy watching DAILY vlogs about the lives of average folks? I could understand if it was a major celebrity, but just your average Bob and Jill from down the street raising their kids and going to work? It seems voyeuristic and just…odd…

W. Lotus

Yup, and I don’t even get it when it’s a major celebrity. They are just ordinary people who, through a combination of hard work and lots of luck have influence lots of other people don’t have.

Kay
This is so true and not just for YouTube but Instagram. It took me a while to realize that some people I was following didn’t live in the homes they posted pics from all the time. Just plain being all types of fake about their real life until a friend who they pissed off fronted on them with the real deal. That was going on a lot when the ‘gram first started. Now, I just don’t bother and have never been interested in following family vlogs they just seem fake all around. I’m glad you mentioned how most of us… Read more »
Todra

Seriously? I never realized people posted fake home shots. That’s obviously a recipe for disaster. Of COURSE someone outed them. You can’t expect to get away with that kind of deception today with the internet.

Greta

While reading this I went from smiling, to mouth wide open, hair blowing back and back to smiling :). Thanks for keeping it real!!!! Life isn’t the perfect picture that often get’s painted but we’re ‘thankful of what we can change and the wisdom to know the difference’. Best to you & your beautiful children!

Nylse

Really sorry to hear about your divorce.

Cassaundra Gittens

Yeah, me too!

Niecy
I get it with the Nive Nulls because they never shared ANYTHING until boom something happened. But I’m not sure why people watch vloggers. If it’s too positive then they’re not being real. If they’re being real then it’s drama or for views. There are a lot of vloggers that have balance. And people forget that this is their business. One person said one has a legit theme song. Almost all of them have a legit theme song! Lol Some don’t want to expose everything, some want to be that happy channel to come to. If you see a problem… Read more »
Jessica Simien
Everyone knows there is conflict in families but who would put ALL of their business out? Blogging is how many of us make a living and when you’re connected to brands and work on campaigns, you have to be cautious of what you share. That doesn’t mean you’re trying to be perfect but your life is your business at the same time if that makes sense. Also it’s not necessarily the blogger’s job to leave a disclosure like “hey…we’re not perfect we just had a fight yesterday so don’t watch this and develop an unrealistic perception of us” – I… Read more »
Yetunde
100% Agree. I feel like I too, could have that whole perfect life youtube channel…if I was into that sort of thing. I have a multi-ethnic multiculti beautiful family with gorgeous intelligent, talented kids. I have a small business with a growing following on IG. However, it’s not all sunshine and lollipops. Because my Husband is openly demonstrative of his love for me (17years and counting) people (mostly women) ask us for marital advice. Well, they tend to ask him more because I’m not as open with my personal life online. I usually give the unvarnished truth when asked, which… Read more »
Alisha
Hey Leila, wow… as always, I appreciate and truly value your honesty. Over the past year, I’ve been kind of in and out here, partially due to having a stem cell transplant (which started with 6 rounds of chemo, woohoo!) in Chicago. But, I’ve followed you- the growth of the Marketplace, the move to Brooklyn (we’re now just 2 bridges and about 15 miles apart), and the birth of cutie baby #3 (like, do you only birth bright eyed perfection?). I’m so very sorry about the divorce. More than a few of my friends and family have gone through it,… Read more »
Jayne

Greetings from Zimbabwe!

This is easily my favourite blog. Why? You keep it real. Stay #blessed.

ThisMuchIKnow
The best is yet to come. Everything happens for a reason. Three children instead of one happen for a reason. Seemingly untimely Divorces happen for a reason. Still hold on for the ride. Imagine my surprise when my ex H wanted & failed at getting “my” money to support his mistress. And succeeded at not paying child support. He suddenly became a blind man on SSI. With that kind of effort .. Yikes. …vlogging can drop knowledge, provide valuable lessons, revealed secrets, … Just when u think you are the only one experiencing a particular joy or pain, you come… Read more »
Dimply Erin

Great article and I agree 100%

As a former die hard fan of these type of YouTube channels, I began to limit the time I spent watching these videos. Your article perfectly described everything that I began to find wrong with them. Some of the really popular ones are so heavily edited and over produced that you feel like you’re actually watching a tv show. One even has a theme song. A. LEGIT. THEME.SONG.

Thanks for saying what I’m sure a lot of us were thinking.

Alisa

I am living your transparency lately. I have followed bglh on and off since he very beginning and I love coming back to see your growth. I’m sorry your getting a divorce but good for you. You got this.

Pamela J.

Wow! Wow! Thank you for tour honesty and sharing a piece of your life with us. I’ve been rocking with you since 2010 when I first got started and I appreciate your truth and the content!

ASH

Mahogany Curls and Naptural85 are the only two family blogs I watch because they seem the most authentic and they don’t sacrifice family time for YouTube. MC showed the heartbreaking journey of her daughter’s illness and it helped me to see that these families go through some very tough situations in life just like the rest of us.

Crystal

So true! Every time I see a clog I think about how it’s BS. So u guys never fight u never have disagreements? I been with my husband 12 years and man I tell u u have cute kids raised kids that wasn’t ours and prob can make some decent vids l. But it took us a lot hard work to get where we are now. That’s why when I see these vlogs I jus say come on this can’t be how it is all the time.

Rochelle

Thank you for being real and expressing what so many of us are going through. Life is real, reality tv is fake.

Lady V

Thank you for keeping it so real!

Anastasia

Great post, sis!! I’ve begun to limit my social media usage because most of it is fake! And I don’t wanthink room plant seeds in my heart that aren’t good!

Loved your blog for years!! Thank you for your transparency!

Justine Agada

okay but imma need you to start a vlog anyways cause your life sounds interesting as fudge–the good and the bad,

Erica J

Right? I would love to hear more about these amazing little darlings you created–especially the gifted one. Was there anything particular you feel you did that helped him cognitively? Reading, learning a musical instrument, etc.?

Rhi

Youtube has just really become a shit show of drama. Most youtubers are dramatising everything and showcasing every aspect of their lives all for attention, views, likes and comments. It’s really sad, because it’s really not worth it and it’s getting tiring. Every corner of youtube you turn to, whether it’s makeup, vlogging etc has fights, drama occuring all the time. Youtube used to be a fun place but now it’s just full of bullshit.

Mindlove
Yes yes yes! I don’t know why people are always vlogging! how do you enjoy life? I would be pissed if I was at a resteraunt with my friends and then someone takes out a phone to vlog our whole dinner. WTF!? they actually did articles and studies showing that vlogging does deteriorate a relationship. You do lose yourself as well. It not only ruins relationships but also mental health. Remember Jesse and Jeana? who were the “it” couple on Youtube? Jesse said, he and Jeana had changed personally and their relationship had been strained ever since they started gaining… Read more »
TWA4now

Cute kids too AND SMART!

TWA4now

WOW, STRONG WORDS and so true! We should take social media with grain of salt that it is NOT reflective of true life.

Hhbbhb

Yes finally someone said it!!! IMO people are trying to show off. Be more private in your life and focus on what’s in front of you and maybe these things wouldn’t happen

Paula
First of all, your baby boy is, as they say nowadays, A SNACK! lol he is cuteness personified and lately as a new Nana to the first boy in our family in years, im all about the baby boys. Your other son and daughter are adorable as well. I was just saying the other day, how every perfect couple that is on tv or has a public life, must chafe at the daily intrusion and I can only imagine how hard it must be to always be “camera-ready” so to speak. Like, you cant argue or seem annoyed with your… Read more »
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