In recent years, the trend of “The relatable” social media influencer has popped up and effectively blown up; Changing all social platforms and the ways influencers relate to the public audience. The relatable influencer is someone who gains popularity through her seemingly awkward, or “normal” personality.
This trend, up until about a year or so ago was dominated by white girls. Second to that, mixed girls and light skinned girls capitalized on this relatability trend but there wasn’t really a trend of relatable phenotypic black women until about 2018, roughly.
There was a shift in popularity and while the relatable white girl trend is seemingly on it’s way out, the relatable black, or dark-skinned girl trend is just beginning. We see this with the rising popularity of Kayla Nicole, who first came on the scene with her infamous pony-tail tutorial.
One dark-skinned YouTuber who may have predated this phenom but is now none-the-less popular is As Told by Kenya, who happens to be one of my favorite channels. Although the channel is technically categorized as a commentary channel, I think that the popularity is due to her relatability and quirkiness.
I think that this is in part due to the colorism conversation we are having. I think a residual effect that we often forget about is the courage I think these conversations gave dark skinned black girls and women to start being themselves.
I know for me personally, I didn’t know much about the subject until I was in college. I didn’t grow up in an overtly colorist family, and like many other dark-skinned girl, I don’t have a tragic colorism story. Yes, that still means I experienced colorism but not to the damaging and personally lengths some dark-skinned black women have. Even still, I felt like being quirky wasn’t something that I could be.
Growing up, although there were many more dark skinned women and girls on the screen, the representation itself wasn’t varied. I don’t remember (that doesn’t mean there absolutely wasn’t) representations of dark skinned black girls with very quirky personalities, other than maybe Moesha. I think however, this new relatable black girl trend shows a shift in our representation and that our horizons are broadening.
For so long usually, If you were a dark skinned woman on YouTube you were a beauty vVogger, or lifestyle Vlogger and there was always this look of perfection and perfect slayage. Not that there's anything wrong with that, quite the contrary, for even longer, the scene was dominated by white and mixed beauty gurus leaving a much undeserved crowd who wanted to get into makeup as well. However, if you were a dark skinned girl and not into doing hair or makeup tutorials, you weren’t really popular or marketable.
I have never believed that there should be only one type of black girl, so I am all for the phenotypic black girls with personalities, who don’t necessarily fit into the ordinary are getting their shine!
Liv is a new blogger for DDS Magazine. She graduated University in 2018, with a degree in History & English Lit and in her free time is an avid creative writer, History & Fashion enthusiast, as well as a cat-mom to three kittens. When she is not creating, she works at a children's non-profit and enjoys spending her weekends doing Pilates, hiking, shopping and indulging in Sci-fi novels.