The double standard of YouTube fandom content.
Before I get started, I just want to make it clear that I will not be saying the names of any of the creators that I am thinking about in this situation. I have no problem with these creators, as I often watch them. This is something that I would like to bring attention to because it keeps happening.
One of my favorite pastimes is watching videos about fandom on YouTube. Fandom has always been such an interesting concept to me; people who share a common interest in a piece of media come together and discuss, draw fanart, write fanfiction, put together music playlists, develop theories, and look deeping into things that are somewhat shallow. But we all know, we can’t always have fun. Fandoms have been known to have drama over the years because plenty of people within these spaces have no life outside of them and let these online communities consume all their interests. That being said, fandom has resulted in having numerous entertaining stories that all stem for normal everyday people.
When I go onto YouTube and search for fandom videos to watch, the main people who show up are non-black. As I keep scrolling, I notice that it’s not just one creator’s who’s videos are showing up, it’s numerous. There are days worth of fandom content on YouTube, but the videos with the most views relating to the subject are the ones made by non-black people. There are only about three black creators (yes, I do follow them) who’s content shows up, and I already watched their pieces.
The black creators I watch have said the same things that I see in the videos created by non-black creators, but the views are significantly less. Why is this so? If it’s the same quality, why is it that black creators don’t get the same amount of attention? I have a short, simple, yet sad answer for you. Race biases. It’s beyond a fandom thing, this is an issue with YouTube as a whole, along the film industry. It has been proven time and time again that white people are more likely to watch things created or including white people and those in close proximity to whiteness. The channels that get the most attention (that being engagement) are those run by non-black people. When a black creator’s channel is doing well, oftentimes they do not show their face on camera. When you look at the box office and tv-ratings, the ones with the highest numbers are things that have very little black people involved in them.
For the longest, black people did not even feel like they could be involved in fandom because of the spaces being very white dominated. Fandoms are often considered, “white people stuff” because the first things that pop up when you type in fandom, are pictures of white people. Most cons (fan conventions) highlight reels feature a majority of white people in them. The most popular fanworks are created by white people. Fandom often ignores the black characters in the media they enjoy; when they do pay attention to them it’s out of malicious intent.
Fandom isn’t very welcoming to black people, which could also be a result of why many black people don’t make much of this content. It can be very discouraging to put so much work into a YouTube video and barely anyone watches it. Fandoms have a horrible history of anti-blackness, from creating white washed fanart, attacking black actors, not following creators when they become aware that they are black, and getting upset when anti-blackness within the media is called out. When something is very popular that features black characters, non-black people will find ways to be racist about their existence in the media. Just look at Stranger Things and Star Wars. The black characters in those franchises get attacked harder by fans than the white characters do.
Fandom is supposed to be a fun community where individuals come together to share and discuss common interests. But, this is not the experience plenty black people have within fandom because they feel uncomfortable in this space. Black people exist in fandom, but like many forms of entertainment in the world, black people are often on the sidelines. Fandom was never intended for black people to be a part of it. Too much of society does not care about how black people, (especially black women and femmes) feel about the things they are interested in. Seeing how the most popular fandom videos are created by non-black people, has proved that yet again.