Romanticizing fame and fortune has always been at the core of American culture, but in the past few years this model of thinking has reached new peaks. Society has been heavily promoting influencer culture on major mainstream platforms such as YouTube, where countless YouTubers have glamorized the falsities of the get “rich quick mentality” that’s been strongly endorsed.
Most influencers and content creators have come to crave the validation and security of monetary standards, but one part time Youtuber, Kamari Rhone, illustrates the reality of influencer culture in the YouTubing world.
The 22-year-old YouTuber has been in the industry since December 2019 and has molded her channel “Happyblacklegends” around the passions that make her who she is. Rhone speaks to the authenticity of her channel, highlighting how her content mirrors her own personality as opposed to it being a track sheet of the optimal trends.
“I always tell people I don’t make content, I am the content,” starts Rhone, “My subscribers often tell me they came for my vegan cooking videos, music reactions, or my mental health content. But they stayed because they enjoyed my personality.” Rhone expressed her gratitude as she believes the loyalty of her audience has given her the flexibility to post content she associates with and not be bound to strictly creating what’s trendy on YouTube.
Rhone has strived to become a YouTuber for as long as he she could remember, because she cherishes the opportunity to spread awareness and voice her opinions on topics that are important to her. However, she feels this element of content creating has become lost within influencer culture.
“I would have to say that there never was any authenticity in influencer culture,” Begins Rhone, “Nowadays there are creative people who happen to use social media to promote their art, and then there are influencers.”
Despite the flaws she’s found throughout the structure of the field, Rhone has adored her YouTubing experience. Her channel has frequently evolved and blossomed as it currently sits at over 6,000 subscribers.
As she recollects over her time so far as a YouTuber, Rhone discusses the actuality of monetary barriers within the industry.
“YouTube is not sustainable at all,” Rhone explains, “It’s like an ocean with a lot of fish, and so many people are desperate to be famous. But those same people also have no idea how finances work for YouTube.”
Rhone continues on, describing how YouTube’s monetization process can be inconsistent and for most channels take months to even come into effect. She claims that the best way to be sustainable on YouTube is to utilize social media and other platforms to promote yourself and to prioritize slow steady growth over going viral.
Although she doesn’t associate with influencer culture standards, Rhone still can still empathize with those who do. “Honestly, as someone who struggles financially, I can’t blame people for dreaming of flashing lights and the easy life,” Rhone acknowledges, “But YouTube is hard work. You’re a director, producer, cameraman, editor, marketer, and so much more.”
Countless aspiring YouTubers miss these crucial facts, as the true nature of influencer culture is often buried under the false promises of luxury and internet fame. Rhone’s words not only bring truth to the totality of time and effort required to be successful on the platform, but they also provide context of how content creators drifts past their own personal passion projects and become bound to following trends they aren’t interesting in.
When asked how YouTubers can wholeheartedly carry out their vision in an influencer dominant society, Rhone stated, “Creators have to learn to do things on their own terms and accept they may not reach the same success as others. That may mean spending days on a video that gets less than 100 views overall.”
Additionally, Rhone cautions against constantly comparing against others and allowing hate comments to keep creators in a space of negative energy, where they feel bullied to make content they don’t want to. She also encourages taking breaks, setting boundaries, and not always being so focused on views and subscribers.
As Rhone would put it, “accept that it can take so much work and time into finding even an ounce of success.” And once you can recognize that, you’ll always appreciate whatever success that comes with doing something you’re passionate about.
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