Content creators

Nigerian female content creators are amplifying their voices on YouTube

On the occasion of International Women’s Day celebrated every year on March 8, Vanessa Obioha writes about four content creators on YouTube who not only use the platform to tell their stories, but reflect the tenacity of the African woman. Their journeys on YouTube may be different, but the result is similar.

For Nwamaka Izugbara, Chinyere Abang and Ikede Adebisi Oluwafunmilayo (Fummee), using YouTube has gone beyond sharing their passion, but also developing a thriving business.

This year, however, started on a high note for them when the digital video platform announced this year’s class of the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund – an initiative dedicated to equipping promising black creators and artists with the resources to thrive. on the YouTube platform. . The program that began last year focuses on investing in presenting new narratives that emphasize the intellectual power, authenticity, dignity and joy of black voices, as well as educating audiences about racial justice.

The four designers are part of the 135 designers selected around the world. They also make up the 26 Africans on the list and will receive seed funding as well as dedicated support to help them grow their channels. They will also participate in tailored and practical training, workshops and networking programs.

The opportunity for these Nigerian creators is overwhelming as their journey to YouTube is filled with challenges and triumphs. They share their journey below.

Nwamaka Izugbara (Sky Belle)

Izugbara, who applied for the fund on the last day of submission, has a knack for skincare and beauty. She came across the platform in 2012 in her quest for knowledge.

“I was trying to learn how to do simple things like makeup, hairstyle, etc. I absolutely fell in love with the platform.”

The beauty expert, whose channel has over 25,000 subscribers with over 2.1 million views after some time, harbored the idea of ​​having her channel but was too scared to continue. His fears stemmed from the necessary resources such as funds and filming equipment. She will finally create her channel five years later.

“You don’t just start a channel, you have to learn how to edit your videos, film yourself, set up gear and communicate effectively on camera. I had to learn all of this before creating my channel,” she explained.

There were times when she had to shoot a video four times before she had the right one to upload. Today, Izugbara is known for her skincare and YouTube travelogues.

Her decision to become a YouTuber coincided with a cabin crew position she was applying for. Thus, the name of his channel, Sky Belle, is a portmanteau of both worlds.

At first, Izugbara focused on makeup because it was trendy but in real life, she was more passionate about skincare. According to her, she had an acne breakout at the time and needed to find a solution. She would later realize that creating content was more about creating unique experiences than following the crowd.

“As soon as I started uploading skincare content after two years on the platform, my videos went viral.”

Also, a storyteller, Izugbara, through her travels to other parts of Africa, presented the rooted experience where she shares the lifestyle of African villages with an emphasis on making local beauty products. . For example, during one of her trips to Ghana, she explained how shea butter is made locally. This form of storytelling has helped her connect with more audiences beyond Nigeria.

Although her YouTube experience began as a passion, today Izugbara is grateful that the platform has gone beyond a means of self-expression to a thriving career and business.

“I didn’t start my YouTube channel thinking that one day I’d have a skincare line. That was never in the mix for me. It’s thanks to constantly creating content for my channel that I explored other passions.”

With the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund, she looks forward to gaining more knowledge and collaborating with other YouTube creators. His goal is to have up to 100,000 subscribers by the end of the year.

Chinyère Abang

Abang, on the other hand, joined YouTube seven years ago.

The stay-at-home mom started as a blogger during her year at the National Youth Corps Service (NYSC), where she shared her fashion and makeup tips with her readers unbeknownst to her that she was generating interest. She started getting tons of requests to do a video tutorial.

“When I found out there was a platform where I could upload videos, I jumped on it.” Her self-titled channel is known for exploring topics that span femininity, marriage and motherhood, though it started with makeup tutorials.

Her reason for diversifying, she said, was more related to time.

“I started having kids around the time and found that I had less time for makeup videos. Also, there was an influx of such videos on YouTube.

Another reason, she said, was that she didn’t want to stay away from her children. Fortunately, YouTube provided her with a platform to work from home and communicate with her children.

His videos usually featured members of his family. For example, in one of her YouTube videos, she shared how she gave birth at the age of 22. In another, she spoke about imperfect marriages. Other times, she shared tips on interior decorating and design. Each of these videos sometimes accumulates more than 100,000 views. Right now, she’s approaching 40,000 subscribers.

Abang may have started YouTube to share her life with others, but over time she realized that being a YouTube creator was actually a career. As a content creator, she explained that one of the things that keeps people from exploring YouTube is that they feel like the platform is saturated.

“It’s all content, but the key is finding people interested in what you offer. Better content doesn’t guarantee you’ll meet a lot of people.

She added that although the content creation industry has grown, it needs more opportunities like the one YouTube provides to compete with its counterparts outside of Africa.

“The #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund will be an opportunity to grow my brand,” she concluded.

Chikodinaka Chima (Hn clothes)

Mathematician and fashion designer, Chikodinaka Chima is known for her scientific and artistic approach to fashion. On YouTube, the creator of Hn Clothings gives tutorials on pattern writing, corset making, bridal wear among other fashion skills.

Like most people who suffered from boredom and depression during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, Chima found YouTube as a way to kill boredom. Since the schools closed, the educator found that she had plenty of time to have fun.

“I was in bed one day and thought I could be a YouTube content creator.”

It wasn’t the first time such thoughts had crossed his mind. A while ago, she said she and her husband tried a couples channel on YouTube, but it didn’t work out as expected. Therefore, when the idea of ​​having a fashion channel came up, she was determined to do it right. She started by watching tons of videos to master the necessary skills.

“Sharing your knowledge and not being able to maximize your potential on the platform will make you stagnate. So I had to learn how YouTube worked and then I was able to grow with that.”

Although relatively new, Chima currently has over 50,000 subscribers. Her videos mainly focus on the basics of fashion design for up-and-coming fashion designers.

“Fashion is something people always follow and it’s something I’m passionate about.”

Being on the YouTube platform, she said, is the best decision ever.

Yet when she received the email letting her know she had been selected to be part of the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund Class of 2022, she thought it was amazing.

“I kept asking my husband why me. Sure, I worked very hard on my channel, but it was still overwhelming. I cried that day when I got the email. I saw that the people who participated last year were already established and for me part of this year. The feeling was indescribable. »

Chima hopes to get more collaboration and maximize the full potential of the platform through this initiative.

Funmi Ikede (Fummeee Ayo)

A computer engineer by profession, baker and award-winning decorator, Funmi Ikede is one of the emerging storytellers on YouTube. Her Fummeee Ayo channel focuses on sharing African stories through baking tutorials and lifestyle videos.

Based in Delta, Ikede never expected to be part of the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund. But then it happened and she was overjoyed.

Her journey to becoming a YouTube content creator is instructive. After graduating from college, she got married and started looking for a job, but was unlucky.

“I started looking for a business that I could do from home because I already had a daughter and didn’t want to leave her alone. I started cooking at home, but I still found it limiting. My sister, who was also on YouTube, suggested that I upload my baking videos to YouTube. »

It took two years later for Ikede to finally upload his content to the platform. Describing herself as a shy person, she did not initially expose herself.

Her love for YouTube, she revealed, is tied to her background in technology.

“I wanted something that could merge my love for the camera and baking, and YouTube gave me that. YouTube changed my life.”

Beyond passion, YouTube has elevated its reputation as a baker. Most of his customers are from YouTube and they encourage him to upload most of his content to the platform. People beyond Nigeria, like Canada, have reached out to her to praise her videos.

Ikede’s videos are sometimes tinged with humor. One of the videos on her channel showed her accompanying her friend to the market to buy second-hand clothes. In another, she shared laughable moments on her wedding day.

Ikede believes that poor internet connection, unstable electricity and lack of equipment are still difficult for most content creators. That’s why she’s fascinated by the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund.

“With the grant, I will be able to get a better camera and the training will help me understand how to monetize my content,” she enthuses.