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Keisha Charmaine: Grapevine Community Spotlight

Keisha Charmaine is a straight up guru when it comes to natural beauty.  You can find her on her channel giving advice on maintaining locs in her Q+A series dedicated to the hairstyle, recommending natural beauty solutions, or leading intelligent conversations on identity and social issues (she’s got a degree, people!). Lucky for us, we got to talk to Keisha about her passion for social justice and natural beauty in this week’s Grapevine Community Spotlight!

Meet Keisha Charmaine:

How did you first get into YouTube?

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 9.56.50 AMI first used YouTube to post silly videos of me with my friends. Then I noticed a hair community of women with kinky hair was developing at a time when wearing your hair straight was expected. People started documenting their journey to locs (commonly referred to as dreadlocks or dreads) and I wanted to do the same. I slowly developed a loyal following and soon started giving advice on how others can maintain and style their locs. Eventually I started branching out to create makeup videos and vlogs discussing everyday topics and controversial subjects regarding societal concerns.

Your channel focuses on natural beauty. Can you elaborate on the inspiration behind that?

Everyday I see women aspiring to be someone other than themselves, especially black women since eurocentric ideals have been the standard of beauty. Light skin and straight hair in particular. It seems like we are conditioned to chase after unattainable or unrealistic physical goals. I aim to inspire women to accept themselves and their natural beauty while acknowledging that there is nothing wrong with hair color and makeup to accentuate natural beauty and express yourself creatively.

What do you think your subscribers would say if we asked them why they’re subscribed to you?

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 9.55.03 AMI think my subscribers like that I am the girl next door. I like speaking to them as if they’re my friends because that’s what they are in my head. I don’t act like I know all the answers and I am just like them, asking questions. I also know that they are inspired by my hair journey and seeing the progress of my hair gives them hope for theirs.

There’s an activism and social justice element to your channel. What are some of the issues you speak about?

That pretty much happened by accident. I believe that since I have a following, I have a responsibility to speak on subjects that affect us in society. Hair and beauty are important to women but there are more important things and I don’t want those subjects to be ignored. I have a degree in Africana Studies from UAlbany and I love talking about subjects concerning people of the African diaspora. I have addressed respectability politics, rape culture and victim blaming, cultural appropriation, skin bleaching, spirituality, over sexualization of black males and much more.

What, to you, is the importance of having natural hair resources like your channel?

Many people don’t know how to properly take care of their natural hair, especially those of us who come from families that have been permanently straightening their hair for generations and are used to wearing wigs and weaves. It can be very daunting when you are learning to manage kinky hair on your own so channels like mine are very helpful. If we can do our hair on our own, and we are not professionals, then our viewers can too.

What would you say to someone thinking of starting a YouTube channel?

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 10.15.34 AMI would tell them to beware of trolls. Someone people will attack you simply because they can get away with it via the internet. Though you will have many supporters, there will be people who will judge you and attack you. It is easy to receive love from fans but it can be hard to take the hate from trolls. Never internalize the love or the hate you receive from viewers because the only opinion about you that matters is your own.

If you had to summarize your channel for someone who has never watched your videos, what would you say?

My channel is a great resource for learning how to manage and style kinky textured locs. There is a ton of engagement with my question and answer series called Loc Talk. I also have beginner-friendly makeup tutorials, lifestyle and controversial topic vlogs.

Our Favorite Keisha Charmaine videos:

 

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