My Ugly Truth

So, the natural hair community has been all ablaze the last couple of days over this video by a well known natural hair vlogger, Taren. The link is here:

The video is super long at a little over 30 minutes but you only need to watch about half of it to get the gist of it. A lot of people start vlogging or blogging as a hobby. If you get big enough to where you have a lot of subscribers, companies may start contacting you to review products for free. If the company’s sales increase based on your favorable review, well, great for the company. How successful you are depends on the particular vlogger or blogger. Some consider 1,000 subscribers a success. Others consider 10,000 a success. And yet still others may consider nothing less than 100,000 subscribers to be a success. At which point do companies contact you to do reviews for free, I have no clue. Anyhoo, Taren states that once a natural hair or some other beauty vlogger on You Tube gets a certain number of subscribers to their channel and/or is made a partner on the site (You Tube will make a vlogger a partner on the site once they reach a certain number of subscribers and they’ll pay the vlogger a certain percentage based on the number of clicks. I think the minimum subscribers you need is 50,000, but don’t quote me ’cause I don’t vlog) then they shouldn’t have to do product reviews for free. They should get paid. Because if they are representing the company in some fashion anyway and are reviewing a product for how many hundreds or thousands of viewers, they might as well get a cut as they are helping a company to get sales. After all, celebrities endorse products all the time. Like Jennifer Hudson becoming a spokesperson for Weight Watchers. She’s getting paid by them to sell their brand to people who want to lose weight. Why is it okay for Jennifer Hudson to get paid and not Taren, Tiffany or any other Ms. Nobody Special?

Here’s my take on the whole thing. I don’t do product reviews on here. Blogs that do that are a dime a dozen and I’d just add to the clutter. Besides, I know that what may work for me may not work for you and I don’t want people to feel that I somehow “mislead” them. That happens on a lot of blogs (and You Tube videos) already as it is. So rather than create drama over something that really isn’t all that serious, I’ve chosen to take my blog in a different direction whereby I try to relate how my hair affects my life and the lives of other black women who’ve chosen this path and discuss the political and social ramifications of our hair. Because in some instances, our hair is a lot more than just hair, although some naturals may believe otherwise. That may mean that I never get 50,000 odd subscribers that Taren or some other vloggers get, but I didn’t start doing this to get famous or to get paid. I started doing this because writing is my hobby and my passion and I wanted to share that with people.

Regarding Taren’s rant, I personally don’t like vloggers who are paid to review products. I just don’t. I can’t value their honesty when they sell out and it creates a huge conflict of interest. It also creates a problem for the integrity of You Tube in general. The site was created so that regular people like me can have a voice and so that we can be real, without the influence of a third party. If every vlogger gets paid to review stuff now, the vloggers in question may as well become actors, the videos in question may as well become commercials and You Tube may as well become an informercial site. And why should I sit through a 10 minute informercial with regular Joes when I can see them on TV with professional actors? To take this further, many companies that cater to natural hair simply wouldn’t have the budget to pay a vlogger anyway. They are start ups and don’t have the kind of distribution or purchasing power that a L’Oreal or a WEN would have. And, just my opinion, Taren acted totally ratchet in that video. I can’t see L’Oreal or WEN being willing to have her represent them and paying her as she is totally unprofessional. I can see how easy it is for someone on You Tube with 90,000 odd subscribers to think they’ve hit the big time, but in the grand scheme of things, in a country of nearly 300 million people, 90,000 people subscribed to your channel is miniscule. Outside of You Tube and natural hair message boards on the Internet, most people have never heard of Taren. I’m sure some of you reading this have never heard of her. Hell, 99.99% of the population has never heard of me. The entire discussion of vloggers getting paid is fueled by greed and an overinflated sense of self and entitlement. Because if every vlogger should be paid to review a product, I should be paid just for maintaining this blog. Or even just for breathing.

There’s a number of response videos to Taren’s rant, but this is the best one I’ve seen so far and it reiterates everything I’ve said on here:

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