I’ve spent the past year working on this project, but it would be more accurate to say I’ve spent the past five years working towards this project. For the past year, I’ve been working with my talented co-workers Brian Farnham and Nyree Emory in partnership with Ben Proudfoot and his amazing team at Breakwater Studios to put together a documentary series that will chronicle the contributions that Black creators have made to our culture. The series is called Flowers, and it launched last week with this episode featuring sWooZie, the creator of storytime animation.
I say it’s been five years because five years ago, with Kendra Desrosier’s encouragement, I spoke at my first #YouTubeBlack event. I shared stories about the creative contributions of Black creators to YouTube. As each year passed, I grew more committed to giving these talks, particularly to B2B audiences since they are the ones who control the advertising purse strings online. It’s felt amazing to elevate the storytelling through this form. This kind of storytelling is the other aspect of this that has been a long time coming. Four and a half years ago, as I was working on relaunching the Culture and Trends site, one of the things that was part of my perspective was that CaTs were experts in storytelling across a different media. I didn’t know that we had the track record, as a team, to say that, but I believed that, and since then, I have developed my own skills in working on data visualizations, public speaking, and video. To me, this represents the height of what I’ve been able to accomplish as a storyteller focused on internet trends.
There will be at least two more episodes in this series, which lives on the @YouTube channel — I hope for many more!