When I first found Evelyn from the Internets, I did what I always do when I find a new YouTuber I instantly love. Go on a watching spree sorted by most popular then by oldest to newest. Evelyn was no exception, I couldn’t stop. She makes videos on YouTube serving you black girl realness, speaking candidly about her life and her Kenyan family. Her videos are always very funny and I frequently find myself pausing and rewinding them on account of my laughing stints. Even though all the hilarity, she still has an impactful message of tolerance. This video of hers was even appropriately featured on THE Beyonce’s Lemonade tour! She also makes videos with the YouTube channel Naturally Curly and brings her charming personality to that platform as well. Be sure to check her out on Twitter! I asked her a few questions about her work, and here is what she had to say!
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
The people who influence me or my tastes change pretty often, so in general, I’m inspired by human interaction and dialogue. I mean just listening to how people talk to each other is full of hilarious moments. The way a tired mom straight up IGNORES her kid in the check out line, phone conversations between adult children and their parents, and even how strangers interact. I’m inspired by how we all connect.
What role do you believe artists of color should have in society?
First, exist. Then, if the spirit moves ya, resist. A lot of times, the former is a way of doing the latter.
Is there a creative medium you want to pursue but haven’t yet?
Animation and voice acting! I want to be a cartoon so badly!
How do you involve your family in your work?
I collaborate with my brother on video projects since he does video and film work also. But really my family is involved without realizing it since they inspire so many of my videos and mannerisms and even phrases that I say. They made me who I am and that shows up in my work.
What’s the most valuable part of collaborating with other YouTubers?
Whew – realizing I’m not alone and that the grass is rarely greener. It’s easy for me to beat myself up because I’m not in NY or LA living “the dream” but my counterparts in those cities struggle also. It also honestly helps us band together and understand our worth. When it’s YouTubers who share similar experiences, it helps to have someone to talk to about life stuff. And sometimes just talking to a (perceivably) carefree white dude who makes videos about jumping off waterfalls reignites that creativity in me. Like yeah! Lemme turn off NPR and go swimming!
What’s your favorite thing that you’ve created outside of YouTube?
My Magical Black Girl shirts!! I’m amazed at how far they’ve traveled and how we just spot each other and do that Black People Head Nod, like, real recognize real.
How does Creators For Change work? Do you have all the freedom you need to create your own content working with that entity?
In 2017, I was part of the first cohort in the YouTube Creators For Change fellowship. We were selected for this opportunity but in the future, there might be an application process — I’m not sure how it works now since my fellowship time is up, but here’s the website: https://www.youtube.com/yt/creators-for-change/
The goal of the program was to encourage empathy and tackle social issues, so as long as our content fell within those themes, it was good to go.
Do you consider yourself an activist? How did you first become one?
I feel like that title isn’t entirely in my own hands. Part of me wants to shy away from it because I have a preconceived notion that activist means one who never changes their mind on topic, goes hard all the time and ends up sacrificing their body or sanity for a cause. One who is watched with such a critical eye that people never use to watch themselves, know what I mean?
But the other part of me knows that I have a valid story to share and want to make the world a better place. But then the other part of me just wants to eat Pop Tarts, ya know?