For a content creator to prosper, they must embrace outlets such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitch. But while creators need to adapt to the different requirements of these platforms, it’s important to maintain the creative vision that makes them unique. Beyond that, these online video producers are now expected to take their creative visions to the next level.
Kat Blaque – a YouTube star whose many roles include illustrator, animator and public speaker – is a prime example of an online video producer who has embraced these platforms and taken a path to success with content that is uniquely hers. She has done so by drawing on her own experiences as a black, transgender woman to cultivate her own creative point of view that resonates with her audience of nearly 400,000 YouTube subscribers.
Here’s a look at the techniques and methods Blaque utilizes to maintain her presence as a prominent YouTuber and content creator.
In the beginning
Blaque was born in Lynwood, Ca. in 1990. She graduated from the California Institute of the Arts, then began to pursue a career in animation — being an illustrator was a part of her makeup from early on. However, as Blaque discussed in her video “Why I Quit Being a Professional Artist…And Why I’m Back,” she felt like her work as an artist was severely undervalued from a financial standpoint, ultimately leading to her abandoning that career path altogether.
At the same time, Blaque was already on her way to becoming a well-known YouTuber. She’s been on the platform since 2005, and in her early days on the platform would vlog about anything that might have been on her mind at the moment, according to an interview with Advocate. But as Blaque’s advocacy on social issues and aspects relating to her core beliefs became more pronounced, her content began to possess more personal sentiments relating to her beliefs. As Blaque’s channel description asserts, she “creates videos about all of the various things she embodies and uses her personal experiences to teach life lessons and start conversations with her very generous, intelligent audience.” The channel description adds that “her content is about how we can relate to each other more and fight against the things that divide us, while not losing sight of our own boundaries.”
Blaque’s content covers a wide range of issues facing society and culture today. This obviously involves social justice issues — particularly as it impacts race, gender, the LGBTQ+ community and feminism. At the same time, Blaque’s channel allows for her to express feelings about any issue that she deems of value and importance.
Growing up, Blaque has illustrated how she learned a lesson about being quiet and not standing out — years ago, Blaque resorted to sewing her own clothes because of the nervousness she felt when going to a store’s women’s clothing section. While this no longer affects her, nor keeps her from living her life as she sees fit, it did strengthen her resolve to be honest with oneself and not step back into the shadows when something negative occurs.
The importance of directly addressing the viewer
What is most important and alluring in Blaque’s videos is how she directly addresses the viewer (i.e., the camera). It’s done in a forthright and honest manner, bolstered by a strong will behind her statements that’s clearly evident in most of her content. In other words, Blaque does not hide or couch her feelings or her intent. What her audience gets instead is an authentic take on topics and issues through the lens of Blaque’s unique perspective.
That her YouTube videos have been shown in classrooms is a testament to both her not pulling punches, as well as not throwing them so as to disinvite conversation and communication. “True Tea” is the name of an ongoing presentation in which Blaque brings up topics that are important to her and which she feels deserve discussion. She readily acknowledges that her opinions are based on, well, her feelings and thoughts and could change. But it’s the moment that counts, and she wants to share that moment, in the moment, with her viewers. For Blaque, a central part of her content seems to be about starting an honest dialogue with her audience and keeping them engaged.
Technical is important but…
Production value of video is always important, and the high-quality equipment being used allows for a more intimate view of Blaque. Although simple set-ups and backgrounds are often part of her content, it’s what Blaque has to say that is the most important element. So, the technology that drives the ability for her to be seen (i.e., the streaming) is part of the background. The audio quality of her videos is clear and free of distractions (surface noise, etc.), allowing for the viewer to concentrate on what she is saying. Blaque has said the most important aspect of her content is the human element — the person communicating — and that will get through to viewers regardless of the technology being utilized, as long as honest feelings are being conveyed.
Blaque’s YouTube channel accumulates tens (and sometimes hundreds) of thousands of views on a weekly basis. And while her channel provides an income from monetization, Blaque has shown an eye for diversification among her streams of revenue and professional pursuits. Besides doing lectures and participating in speaking engagements, she also contributes to publications and appears on other programs. She has an account on Patreon, a site where individuals can become a subscriber and contribute financially to a person’s projects in exchange for premium content.
Blaque has not shared specifics regarding her future plans, but it seems clear that she will continue her stand towards advancing the rights and humanity of all who suffer as a result of bigotry and ignorance.