SAVANNAH BROWN EXCLUSIVE: "People Listen To YouTubers More Than Traditional Celebrities"
16 March 2016, 12:23
Read our EXCLUSIVE interview with one of YouTube's brightest stars.
"I'm a poet" Savannah Brown confidently declares on our filming set. But she's so much more than that. Savannah Brown is a feminist. A filmmaker. A publisher. A YouTuber. A model. A student. And one of the most intelligent people we've ever met.
Here, Savannah chats to us about feminism, going viral and her self published poetry book Graffiti And Other Poems. Interspaced with a series of exclusive shots from a photoshoot we did with Savannah, the pioneering creator tells us where she believes the future of YouTube is going and how to deal with the concept of being a role model.
On The Stimga Of The YouTuber Book
"I was always a writer a long time before I was a YouTuber. But writing was always the thing I was doing; YouTube has become an extension of my writing in a way. As you may know, I do a lot of poetry on my YouTube channel. [My book is] a bit different [to a] a memoir that I’ve written about my life, it’s a poetry book exclusively."
On Going Viral
"YouTube has helped me loads, the reason I got recognised in the first place was because I wrote and performed a slam poem called “What Guys Look For In Girls” and it was a response video to an infamous video by a silly boy. The video went viral, like, instantly, it has something like 4.5 million views now…
(Click play to see Savannah's aforementioned video)
I was still in High School at the time, it was absolutely insane! But that was kind of cool because a lot of my original audience came from that video. Before I put it up I had around 15,000 subscribers and by the end of the whole ordeal, I had over 100,000 which was really nice because it meant that a lot of my audience were more willing to watch something that was a bit more creative and not your standard YouTube video. That was what allowed me to start posting poetry on my channel and from there it just kind of made sense that I would put everything into physical content like a book. It all kind of flowed naturally."
On Being Recognised
"I don’t think anyone who would be considered a YouTube celebrity wants to say they're a YouTube celebrity. People who are popular on YouTube function on the idea of relatability- "We're not celebrities, we're just like you."
I don’t call myself a celebrity but I have been recognised doing silly mundane things like wearing sweatpants and being hungover. It’s very humbling and people have come up to me and told me that I’ve inspired them and then I think back to when I was younger and I would think about the people who really inspired me and I guess to be that for someone else is really cool."
On Being A Role Model
"I think all YouTubers with a following have a responsibility to realise the impact they have on young people. I recognise that I have this platform and I try to use this platform to raise issues that are important, things that I feel I have a responsibility to think about. When people are familiar with and they respect you like a friendly figure and they’ll listen to you.
People listen to YouTubers so much, more than they would with traditional celebrities.
I’m not going to name names but there are people who make videos and produce content that are just inherently bad! And there’s nothing good about it and they're just taking advantage of what they’ve been given. So I think the question of being a good role model can apply to a lot of things and not just YouTubers. I think it’s just the recognising of that responsibility which is important."
On Women On YouTube
There are so many prank channels which are mainly guys and it's sort of “boys will we boys” and they're up to nonsense…
Women comedians are so heavily criticised and it’s when female YouTubers are recognised by the mainstream that it gives us this flood of hate because they are a women. It’s ridiculous and vile, I definitely think that there is a difference there.
I would love for more female creatives to openly discuss feminism and to openly talk about the disparities that do exist. That’s the thing though, it’s hard because as soon as someone says anything about feminism it opens this wave of absolute hatred. The “International Women’s Day” video on the YouTube Spotlight channel was insane- the dislike ratio is obscene and this is literally just because it features women! It makes no sense and it’s horrible.
Feminisms is ultimately inoffensive so I just think more people should talk about it."
On The Future Of YouTube And The Current Content Trends
"I think it is this cycle that’s really common, not only in YouTube but in the traditional media as well. People will watch films that have been funded and they’ll be the typical Hollywood funded picture that isn’t super original but lots of people will go and watch it. So they put all their money into this, because all these people go and watch that and then they think, “let’s do that again”. The same stuff is being made and watched again and again because they know it will do well. I think it’s a similar thing in YouTube.
I think that [innovative content] definitely exists. I think this is something that ultimately a lot of the smaller YouTubers need to be recognised for because you can say that there’s nothing original being created but actually there are lots of original things being created. It’s just a matter of what gets the recognition."
Savannah's book, Graffiti And Other Poems, can be purchased from SavBrown.com
All images by Elisa Spigariol- we highly recommend you check out her amazing work.
For an exclusive reading from Savannah's book, click play on the video below.