Lilly Singh Is Calling Out Mainstream Celebs Who Use YouTubers As "Pawns"

20 February 2018, 10:38

Lilly Singh with Will Smith
Lilly Singh with Will Smith. Picture: Lilly Singh // YouTube

By Josh Lee

Lilly won't "destroy my self-worth."

Lilly Singh had some stern words for mainstream stars who think YouTubers are an easy route to online relevance last night.

Lilly, who has collaborated with a number of Hollywood celebrities on her YouTube channel, including The Rock, John Legend, Chelsea Handler and Nick Jonas, spoke out against "traditional celebrities" using YouTubers as "pawns" in a series of tweets last night.

"With all due respect," Lilly tweeted, "if you're a 'traditional' celebrity trying to enter the digital space on platforms such as YouTube, please do not approach my peers and I as if we are pawns in your strategy." She added, "Happy to collaborate as creatives, not destroy my self-worth for your cameo."

She went on to say, "Miss me with that, 'I want your viewership enough to collaborate but not enough to trust your creative vision' nonsense."

While Lilly refused to explicitly name the celebrities she was talking about in her Tweets, she did point out that her regular collaborator The Rock was not included in her message, describing him as "a fantastic, down to earth, humble human being who has my eternal support."

Should the YouTube community be worried about mainstream celebrities setting up vlogging channels?

Over the past year, more and more mainstream celebrities have started vlogging, hoping to tap into bigger and younger audiences. Of course someone like Will Smith, who's in his late 40s, isn't going to have the same online-best-pal appeal that people like Zoella or Nathan Zed have with younger audiences; however, Hollywood stars have access to better equipment and bigger budgets, plus they start their vlogging careers with a huge profile and reputation as an established star. All of that means they are fierce - perhaps unfairly so - competition to your typical up-and-coming YouTube personality.

Currently there aren't enough Hollywood stars coming to YouTube to pose a real threat to the Creator community that already exists. But with the huge number of privileges mainstream celebrities have when turning their hand to YouTube, Lilly Singh's point about respecting the everyday creator (who are to thank for YouTube being such a lucrative place for mainstream stars to build a platform) is an important one.