Black BookTubers Are Running YouTube
Sistah Girls, gone are the days when Black authors and readers have to sit and wait for reviews to drop from traditional publications. With the internet–more specifically social media, the power has been somewhat placed back into the people’s hands. Yes, we love and appreciate traditional reviews, but let’s be honest, they don’t always review or cover the books we love.
Within the last ten years, there has been a surge of Black authors choosing to publish their books independently. And with the rise of indie publishing came the rise of Black indie book reviewers and book influencers.
And y’all know the power of social media is real, it’s literally word of mouth on steroids. YouTube has largely been the place where you go to find reviews on IKEA furniture, makeup, clothing, and of course books. Black BookTubers have been doing their thing on YouTube for years but they are still marginalized and overlooked by major outlets.
In 2019, HuffPost published, “Where Are All The Black BookTubers?” the article detailed how Black BookTubers have been overlooked for opportunities that their white peers seem always to get tapped for. And it doesn’t help that when you type in BookTube you can scroll for an eternity before you find one Black BookTuber. When you have time I encourage you to read Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism.
While scrolling on YouTube, I noticed that in 2020 Black BookTubers participated in something called Black BookTuber Tag. This tag was started by ReadingBlk (the YouTube page is no longer available). Black BookTubers were given a few prompts where they tell you about themselves, share the books they love by Black authors, and then tag another Black BookTuber who then does the same.
Not only did this tag expose Black readers to Black BookTubers it showed the power of community within the Black literary space. And since we love to see it, we are sharing some of the BookTubers who participated in the tag. Please visit their pages, share their videos, and in my YouTube voice, don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe.
To Be Black and Loved
First of all, the name of Jonathan’s channel (To Be Black and Loved) alone had me smiling from ear to ear. His voice is soothing, he’s very informative and thorough when he does his reviews. Jonathan has monthly book wrap ups and he also goes live to discuss the books he’s read.
What Ambria Reads
Ambria is a vibe, her entire channel is inviting and her personality literally jumps off the page. I appreciate that she gives honest reviews without malice. Ambria reads both fiction and non-fiction but you will find more non-fiction on her page.
bounded and bookmarked
Jaleesa has fantasy and romance sprinkled throughout her page. She also has vlogs, reading sprint videos, and even a video showing us how she annotates. I love that she is super real when vlogging and entertaining when she gives her reviews.
Ciara is a whole professional dancer who loves to read–how dope is that? She has reviews on YA, fantasy, poetry, and more. Her podcast, “what is this book about?” goes into detail (episodes are also on her YouTube page) about the books she’s read. And if you like shorter videos she has some on her page from her Book Tok that are less than a minute.
I adore Elle’s energy, she’s spunky, she lives on a farm and she’s from Canada–what’s not to love? Her energy is what pulls you in to keep watching her videos even if you’ve never read the book she’s talking about.
Chi has a personality that gives us all the vibes, when she speaks on her channel you get the feeling that you’ve spoken to her before. Chi gives us book hauls, recent reads, book reviews, and so much more. And if you love Sci-Fi and Manga this is the page for you!
Tahiry is a queen okay! First, she’s from NYC so she’s already my good sis (I’m from Brooklyn). She’s Muslim, she speaks a lot on her channel about modest fashion, and she’s pre-law (loves it). I also love the fact that Tahiry covers Blackity Black topics on her page.
Hey It’s Shey
Lowkey, Shey could be a news anchor, her speaking voice is so crisp and clear. Most of the books covered on her page are non-fiction so if that’s your jam, Shey is your girl. I love that she is super transparent about her reading journey, whether she’s new to a book that everyone has seemingly already read, she introduces each title and gives a fresh perspective.
Who do you watch BookTube? Share in the comments section…
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