Enter Stage Right, The Video Essayist

Honestly… Learning bits and pieces of information traditionally can cause a headache. Whether reading a dense, jargon-filled article or sitting through a slide show lecture taught by a professor, learning about new topics become boring, making us disinterested in whatever is being taught. Nowadays, most students just go to Google and YouTube to fully grasp the concept they are learning. YouTube houses millions of videos on various topics. Whether it be niche or popular, you can find it on YouTube. 

Video essays have become quite accessible in recent years. Anyone with internet access and YouTube can find them easily. Over the past decade, there have been YouTubers publishing their visual essays for anyone and everyone to see. The topics of the videos vary depending on the essayist’s and their target audience’s interests. Some are analyses backed by research on pop culture and social issues. Others might center around the mechanics or lore of a game, or a TV show’s power system. Topics are only limited to what the mind can imagine. Most videos average 10  to 25 minutes for a single essay–but some videos can last up to an hour or even longer! Each video is carefully crafted with substantial evidence to support their arguments.

Today’s recommended video essayist is a Bahamian YouTuber that goes by “Foreign,” a shortened version of his channel name “Foreign Man in a Foreign Land.” His videos mainly center his nuanced perspective as a Bahamian on predominately Western social and political issues. As an international student, Foreign studied Political Science at the University of Iowa in the United States. Here, he was exposed to conservative politics and rhetoric due to the institution’s ideological leanings. However, his channel has more left-leaning political ideals and rhetoric. His unique perspective is insightful and provides needed representation in the majority racially white “LeftTube.” With humor subtly intertwined with his talking points, he also conducts interviews with those more knowledgeable on topics he’s interested in.

My recommended video today explores the history of black athletes and the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes such as the attribution of black excellence in sports to genetics. Foreign starts with an anecdote about his story as a black athlete and how he dealt with sexual harassment in his martial arts studio. He then connects this experience to the history of black athletes worldwide, and the eventual commodification of black bodies.

Through this video, and by watching other video essayists on YouTube, educating ourselves on our interests and social issues has become more accessible!

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