Like no platform before it, YouTube has provided an outlet for entertainers with little to no concern for age, gender, race or creed. The only qualifier for a successful, stunning YouTube channel is not one’s personal beliefs, but instead their ability to entertain and engage their audience. It’s a platform free of gatekeepers and free of the barriers that might be in place within television or film.
Last March, NMR caught up with Hannah Hart, one of YouTube’s fastest rising creators. Hart spoke about those very same barriers, or lack thereof on YouTube: “Entertainment as we know it, television, that sort of thing is run by a group of people, a group of people with their own interests,” Hart said. “So that is like the filter through which all television and all media is kinda come to be. YouTube, however, is really just much more about the individual, so it’s like — for as much as I’m comfortable allowing myself to be myself — YouTube can allow me to be myself.”
Hart has never been shy about who she is; In fact, it’s one of the many qualities that has led her to become of the most influential and prolific creators of the past two years. Hart explains:
“Let’s say somebody really wants to be a dancer, and they’re like, ‘This is my little like dance journey on YouTube’ — it’s not like you’re really looking for anybody else’s approval to put it up. Somebody might be like, ‘I’m not interested in that. I don’t want to watch that.’ Too bad, I’m just distributing it! Watch it or not! It’s up to you! I’m doing this for me to be out there!”
NMR spoke with Hart in the wake of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling to allow gay marriage to resume in California to talk about YouTube’s role in the ruling and the amazing moment in U.S. history.
Being openly gay yourself, were you much more comfortable using YouTube as a platform than you would have been approaching any other platform? What about YouTube kind of opened up entertainment for you?
I wasn’t pursuing a career in entertainment at the time so I think that if I have been walking down the street and somebody had been like, “Hey random girl, do you want a TV show?” I would have been like, “Yeah sure.” Just in the same way YouTube is like, “This is funny. Make it more,” I was like, “Oh sure.” So it’s hard to say. Yeah, it is hard for me to answer that because I wasn’t pursuing a career in entertainment at the time so I didn’t factor my gayness into that.
A lot of performers have really been breakout successes on YouTube but also been openly gay performers — you have Kingsley, you have Tyler Oakley, you have Qaadir. What do you think it is about YouTube that makes these people so comfortable performing and talking openly about their sexuality?
You know I think that what it is not about is people feeling comfortable talking about their sexuality. I think that traditional still is catering to every part of America, and there is a very strong, conservative quote, un-quote family friendly-like sensibility that isn’t as open to the LGBT community as YouTube is since there is no gatekeeper to YouTube. With that being said I think all entertainment, and frankly American society, is shifting more towards embracing people of creed, sexuality, race or religion [laughs]. So yeah I think there is nobody telling them not to be themselves on YouTube.