If you told me a few years ago that starting my Youtube channel would bring me on a journey to discovering my cultural roots while helping to educate people all over the world, I wouldn’t believe you.
Today, my Youtube channel is about showcasing countries and cultures through lived experiences, but that was not always the goal of the channel
Initially, I started my Youtube channel, CharisMaggie Tv in the fall of 2016, as a way to help international students who are studying in Canada with university tips and hacks and also a guide on how to adjust to a new environment. As someone who has moved to 4 different countries and was exposed to a variety of cultures, I felt it was good to share the knowledge I acquired through experience on Youtube.
It was also an interest for me because I would have a lot of people who would inbox me on Facebook asking how to apply for schools in Canada and also felt like some of the information provided by the school was not fully preparing students for life in Canada.
During my studies in Newfoundland, a few friends and I would often get frustrated with comments or assumptions that were made about us by either local residents or students. If you were black, people automatically thought you were from Africa and even if we were indeed from Africa, the fact that they thought of Africa as a country and not a continent made up of different countries was a bit alarming. Another example, especially for those from the Caribbean was that if they had a Caribbean accent, everyone assumed they were from Jamaica or Trinidad.
Surprisingly enough, I had some white friends who were not from Canada who were often mistaken for being Canadian because they “looked Canadian.” They were also not so happy with this assumption.
In 2018, I decided to create a web series called “Fi Di Kulcha” where I did fun, informative interviews with a few friends or colleagues who could help to bring awareness to their culture and country to help debunk some common misconceptions or myths associated with us. Some topics were focused on food, language, and music.
For that first year, countries featured were Belize, Mauritius, Zambia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Roatan and The Netherlands. The videos were not receiving much attention until 8 months later and just like that, I had comments from people from Sierre Leone, Mexico, South Africa, The USA, Canada and more.
For some, the videos were helpful to them for an assignment or research they were doing or additional info they needed because they wanted to visit those countries, while for others, it was that sense of pride to see their country represented positively in a video.
Since then, I have grown to over 3000 subscribers, featured more than 20 countries and will be launching season 4 of this same series in June 2021.
Although my growth is not as fast as I would like it to be compared to other Youtubers, I am content in knowing that a few years from now, my videos will be a great resource in helping people discover more about a country and its culture beyond what is shown on mainstream media.
I feel like the journey I have with my channel has not only helped me in educating people but it has also brought me closer to my African roots through some of the videos I have done. I can now easily identify similarities between my Haitian/ Jamaican culture and my African roots.
My hope is that I can continue growing, to create more series and that more people are educated and can soon travel to more countries and appropriately indulge in other cultures.
Maybe one day, I’ll have my own series on Neflix. That would be ammaazzinnggg!