‘It is important for Black gamers to see Black gamers’: AyChristene’s philosophy on group growth
When YouTube Gaming creator AyChristene started her journey on YouTube six years ago, she had a bag packed with dreams. She has always wanted to develop a career in entertainment, and more importantly bring people joy and laughter. Today, AyChristene has amassed more than 313 million views on YouTube across multiple channels covering a range of content, including live streaming video games, reactions, and performing original songs.
We recently caught up with AyChristene to get a look into what energizes her and how she’s using her voice to grow representation of female and Black creators in the gaming community. As we celebrate Women’s History Month throughout March, it felt especially fitting to kick things off with a woman who’s making gaming history of her own.
How did you get started on YouTube? Why gaming content?
AyChristene: "Years ago, I recall me and my husband searching for P.T., and [we] came across a video on YouTube from DashieGames. When we found the video, we were amazed that people could play video games and put them on the internet. I used to play ‘Call of Duty’ and my husband always laughed watching me play. Even though I was never good at it, I had so much fun. Seeing Dashie’s video made us realize that it’d be fun to make people laugh by watching me play. I had always wanted to do something in media and entertainment. In fact, I always wanted to be a singer and actress! And we saw YouTube as an opportunity that felt just right. We saw YouTube as the place where we could grow a career in media and where we could eventually revolve to do some other projects that we’re passionate about, beyond gaming.”
To some, the concept of being a gaming creator and a live streamer are pretty new. How do you explain what you do every day on YouTube to someone who is not familiar with what a gamer or a content creator is?
AyChristene: "Even though I’ve been a content creator since 2015, and YouTube has been around for way longer than that, the concept of putting videos online and making a living out of it... it’s still a fairly new concept to a lot of people. It’s never easy to explain what I do to people outside of the YouTube and gaming communities. The easiest way is to break it into a few pieces. I typically start with, ‘I work in media or that I’m a video producer.’ Then I go into, ‘I am a gamer and I stream and upload videos on YouTube.’ It normally takes a bit for people to understand that this is a career.”
Becoming one of the #YouTubeBlackVoices Fund grantees made me realize that dreams are not as far away in the ethos. It was pretty amazing to find out that we were part of this initiative.”
You were recently listed as one of 132 grantees in the inaugural class of YouTube's Black Voices Fund. Were you excited when you found out?
AyChristene: “I had so many emotions! I immediately cried when my YouTube partner manager gave us the news. It felt great to be acknowledged for how hard we’ve worked over the past years to grow the AyChristene brand and our YouTube channel. To be recognized -- particularly with everything that has happened over the past year, around the world and within our Black community -- having these moments of accomplishment and recognition are absolutely amazing. As content creators, we’re always encouraging one another and our fans to dream big. Becoming one of the #YouTubeBlackVoices Fund grantees made me realize that dreams are not as far away in the ethos. It was pretty amazing to find out that we were part of this initiative.”
I personally know how important your husband and daughter are for you. How do you manage your wellbeing? Any tips for other YouTube parents around how to balance life and being a content creator?
AyChristene: “Balancing personal life with the work [you] do online can be difficult, depending on how often you produce content. I personally prioritize and try to maximize time with my family as much as I can. It also takes a lot of scheduling. Planning, for example, when my daughter eats breakfast or lunch and ensuring that we’re not streaming or producing content during that time is key. We’re also lucky to have a very supportive family who helps me and my husband achieve balance. Finding balance is gold in this career.”
You recently have been streaming content with Jazzyguns, egoBlack, Poiised, Rico the Giant and Dwayne Kyng, and you’re always championing and collaborating with Black Creators on your platform. Can you tell us why this philosophy of “group growth” is so important to you?
AyChristene: “It is super important to me to bring together and collaborate with other Black gaming creators because this is the one group of the YouTube community that has been largely underrepresented in regards to gaming. When you look at all the genres of gaming, there normally isn't a Black face, and if there is, it’s probably just one.
Especially after all the events that happened in the U.S.A. last year, it is now more important than ever for us to come together and be the ones that change the face of gaming by collaborating with each other and lifting each other up.
My daughter already loves watching video games on our TV. It is important for Black gamers to see Black gamers. I want to see my daughter grow up seeing others that look like her on YouTube and on TV.”