This time last year, I was using social media to avoid the reality of our world. The news, the jobs and the conversations seen and heard were just too much. I had done a social media detox, but as I slowly added the apps back to my phone, I knew I had to utilize them differently. I’ve daydreamed of life pre-social media; remembering what it was like to go dance, drink, and just live life without this odd veil of content being created all around me.
I understand that, essentially, a lot of connections that I care about are kept strong by society. But my mental health, like many of ours, began to deteriorate with continued consumption that hadn’t been vetted.
So when I decided to add YouTube, my favorite app so far outside of TikTok, I knew I wanted to experience the social landscape as a Black woman much differently. Over the last year, I made the conscious decision to seek content, affirmations and any other media that is not only affirmative for Black women but led by us too.
Here are five Black women on YouTube that I keep in my mental health arsenal.
After being exhausted from the lack of emotion in mainstream music, I was looking for a new vibe while I worked from home, that was curated intentionally. Luckily, I came across the lo-fi section of YouTube. My goal was to find a Black woman who created playlists of music that could create the perfect soundtrack to my life. Afro Lofi was the first that I found on YouTube, and while she’s moved most of her longer videos to her Patreon, I still tune in every morning as I drink my coffee and also get work done.
Alecia Renece The Artist
I came across Alecia’s video about wanting to give up on the “American Dream” as a Black woman. I thought I had been losing my mind during the second year of the pandemic, and had wished I found her sooner. Her straight-to-the-point approach is a breath of fresh air, and needed amongst the fluff. Her video on not being behind in life has also been a game changer for my mindset. The pandemic has taken away three years of our lives, from an emotional perspective and for some, their career and social trajectories. So, seeing a woman that looks like you, who is also on her journey of healing, happiness and minimalism during a daunting time has been relieving for my spirit.
Black Women Affirmations
A good amount of people still don't understand how affirmations work, and that’s fine. But repeating healing and encouraging statements to myself, even just for a few moments, proved to me that they are very powerful. For affirmations that may focus on money or health and fitness, I love to scroll through Janika Bates’ playlist of affirmations. Ayesha Noelle, another YouTuber with longer affirmation videos, is also very uplifting. For your first few times, I suggest listening to them, whether first thing in the morning or as you’re falling asleep. Eventually, you may find yourself repeating them.
Jessica is one of the most down-to-earth and helpful astrologers on YouTube—and now TikTok. She’s unfiltered and at times unexpected with her readings. Focusing on how the Universe speaks to her, she is the type to hop on YouTube and share a quick reading just because something called her to. I love that about her work. It’s not always planned, and always feels authentic and resonates with not just singular zodiacs, but with humanity as a whole. She’s like a getaway from the turmoil of the world every time she uploads.
Psychiatrist Dr. Tracy Marks
Based out of Atlanta, and with over 20 years of experience, I found Dr. Tracy Marks in 2021 when I was starting to feel the intense effects of isolation due to the pandemic. It had been almost a year of just being in the house, and mentally I wasn’t feeling it. Her nuanced topics helped me, as she was timely with what many of us were going through but couldn’t put into words. Dr. Marks is also very quick-witted, and makes learning about healing, therapy and mental health interesting.