I came across Marques Brownlee, a.k.a. MKBHD, earlier this year when he was mentioned in the comments of some article I was reading. Curious, I clicked through to his YouTube channel and ended up subscribing.
It turns out MKBHD is a YouTube star with nearly 13 million subscribers — and I can understand why. Brownlee has an earnestness and humility about him that is endearing and builds trust, which is crucial for anybody doing product reviews. I’ve watched several of his videos since that day, and found his coverage to be fair, easy to understand, and thorough. It’s a nice contrast to the legions of YouTubers who rely on yelling at the camera, stunts, fancy graphics or by manufacturing controversy.
I definitely noticed Brownlee was black, of course, because there are so few black people among the technology press in general and YouTube community in particular. But I also liked the fact it was a non-issue for him and his fans. His channel is all about tech, not race.
That changed — at least for one video — in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder and subsequent riots and protests across America. I was aware Brownlee had done a video on race at the time, but didn’t end up watching it until today — nearly five months after he published it. In short, it’s excellent.
If you have doubts over whether racism exists in the United States, or don’t understand why so many people were protesting against reckless police officers, or simply think the issue is overblown, then you need to watch this (embedded below).
Brownlee’s humility and earnestness is on full display as he walks viewers through the life of a black man who excelled in golf (a mostly white sport) and the tech media (also mostly white), despite the fact that his skin color was a defining characteristic. In his words, he was the “good black frisbee player” or the “good black creator” on YouTube, when he just wanted to be a “good creator.”
I don’t want to give everything away, so I encourage you to watch and let me know what you think in the comments. It’s definitely worth your time.