Written by Penelope Farthing
Popular interracial YouTube family vloggers Jamie and Nikki Perkins have been in the rumor mill lately, due to their silence on their channel, and infrequent posts on their other platforms. Apparently they have unfollowed each other on Instagram, but I haven’t confirmed that myself. As I don’t follow them (or any family vloggers), I can’t speak to any of the drama, but I do know there are some lessons to be learned:
This comment, left on Nikki’s Instagram, gave me pause:
“Don’t you think you owe it to your followers to let us know what’s going on? I mean you don’t have to go into great detail but something is better than radio silence! After all we are the reason you both are able to live a life of luxury with expensive holidays, cars, your home, home renovations, over the top parties, designer clothes and camera equipment….”
Yes, they made their fortune in the public eye and their millions of fans may feel that watching them for years means that the Perkins’ owe everybody an explanation. But, newsflash, they owe you nothing, just like you don’t owe them your clicks, either. If their radio silence grieves you so, just like it was free to follow and subscribe, it is also free to do the opposite. If the rumors are to be believed and things are on the outs, they are still entitled to solving those issues in their own way, in their own time, without the scrutiny of millions of strangers.
Nothing has even been confirmed on the Perkins’ relationship front, but the rumor mill is working overdrive, pointing fingers and finding fault as if they know with confidence if there is even fault to find. It harkens back to the McClure family back not that long ago, and the absolute glee some black women took at the potential breakdown of their union, going so far as to dig up old wounds and spread it online just because Ami said something they disagreed with, and because Justin posted some dumb tweets back when he wanted to be a comedian.
Every time a BW/WM couple splits, those of us in the swirling camp are expected to account for the failed union (The Nive Nulls come to mind), and are met with “Seeeee! Those white men are no better, told you so!” when statistics still show that BW/WM couples still have the best longevity. Couples of every racial makeup and configuration imaginable break up all the time, why is it such a shock that interracial ones can have problems too? Meanwhile, black couples can have their difficulties or complications and the “I told you so” retorts are noticeably smaller in number. Are black love advocates expected to account for when intraracial unions fail? If not, then why are those of us on this side made to “hold another L for Team Swirl”?
When couples far more famous than a family on YouTube hit the splits, like the recent Wendy Williams and Mary J. Blige and Sherri Shepard, those women are expected to account for why they got with broke dudes, as opposed to why they got with black dudes. It is an interesting paradigm.
Yeah, those YouTube checks and sponsorship deals are no doubt an incentive to try your hand at the vlogging thing, but is it worth the cost of having your life on Front Street for all to see? Comment sections are unkind even on the most innocent of videos, but making a living off having a camera lens in the face of your family opens the door for people to call you parenting style, hygiene practices, financial literacy, relationship status, and literally anything else into question. If you think that you can make a hustle out of a family vlog (especially as a black woman in an interracial pairing, which, let’s be honest, can be a lucrative gig because of the curiosity/uniqueness angle), be cognizant of the not-so-glamorous dark side that can come along with each new subscriber.
Beyond having your own secret stash of mad money if things don’t work out, all women, regardless of who they are partnered with, should have their own safety net. Whether it is a job they can jump back into if the YouTube checks dry up, a profitable small business, or marketable skills that can lead to a fresh career, having a soft place to land if a relationship sours will make the transition after a break up a little easier.
Obviously I don’t know these people so all of this is mere speculation. For me, I really hope that this is all just a rumor and they come out triumphant on the other side.