I’ve been trying since yesterday evening to tell this story without being offensive or condescending about the elderly, the demented, or the homeless. I don’t know if I ever figured it out, so I’d like to apologize in advance…
Yesterday I boarded the G train and there was a pale elderly man seated next to a tomato. Not tomato sauce in a can. Not a small package of grape tomatoes, just a big. red. tomato.
He quickly spotted me (my fro has that effect) and started screaming at me in Italian I couldn’t comprehend. He snapped his fingers to get my attention a few times, but I just browsed photos I’d already seen on my phone, shuffled a few songs on my “chill times bro” playlist, and fiddled with my never-ending hangnails. While I thought the tomato was strange, what came next was even stranger:
He picked up the tomato, and he put it into his pants. Not the pants he was wearing, mind you, but one of the two pairs of pants he was holding in his lap. He didn’t put it in a pocket of the pants. He put it into the pants entire.
I don’t know what any of that meant, truly. I’d like to think it was a metaphor for a city like New York, but maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was just a bizarre interaction on the subway.
Everyone Deserves the Chance to Fly. Thanks for 50k!
At the time I am writing this, it is 1 a.m., I should be sleeping, but instead I’m feeling all the feelings and I want to emote:
I started making consistent YouTube videos in 2012. Sometimes they weren’t good. Sometimes they were good. Either way, not many people were watching them. I was bashful to share them because I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t have the ability to produce anything remotely like my vision, and as a broke kid from Kentucky, I didn’t know where to begin to find “my people” online. It was daunting. It was hard. And like making big gold balloons face the correct direction in light of excess wind—it was a challenge that I somehow accepted.
I adjusted my sails (or balloon strings—if you will) and moved to New York to pursue a comedy career. I had some really remarkable days, and really mediocre days, and really sucky days. I came this|close to realizing dreams and watched some fall away, but I refused to be defeated just because my goal was hard.
I come to you as someone who is awestruck by the unwavering support, guidance, and hope you’ve all given me. I specifically want to point out my friend, Tim, who has stayed up way passed his bedtime to edit for me, and listen to me emote sosoSO many nights.
As for my precious audience, I want you to know that you’ve made this journey worth every lonely night, every busy day, and every exhilarating moment. It has been the absolute joy of my life making silly little videos to make you smile and I hope you all get to feel how I’m feeling right now—whatever your passion may be (and if you already have, I hope you get to feel it again).
This dream is a big monster that I’m happy to say I have an army of people helping me chase down, and I have never doubted less the possibility of us succeeding together. We’re making it happen. We’re defying gravity.
Akiliah, how did you get where you are today? I'm totally in love with your videos and I want to do exactly what you do when I'm in college/an adult (ah!). I'm still in high school but, I'll be graduating next year. I'd love it if you could help make my dreams come true! xD <3
Thanks for liking my videos! You’d be amazed how much thought goes into each and how much work Tim and I have been putting in. That said:
I’ve gotten to where I am now (read: laying in bed pantsless editing a video on a Saturday night) by figuring out what is most important to me. I am constantly checking in with myself about my life and goals. They’ve shifted a few times, and I can say with full honesty that there were times that I clearly lost sight of them, but checking in reminds me about that totally obtainable endgame. Chasing your dream is never easy. I’ve sacrificed a lot, and will continue to because I love making people laugh— I want to do it full-time and collaborate with people I love and always be improving my stuff. It doesn’t really make for much of a YOLO/TONIGHT WE ARE YOUUUUUNG lifestyle, but it does make bigger things possible.
I have no doubt you can make it to where I am. If your ambitions are similar, get a headstart on me! Start writing and creating now! Don’t wait until after high school or college. Put your voice into the world and keep trying and improving and evolving.
That’s about as close as I’ll come to making your dream come true, so I hope it was helpful!
#CitizenMNYC is such a blur now. Oh man, so much free food, so many free drinks, so much dancing, and laughing, and losing my voice and not sleeping. It was crazy. Like total chaos! I loved Alex Winston as the musical guest (hella talented), I loved Mike Perry’s drawings. I loved The Bumbys. I loved it all. If you’re coming to stay in NYC, check out CitizenM. It’s such a great place to stay.
Doing that thing where I’m 100 years old secretly and obsessing over light fixtures.
Feel free to swoon over the cake pop selection, because I totally did.
Mike Perry and his googly eyes, man. So much to say (below, obviously).
The fashioniest fashion bloggers were there. I was praying for an impromptu makeover session, but no such luck. I did get to stand near Christina Caradona’s fro, but I don’t feel like I absorbed any of its powers.
Just being a curly monster in my bed alone. So soft. Must. Invest. In. New. Mattress.
I swear the VEDA thing wasn’t April Fool’s prank—I was just extremely ill this morning in the coughing up blood kind of way, so I couldn’t get around to it. I will be back tomorrow with a DOUBLE HEADER VEDA just to make it up to you.
Much like all of the other internet people who were at Playlist Live in Orlando last weekend, I have fallen ill. I’m thinking it was a mixture of 8,000 germy kids, lack of sleep/proper-not-alcohol hydration and plane travel. Regardless, here’s some stuff I love:
+I’m doing VEDA starting in April, which is a vlog everyday. I’m not going to do it that way though, I’m doing 5 days of vlogs, and the two regular videos per week. Y’all are gonna know me so well.
Hmmm, well up until last week we were using the Canon 5D Mark iii. Last week we used a Black Magic Pocket Cinema cam with some external recording doo-hickeys. And now, we’re using a Black Magic 4k cam! So much more high-tech than I used to be thanks to Tim.
I can. Though I lamented it then, my alma mater required that prior to graduation each student be able to pass a swim test. If you couldn’t pass the test you had to take a class. Well, after failing the test freshman year and subsequently signing up for and then dropping the class every semester thereafter, I bit the bullet and in the spring of 2010 I figured it out.
Hello !I've just found out about you as a comedian, and i have to say you are very funny :) I haven't really looked through all your youtube videos or all your tumblr posts and i'm sure you'd rather get questions about your work than about your hair, so i apologize in advance if you've already answered this question. Do you have a bedtime routine for your hair ? Like if you have styled your hair, what do you do to keep it from getting all messy when you sleep ?
I twist! I do like 8 big giant twists all over my head and then I put on a silk cap so when I untwist in the morning there’s less bed debris/fuzz in it. AND the little curls stay in tact!
Hansspent a lot of time making all of my different pages look super snazzy and I wanted to share them with you. I’m extremely pleased with the color palette and the design work he’s done and I finally feel like I’m doing this whole “internet person” thing correctly. Visit my site linksbelow to see em all up close and follow :)
By now you’ve heard me mention Hans a few times… No? Well then check out his YouTube channel, his Lookbook, his Twitter, and his Facebook photography page and get back to me. Cliffnotes: We went to college together, he came to NYC for a fashion internship this summer, and he just moved back! And as hip kids in Brooklyn are want to do, we caught up for a coffee and photo date.
It was just flat-ironed. I had it that way for my Olivia Pope videos. I’m gonna do it again probably in a week to shoot more stuff. But yeah, when I used to relax my hair it wouldn’t grow nearly that long.
Sandgrens (the adorable authentic Swedish clog company) anointed me their “Chosen One” for Pinterest this February! All month long I’ve been posting the cutest looks and my aesthetic all over their board! Check out and follow the board I’m curating here!