After only hosting abroad since its 2014 conception, YouTube FanFest premiered its first event in the states during the 2017 Howard University Homecoming festivities. Featuring YouTube stars like comedians Dormtainment and actress Teala Dunn, #YouTubeBlack FanFest targeted black creators and their black fan base.
The unique event kicked off with a meet and greet where "super fans" had the opportunity to meet their favorite YouTubers before doors opened. During this time, SoulBounce was able to chat with Cameron J of RandomStructureTV about his music inspiration and infusion into his content. He spoke about his relationship with comedy and music, saying, "I don't have to choose."
As the doors to Howard University's Cramton Auditorium opened and anxious students piled into the sold-out show, the talk of the night was Daniel Caesar's performance. Making the #YouTubeBlack FanFest a stop on his sold-out Freudian Tour, many students didn't think they would be able to see him live in concert. His career a testament to the power of YouTube and social media, Daniel Caesar accumulated much of his success after his debut EP, 2014's Praise Break, thanks to his online presence.
Hosted by actor/comedian TPindell, the show was a compilation of all art. From a blindfolded makeup challenge with Miles Jai and Amber Whittington of Ambers Closet (YouTubers love challenges!) to standup performed by Alonzo Lerone and spoken word from Spoken Reasons, if it was their craft, we saw it.
Also in attendance was popular R&B duo VanJess who performed two original songs, their breakout hit “Touch the Floor” featuring Masego and an acoustic version of “Through Enough” featuring GoldLink. Opening the vein for other YouTube stars to showcase their original music, both Summerella and Tré Melvin both used the stage to debut their original music. Some audience members took a liking to seeing their favorite stars try something new, while others wished they could see them for what they did.
YouTube being a hub for music, it was no surprise that it was a musical night. With special appearances from the Howard University Showtime Marching Band and Choir, #YouTubeBlack FanFest merged media, music and the youthful black experience flawlessly. The soulful and sultry closing performance from Daniel Caesar was, of course, the perfect note to end on.