Photo of Jojo Watson with the title 'Student Influencer'

Student Showcase: JoJo Watson

We’re back with another showcase, and this month we had the pleasure of talking to the incredible JoJo, @Jojoslipzz! Hype’s social content this month has been based on Black History Month, and we wanted to showcase one of our amazing students that we’ve worked with.  JoJo is an incredible content creator whom we’ve worked with in the past on several campaigns. In this showcase, we spoke to him about his thoughts on Black History Month in University and on social media.

Hype: Hey JoJo, could you briefly introduce yourself to our showcase readers?

JoJo: Hey, my name is JoJo, and I’m a student in London studying PR and Communications. My work seeks to challenge that stigma with an open, honest conversation with males. From body positivity to self-worth to self-love to mental health, my platform challenges the breaking down of those barriers and I have the goal of changing them forever.

Hype: How did you get involved with us, and what are some of the campaigns you’ve worked on with us?

JoJo: I don’t remember the initial moment I interacted with Hype, but working with the team has been excellent. What drew me to Hype was that they had terrific clients. And that the campaigns they put forward to me were within my personal work already. Meaning that the campaign flowed organically, and I was able to give my all as the campaign resonated with me. My favourite campaigns that I’ve worked on with Hype have to be Frontline Masculinity in men’s campaign and Lovehoney.

Hype: This month is Black History Month, and Hype has dedicated this month to finding and shouting about opportunities for young Black talent. What does Black History Month mean to you, and why is it so important to celebrate it?

JoJo: Black History Month means to me to honour the positive effect and contributions we have made to the globe.  Black History Month is so important as its a, real-life documentation of what our people are capable of doing despite adversity. Anything is conceivable. It is a chance to boldly throw a light on the complex histories and forgotten historical heroes of the Black diaspora. BHM invites us to reflect on the past, assess the present, and prepare for the future. Finally, it galvanizes and serves as a reminder of the enormous effort we must continue to perform all year to eradicate social inequalities.

Hype: How important is it for universities to shout out about Black History Month?

JoJo: It’s crucial. Representation is more important than ever before. As a black university student, I want to see my culture reflected across the campus and to feel that our talents and heritage are being acknowledged. However, certain universities may be performative in this regard. During last year’s BLM movement, numerous corporations and institutions apologized for their lack of support for the black community. They discussed ways to assist, elevate and support black individuals in all industries. However, it appears that in 2021, those so-called allies were speaking out because the prospect of being terminated online would harm their brand. So its is so important to talk about BHM and do it in a way that is authentic and not being forced.

Hype: What are some things universities can do for Black students that they’re not doing currently?

JoJo: Make more black spaces available for pupils to feel more comfortable. Additionally, greater opportunities for black students and staff members should be created, such as allowing them to serve on a board or in other positions where the institution’s senior decision-makers can hear their opinions.

Hype: Within your work as an influencer and content creator, what are some barriers you’ve faced as a POC, and how have you overcome these?

JoJo: It’s difficult. Being a person of colour in the influencer creative sector, when it comes to creators in my sector providing the same sort of material, I believe the largest hurdle I encounter is just a lack of opportunity. Non-POC creators are sometimes given preferential treatment by brands. Yes, having been in this field for a few years now, it is unfortunate that opportunity is not always afforded to us. But I’ve gotten around this by creating my own opportunities. I know that my material can stand on its own without the help of a major brand, or an agency taking a percentage for finding me a partnership.

Hype: How do you celebrate Black History Month on social media?

JoJo: It’s commemorated on social media every day, whether it be on Twitter or you Instagram feed and black people have really developed this online community where black history month is more than just a month. I celebrated by just connecting with stories and other people’s posts. There is so much information available, and having these tools at our fingertips is just one of the benefits of social media. It allows me to become a part of the larger narrative while also learning more and seeing what resources are available.

Hype: What are some ways that non-POC can be allies to the Black community during Black History Month on social media?

JoJo: The recent year has brought some much-needed opportunities for Black people to be heard in places where they have previously been hushed or ignored. It is critical for an ally to listen even when it is tough to hear. Society is structured in such a way that certain individuals profit more than others. You have a privilege when you profit from a certain structure or environment.

Recognizing your privilege implies that you have not faced discrimination because of some characteristics of your identity. Once you’ve accepted your privilege, no matter how unpleasant it is, utilize it to centre and magnify the experiences of those who may not have had the same privileges as you. And this can be shown through social media by sharing or creating a post with information and ways to help support the community.

Hype: Are there any designated safe spaces online that you would like to shout out about?

JoJo: @Blackcreatorsmatter is an organization I had the pleasure of helping launch back in 2017 to help support black creators. And if anyone who is is struggling to connect and find support through online communications. This page is truly the best and provides a wide range of knowledge. From all aspects of creators. Writers, videographers, musicians and many more. They helped me with the beginning of my journey back in 2015 to navigate through the media formats and find my niche, which I really appreciated.

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