Best Youtube Video Essayists That Entertain and Inform

While some people may spend hours on online dives into Wikipedia articles; you start on a page about Meryl Streep and somehow end up learning about a battle during the Civil War. Somehow, learning all that niche knowledge is addictively fun. Youtube video essays function in the same way. These creators cover interesting topics that will lure you in until its  suddenly two in the morning and you’ve watched ten videos, but hey at least it’s educational.

 

NerdWriter1

Nerdwriter1 is an excellent introduction to the genre of video essays. Most of his videos centre around pop culture topics such as film and music. Nerdwriter1 uses his writing and video editing skills to explain why Bruno Mars songs are so groovy or the evolution of sci-fi book covers. You’ll always come back from his channel with some niche knowledge to impress your friends. Nerdwriter1’s breakout viral hit was “Rihanna’s “Work” Is Not Tropical House,” He explains where the beloved song gets its beat and the misconceptions around it, it is a great pick for any fan of her music.

 

Contrapoints

Dripping in neon light and gaudy costume jewelry, Natalie Wynn (aka. Contrapoints) dissects nefarious online discourses. Transphobia, racism, and the alt-right--no topic is too complicated or taboo for this creator. Natalie uses her background in academic philosophy to get to the bottom of why and how toxic ideologies spread through our public discourse. Despite her philosophy jargon, Natalie is incredibly witty and often crude, making her videos just as entertaining as they are informative. Contrapoints’ gorgeous costumes and set pieces create a magical world that viewers are sucked into as she guides them on a journey through sociological theory and popular culture. Natalie’s videos “What is Race?” and “What is Gender?” are great starting points for diving into her addictive yet educational content.

 

The Art Assignment

The Art Assignment is a godsend for any art history major. The channel takes sometimes difficult topics in the fine arts and packages them into bite-sized ten minute long videos. In their series “A Case for __,” each episode explains a different contentious art movement or artist and makes a case for why they are important. These are great videos to any of your cynical friends who look at contemporary art and say something along the lines of, “Why is this art?” or “I could do that.” The Art Assignment also has an interesting series called “Art Cooking,” where they try to recreate food infamous pieces of art (spoiler alert: it’s rarely appetizing).

 

Kat Blaque

Kat Blaque has been making hard-hitting, impassioned content for awhile on Youtube. In her videos, most clocking in at only around five minutes, she faces the camera to discuss issues of race, gender, sexuality and more. Through her years on the site, her views have shifted and evolved, and she isn’t trying to hide that. She maintains a strong focus on both educating her audience and herself at the same time. In a brand new series she’s started on her channel called #JSYK (Just So You Know), she sits down for long-form conversations with someone with vastly different experiences from her. This series is in effort to broaden everyone’s outlook and give a voice to underrepresented people. Her most recent video in this series “Being Raised Transracial,” a discussion with a black adoptee into a white family, is an interesting watch for anyone who doesn’t know much about that experience.

 

Philosophy Tube

In a similar style to Contrapoints, Philosophy Tube bridges the educational with the theatrical. If you’re ever struggling to understand your class readings on Marx or Kant, Philosophy Tube could be a good place to turn. He uses philosophy to examine current political issues like the healthcare debate or pop culture topics like Elon Musk. His series on explaining Marxism and his other on Liberalism are great ways to get an overview of these massive topics. His most recent video, “Why Does Britain Still Have a Queen,” is informative, hilarious, and even includes an end shot of him riding away on horseback, so who said politics couldn’t be fun?

 

 

 

Edited by: Ashley Cohen