There are few YouTube channels I watch religiously. Jubilee is one of them. I automatically press play whenever a new video pops up, regardless of the subject. I trust them. I trust that they’ll broaden my perspective.
Founded in 2010 by Jason Lee, Jubilee not only practices empathy, but lives by it. On the Jubilee website, Lee said, “we are all inextricably linked and want to live for something greater. Living for human good is a resilient vision, and one that is worthy of pursuit.”
Empathy is ingrained into every video they make and every photo they post. It challenges perspectives. It strives to create a movement for the human good. And I think it’s fair to say that it’s on the right path.
Jubilee humanizes those who are written off. It gives a voice to unheard audiences. It tells stories in creative ways.
It’s always a spectrum
The series “Spectrum” breaks down perspectives within categorical groups, asking whether or not the people’s opinions within the groups align. As a constant viewer of the series, I know they usually don’t. There’s extremes in every category.
The series has lighter topics like, “Do all Beyonce fans think the same?” or “Do all influencers think the same?” and heavier ones like, “Do all suicide survivors think the same?”
Spotting the liar
In their series “Odd Man Out,” seven people interrogate each other to weed out the one who doesn’t belong. If they find the impersonator, the group splits the prize money. If the impersonator blends in, he or she wins the entirety of the cash prize.
The most popular edition of the series is “6 Vegans vs 1 Secret Meat Eater.” Jubilee added an additional note in the video’s comments, asking viewers to focus on positivity after one contestant became an Internet meme. One of the vegans, Erin, berated her peers in the video, saying, “That’s not vegan,” despite only one participant in the video being an omnivore.
Finding a common ground
In the series “Middle Ground,” heated debates end with hugs. The series features two divided groups that are asked a series of questions in hopes of finding a middle ground. No one usually switches to the other side, but everyone reaches a greater understanding.
There are traditional political debates such as “Pro-Choice vs Pro-Life: Can They See Eye To Eye?” and “Pro-Gun Vs. Anti-Gun: Is There Middle Ground?.” Then, there are more atypical subjects like “Can You Be In Love With Multiple People?” and “Instagram vs Runway Models: Can Anyone Be a Model?.” Some of them are just flat out wild. I find “Flat Earthers vs Scientists: Can We Trust Science?” a trip. “Flat earthers’” confidence in their argument against scientific evidence proving otherwise made me laugh (and a little concerned that these are real people who can vote).
The series even asked, “Millionaires vs Minimum Wage: Did You Earn Your Money?” It illustrated the success and the cracks in the American economy.
The series brings together people who probably wouldn’t have a conversation otherwise. People involved in the process can expand their minds and find empathy for the other side (at least that’s what I like to believe.
Jubilee explored the complicated dynamics of love in its series “Tea for Two” where two strangers ask each other 36 Questions to Fall in Love. Sure, the majority of pairings in this series don’t actually fall in love, but the romantic in me loves it anyway.
Questions range from a simple, “When did you last sing to someone else?” to as serious as “What is your most terrible memory?” The intimacy of the questions paired with tight camera angles, warm, peaceful set designs and cups of tea, is as compelling as it sounds.
In its series “Both Sides,” one half of a couple shares its side of the couple’s love story while the other sits there with noise-cancelling headphones. Couples reveal their vulnerabilities. They talk about special moments and rough patches. Frankly, it’s driven me to tears on more than one occasion.
A company that listens
Most importantly, Jubilee constantly checks itself. The team reads and adapts from the viewers’ comments.
The company produced two Spectrum videos asking, “Do All Jubilee Employees Think the Same?” Everyone, from the CEO to interns, contributed their thoughts on how the company works and functions. The first edition asked questions about diversity, imploring if all sides were represented.
The casting producer, Kendra Okereke, disagreed. She said that conservative political perspectives are not equally represented — either they are not present or they feel pressured to stay quiet. Oftentimes, diverse political viewpoints are not considered, but they are at Jubilee. This comment widened my perspective on diversity.
Jubilee is more than a media company. It’s a community. It even created a Facebook group called Goodhumans for fans to join and connect with one another. Rumor has it that some couples met in the group. Its clothing store, Humangood, sells limited edition hats, shirts and crewnecks from time to time, as well.
Jubilee is one of the most genuine media companies right now. Its videos make me remember why I wanted to study journalism, reflecting on how my opinions broadened and how I empathize for those I wouldn’t expect to. People’s stories are important, and Jubilee shares them in a way unlike any other media company.