You’d be hard-pressed to find a web personality more fascinating than the splendiferous, divine B. Scott. Ever since Madison Moore introduced me to the blogger and YouTuber a couple years ago, I’ve been ever more intrigued!
Last month when I heard B. Scott snagged an interview with Mariah Carey and launched his new B. Scott Show, I thought: this is it! B. Scott continues to revolutionize the production and consumption of celebrity on the web.
What has he done?
B. Scott has taken his self-made brand — a potent personality recalling Wendy Williams, Oprah Winfrey and RuPaul — and translated it into a loyal fan base and marketable entity. Vlogging on YouTube since mid-2007, B. Scott has doled out life advice and celebrity commentary, while managing to develop a signature dance move and cut a record. He became instantly relatable, matching spiritual, Oprah-esque musings on life with bubbly pop culture commentary. His gender transgressive exterior, presumably a handicap, allowed him to stand out and mobilize throngs of women and gay men to his channel.
Now he is taking it to the next level with The B. Scott Show. B. Scott is booking celebs like Carey, Tatyana Ali (about Buppies) and a few of Bravo’s Housewives, getting them to sit down and talk about their careers, gossip and even race.
Sounds simple. Yet what makes B. Scott significant, in my opinion, is both they way he packages his celebs and the way he’s pitched himself to the industry. In B. Scott’s original vlog, celebs mostly just showed up at his apartment and filmed (it appeared) in front of his computer. B. Scott transformed celebrities into regular vloggers — and occasionally got them to take off their shirts. His new Show graduates that form into what looks like a two- or three-camera format, more professional but still low-key. He sits down chats with his guests on a small white couch, giving a sense of intimacy. The lo-fi camera format — the cameras stay in place — while likely a result of budgetary constraints, actually works to make viewers feel like we’re right there on the couch with him. The entire ambiance is markedly more casual than on traditional television.
What’s most amazing is how B. Scott has been able to advocate for his relevance in the industry. By YouTube standards, B. Scott’s audience is sizable but not enormous. Top celebrity vlogger Michael Buckley easily rakes in double Scott’s views. But B. Scott’s intimate filmmaking and quirky/bubbly personality makes his channel an ideal place for celebs looking to be brought down to earth and connect with young, urban viewers. They look hip and lovable. Moreover, in a niche-driven market, B. Scott has proven his worth, showing that while his videos don’t get millions of views, those who watch him do so religiously and intently.
Doing Oprah-on-the-web (just like Michael Buckley does The Soup on the web) is a risky move but one B. Scott seems ready to handle. He understands that online is a little bit different from television, and he has the advantage of being a charismatic web star: funny, likable, different and young.
Will B. Scott crossover? He has already been on television (TVOne), but I think he wants his own show, following the likes of Oprah, RuPaul, Tyra and Wendy. I hope it happens for him, if that’s what he wants. Maybe he doesn’t need it, though. Perhaps B. Scott will be among that rare group of web entrepreneurs who master how to earn a living doing something they love and without much help from other people. Already YouTube vloggers like NigaHiga, Fred, Buckley, LisaNova and numerous others are doing it. Very few YouTube stars have crossed over to the mainstream and sustained their fame beyond the web (though Fred Figglehorn’s movie might change the game!). Maybe this is because what works online doesn’t necessarily work on a larger screen. And who says it has to? With media convergence, we have at least four screens of various sizes (cinema, TV, computer, mobile) all increasingly of equal value.
B. Scott dominates his market online, and I hope his reign is long. If you had told me three years ago a black (of mixed race) gender queer celebrity blogger would interview Mariah Carey on camera, I would have said “maybe, but I’m not placing bets.” This is why I don’t gamble.