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This week our Partner Davey Wavey kicked off his Rising Rainbows scholarship, an initiative he launched in order to help LGBT Content Creators get their voices heard on YouTube. Davey is of course one of the leading voices online for the LGBT community, and that role, he realized, puts him at a great advantage in helping other LGBT voices rise up, specifically by inviting them to be featured on his main channel with almost one million subscribers watching.Davey said that the idea struck him at VidCon this June while he “was speaking at a panel for LGBT content creators”. He realized that although only a handful of LGBT YouTubers come to mind when you think of the topic, in actual fact “that room was packed with hundreds [of LGBT creators]… and they were awesome, they were talented, and they all have something to say”.

That day one of the audience members asked what the panel members were doing to help other LGBT Creators, and the gist of it, Davey said: “not enough”. Just one month after VidCon Davey had already announced the launch of the Rising Rainbows scholarship program, through which he flies out qualifying LGBT Creators to his home studio with travel and accommodations covered, and produces content with them to be featured on his channel.

Today, Davey launched the first of his videos with a Rising Rainbows scholarship winner – JD Dalton. JD is a gay male who lives with albinism, is of Native American heritage, and is legally blind – a combination of identities that is both intriguing and exciting. Check out their video collaborations here: 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgQkE5t0zho

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tndlwZeSODM

JD took the time to sit down with me to discuss his life on YouTube, and what it was like working with one of the platform’s biggest stars. His answers were inspirational and insightful…

 

Peter: JD, if you could sum up your channel in just a few sentences, what would you want to tell viewers?

JD: I started my channel in the hopes of educating others about my visual condition. Since then it has evolved into teaching through the lens of the experiences I’ve had due to my disability, my genetic condition, my tribal heritage, and my sexual orientation. My channel has helped me embrace who I am and where I come from. Most of all, I like to think of it as a way for me to share and educate others about how to better consider and include people of various minority groups, and how to respect as well as accept such differences within our own communities.

Peter: What made you want to share your experiences on YouTube? Was there someone in particular who inspired you?

JD: I first started getting into YouTube around 2008. At the time I was beginning to learn the piano and the first channels that I subscribed to were piano players. When I started college in 2010 I discovered many videos of “coming out” stories, but I found it very hard to find vloggers that lived with low vision or albinism, so I eventually decided to start making videos about living with a visual impairment and educating people about my albinism. If I couldn’t find such videos, there were probably other people looking for the same type of content as I was. Why not be that person to make such content?

Peter: What does your daily routine look like on your filming/editing days?

My first step is opening a Word Document and start typing either a basic list or a full script. I find the best time for recording is when everyone is out of the house! Editing takes a day or two all on its own. I find that nighttime is the best time for me to edit my videos, just because I feel my focus and creativity are at their peak.

Peter: What was your reaction like when you found out you would be flying out to film with Davey?

JD: I literally had just woken up on a late Sunday morning when I saw that Davey Wavey had sent a message saying that “I had been selected”. I had to re-read it two or three times to make sure I wasn’t still dreaming and rushed downstairs to share the news with my sister and even then I was still in disbelief that it was actually happening! Honestly, it wasn’t until my first video call with Davey about a week later that it really dawned on me that it was happening.

Peter: Any particular moments stand out from your time in LA and working with Davey?

JD: From the time I landed at LAX to the cab ride the next morning to meet with Davey I was full of nerves. I tried my best to keep my cool but I knew that this was something I would always remember. This is a YouTuber that I have been watching on a weekly basis for the past couple years, and never would I have imagined that I would be able to do a collaboration with him! I would not have even considered him knowing that I existed. But when it came down to it, I felt so laid back spending my time recording with him! His personality is so genuine and fun and working with him on this project was the best thing that I have done this year!

Peter: A major message that’s present throughout your channel is “positivity”. What do you want to say to viewers out there facing the negativity that comes with being authentic to themselves?

JD: We all have the right to be happy, and finding happiness means being content with who we are. Sometimes we may find ourselves in places we don’t like, but knowing who you are helps to navigate your way out of those uncomfortable places. Love yourself by sharing your story with others and you will find that many people will love you purely for who you are.

Peter: What’s ahead for JD, any future projects or plans you want to share? Is YouTube something you envision yourself doing full-time one day?

JD: For starters, I will be attending my first ever VidCon in 2016! I would like to plan more collaborative projects with other YouTube content creators for sure! This experience with Davey has opened the floodgates of video ideas that I will try my best to bring to life. I am planning to feature more people on my channel like Davey has, giving them a chance to share their stories and experiences within the communities I identify with or support.

Peter: Finally, in the spirit of Rising Rainbows, is there another YouTuber out there who you’d like to shout out to?  

JD: Two of them actually! One is the designer of my logo, Alex Bertie: thanks for helping me with my channel branding through all of my pickiness! The other is Alex’s boyfriend and fellow musician Jake Edwards. Speaking of which, Jake, I would be honored to have a jam session with you in the future :)! You are both some of my favourite YouTubers, and hugely inspire my creativity in making videos and music!

 

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Davey Wavey’s Rising Rainbows Scholarship featuring JD Dalton

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