At the inception of “Gracie’s Corner,” this family had no idea the impact the children’s programming channel would have.
Javoris Hollingsworth and Arlene Gordon-Hollingsworth were simply on a mission to launch a channel in response to the lack of representation for their daughter, Graceyn “Gracie” Hollingsworth.
Now, she helps to call the big shots for the family business.
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“I’ve been helping my dad with what we should pick or the kind of topics we should choose,” Gracie told AfroTech.
Her mother says it was important to not only be the solution for a lack of diversity across various children’s programming channels but to also teach their daughter the value of creative input and control.
A Children's Programming Channel With A Purpose
“I think a big part of it is that it was filling the void that was missing,” said Arlene of the ideation process for the popular YouTube channel. “I think what ‘Gracie’s Corner’ has contributed is entertainment for families, not just children. It’s something that families can enjoy together. Parents don’t feel guilty about letting their children watch it because it does provide educational content. It’s fun. It’s learning content, and then there’s representation — Black and brown children at the forefront, and it’s intentional. We’re not afterthoughts. We’re the main characters, and so I think that’s a big thing.”
Despite sitting at 2.25 million subscribers via YouTube, partnering with some of the biggest celebrity names, and tons of growth, the Hollingsworth family’s why for launching their channel is something that will always remain the same.
“My mindset has been just making sure that we’ve been very intentional about making sure that children of color are in the forefront,” said Javoris.
He continued, “I remember watching a lot of other stuff out there and not seeing that representation. So, it was really big to make sure that we present that. As far as ownership, we eventually want to get to a place where we scale things up even more than we’re doing now — just continuing to amplify and branch out beyond just the YouTube space.”
What’s more, Javoris knows that a part of that expansion requires strategic, intentional partnerships.
Partnering with musicians like Snoop Dogg and Big Freedia has been great synergy, especially since the show is centered around music, which they admit was another deliberate move due to Gracie’s desire to become an entertainer through her love of singing.
The Power Of Full Creative Control
“We’ve made it very clear to her and her siblings — they’re young, but they’re looking — about the importance of having inside people you can talk to and trust and also the importance of maintaining ownership,” said Arlene.
She added, “Early on, and Graceyn knows this, a lot of people, when we started to pick up steam, were reaching out and talks in the very beginning were full acquisition and the big thing for us is, how do we guarantee that it will maintain authenticity? How do we make sure that what this was built on remains? We’ve told her that the only way to make sure things are the way you want them to be is if you’re involved. The minute you start losing involvement, you can’t guarantee it’s gonna remain the same.”
What’s Next For “Gracie’s Corner?”
As the Hollingsworths look ahead to the future, they are looking forward to tapping into the streaming industry and hope to pursue opportunities with various networks. More than that, they aim to take “Gracie’s Corner” to movie theaters, the live event space, and beyond.