STG x TheClassicManny!
Welcome back to another Support The Grind interview! I’m super excited for what we have for you today because the person I am interviewing is just super funny and a brilliant creative, and from what I can tell, a brilliant and caring person too! When I decide who to approach for STG, I always take into consideration what type of person the creative is – do they have similar morals/ethics as me? Do they support creatives like myself? Today we are lucky to have the founder of The Creatives Con, known as The Classic Manny on socials, here with us today to talk all things about being a creative! Get comfy and grab a cup of tea whilst we have some laughs with Manny!
Thank you, Manny, for joining our Support The Grind series! I hope you enjoy what we’ve got planned for today. I understand that as well as being the founder of The Creatives Con (something we’ll come back to shortly), you also create content for YouTube! So, what inspired or influenced you to start your YouTube channel?
I had always loved YouTube as a viewer and was inspired by the people that I watched – MysticGotJokes, Patricia Bright popularly known as Brit Pop Princess at the time, Shirley B Eniang, Latoya Forever, SibelAngelTV who I collabed with before starting my channel. just to name a few. However, as much as I enjoyed watching them, I noticed that I couldn’t find Black British male Youtubers like me; that is not to say there wasn’t, but they weren’t as easy to find. I saw that there was a gap in the market.
Representation is so key! As you said, you saw a gap in the market, would you say that since starting your channel that you’ve had an influence on your viewers, or perhaps instilled some sort of change?
I’m not the type of person that likes to toot their own horn but I can only answer this based on what my subscribers have told me and the reasons why I started my channel. The purpose of my channel has always been to entertain, educate and inspire people by being myself, and its so rewarding when people tell me that certain videos were relatable or helped them get through tough times – especially my Self Sundays videos. If I do have influence, I hope that I have and will always use it the right way.
It makes me smile so much to hear how genuine and humble you are! I remember when I first started blogging that it took a lot of umming and erming before I actually started it lol! Did you have a similar process to me?
I created the channel in 2012 but didn’t have the courage or confidence to bring that idea to life until 2016 and to be honest, I’m glad I waited until I was ready because YouTube isn’t as easy as it may look. You have to invest so much time, money and energy into it – that is if you want to create the best content that represents you. If I started before, I know for a fact the content wouldn’t have been to my standards.
I think that is a very common assumption, that YouTube is really easy!! I think waiting to put the energy into, especially when you have a real passion for it, is a valuable lesson to all and people shouldn’t be put off from doing that! Would you say it was hard finding people to support you?
If I am being completely honest, strangers supported me more than the people that I had around me at that time. I say at that time because it really showed who really believed in me and supported me. As time went by, I realised that the people that didn’t support me shouldn’t be my focus and I shouldn’t allow it to get to me or make me question if I should be doing this. Those people will watch everything that you’re doing and won’t acknowledge it and all you can do is take a mental note and carry on with your day.
You have a very active and engaging following on YouTube and Twitter, do you have any tips on how other people can strive towards this?
For me personally, I think striving for things like numbers, engagement etc. can potentially lead to disappointment if that is one’s primary focus. I’m just the type that likes to speak their mind and I think that’s what people follow me for or appreciate about me. If I was to say I could remember when my following on Twitter went up so rapidly, I would be lying. That’s one thing I don’t focus on as much
How do you deal with any negative comments about your channel, if you get any?
I don’t think I get as much harassment or have experienced online bullying compared to many others but one thing I always say is we as individuals have so much power especially on social media. I am the king of blocking and muting people and I think that could make a big difference. Social media beefs, going back and forth with people that are clearly insecure or ready to misunderstand you is so draining, and is one thing I don’t have time for especially in this economy.
King of blocking 😂😂💀How do you find the motivation to create new content for your channel?
I am motivated by life. A lot of topics that I discuss on my channel especially on Self Sundays is based on my own personal experiences and knowing that I am not the only one that is going through certain things. I am also motivated by people that enjoy my content and let me know how much it has helped them.
With that being said, and the years put into your content, what is the story of your journey? How did you get to where you are today?
It has just been a journey of self-acceptance, loving myself, focusing on my strengths and working on my weaknesses and eliminating that spirit of self-doubt. Self-doubt is something that can stop people from executing creative and unique ideas and doing so effectively – I’ve even spoken on this topic on my channel. One thing I had to learn and remind myself is ‘what is there to lose?’ God forbid, but it is not the end of the world if the idea that you have doesn’t go as planned. We have to take the lessons from the things that we see as failures. I am a strong believer in the saying “everything happens for a reason”.
Everything really does happen for a reason! I really want to get into The Creatives Con now, so how exactly did it come about?
This is one of my favourite stories to be honest and it’s one that I hope to tell my future children/grand-children (laughs). We had an event a year before we launched The Creatives Con, popularly known as Black British YouTubers Brunch or BBYB2017. This event all began from a tweet which just showed the power of social media as well as the community. Due to its success and the demand for another event, even from people that weren’t YouTubers, we decided it was only right to create a platform for all creatives which I knew would be a heavy responsibility. The reason why I had both events and created the platform was and is because I love supporting creatives so I wanted to create a platform where this could be done freely.
I’m so grateful for people like you! Because sometimes the creative community can be a lonely place, so to see creatives come together is a beautiful thing to witness. Speaking on creatives coming together, what is it like working with other brands?
When it comes to working with brands, it’s so important that I work with brands that either represent who I am, that I support and/or come to me the right way if they reach out to me. The Glow Pot would have to be the best brand that I have worked with, I bought and still buy their products before I became affiliated with them and that’s how I prefer it. I personally haven’t had a bad experience that I can remember, and I hope it stays that way.
How do find the balance of remaining professional and yourself on your personal twitter?
(laughs) I don’t even know if I have that balance to be honest. For me my brand and my motto is based on being myself. If people or brands think that is a problem, then that it is really their personal problem and loss. I don’t ever want to be that person that changes who they are to please anyone. I don’t have outrageous views on life so my tweets shouldn’t affect my professional. When it comes to The Creatives Con, I created a separate page for that very reason. The Classic Manny is The Classic Manny. The Creatives Con in The Creatives Con.
My final two golden questions before we wrap this up! Do you feel like you have been supported by the creative community?
I am grateful for the support that I have. I never knew I would have as many people supporting me with my professional and personal endeavours. However, the harsh reality of the current state of the creative industry is that it is very competitive, and some people really think they can make it on their own but that isn’t realistic. One thing I had to realise is that people wont support me or things with my name attached to it because it is me and that is fine. My journey as a YouTuber made me very aware of that. I created The Creatives Con so people don’t have to feel like they are alone or that they aren’t appreciated and that is something that I need more creative platforms and creatives in general to start doing.
What do you think the most important part of being a creative is?
The most important part of being a creative is knowing yourself. People really underestimate the importance of this until they begin their own journey. It is no walk in the park and there will be ups and downs, however knowing yourself, your talent, skills, strengths and weaknesses and worth is so vital. People will try and ripe you off, make you question your worth and there will be times where you even question your own worth, but if you know who you are as a creative and even more importantly as a person you will get through it. Another thing I want to add onto that is the importance of humility and not changing who you are once you “make it”. This tends to be the downfall of creatives and is proof that talent without humility will not get you far.
I think you hit the nail on the head with that last answer! Manny, thank you so much again for working with us, as I mentioned before, how genuine and humble you are really makes me smile because it’s so lovely to see! I am so grateful that I got to work with someone as sensational as you! For anyone looking to watch Manny’s videos (which I highly recommend!) then click here. You will also be able to find Manny’s socials down below. Manny, I hope you enjoyed this as I really have! I hope everyone had a great time reading this, we’ll be back next week with another creative! Bye for now x