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Introducing The Nuclear Nubuke, Setting Off The Youtube Scene

Ruminating on the perfect description to capture the essence of Nubuke, “nuclear” was the first word which fell in my lap. In person and on camera, Nubuke’s energy is explosive, not in the sense of a destructive, unbridled chaos, but as an effervescent personality which commands your attention.

Ruminating on the perfect description to capture the essence of  Nubuke, “nuclear” was the first word which fell in my lap. In person and on camera, Nubuke’s energy is explosive, not in the sense of a destructive, unbridled chaos, but as an effervescent personality which commands your attention. With her bright eyes and infectious laughter, Nubuke has grown into a beloved face on the screens of Ghanaian adults and teens, gracing her audience with what could be referred to as lifestyle videos involving her personal adventures with her friends, family, and most importantly, herself.

As the face of February’s Start Up Spotlight,  Nubuke happily shared the nitty-gritty details of her journey, her views on the Ghanaian Youtube industry, and the exigencies of navigating creativity.

Hadassah Boohene: Tell me your story, Nubuke! What led you to begin Youtube, is this something you’ve always wanted to do?

Nubuke: So, I actually started Youtube in 2010 because l was obsessed with Tolulope  “Don’t Jealous Me Funky”  Ogunmefun’s videos, specifically this hilarious dance video he created. At the time, my mum used to call me “Miss Bubu”, so I thought wow, if his name is Don’t Jealous Me Funky then I should go by Miss Bubu Funky! So me being 10 year old Bubu Funky had my cousin Mifa video my dance routine to “Airplanes” by B.O.B and “Wengeze” by Eazzy, and being so proud of my creation, I uploaded the video on Youtube! When the adults came to pick us up, I showed them my video, only to receive blastings, like why am I putting my face on the internet!? (The internet is generally unsafe for kids).  And just like that,  my career ended! It didn’t leave me alone though, ‘cause as  I grew up, being a  talkative I often got the “oh my God you should become a Youtuber”, but I had to figure out whether I truly wanted to, and not ‘cause  people were telling me to. That time came when I met this huge Kenyan Youtuber named Elodie Zone who nudged me to start, and finally, I did!  I would only post when I got inspired though, but at  the beginning of 2020, when I began working more often with my YouTube friend Marintia and her channel began to pick up, it inspired me to become consistent.

 It’s admirable how open you made yourself to being pulled up by others. Creatives tend to create characters through stage names, or alter egos, like Beyoncé and Sasha Fierce, to fully step into another realm of their craft. Would you call Nubuke The Youtuber a persona, or is this simply a layer of yourself?

 Nubuke: What a question! I really want an alter ego but I think it’s always awkward at the beginning when you create one. I haven’t mastered it, so I would say I would say this is who I am on and off camera. But I really want one because, if this is who I am, imagine an alter ego, I would be unstoppable!

It sounds like you’re driving a lot on your personal identity,  would you then say YouTube doesn’t often feel like work, since you’re being yourself?

 Nubuke: It’s a weird one because like I said earlier, I only used to pick up the camera when I wanted to, so it became harder when I started being more consistent and had to follow a structure. But even when I was planning, it was still  the things I wanted to do, and with a structure, more of that falls into place. So I would say no, it doesn’t feel like a job.

 

So when you started being more consistent, which video really made you feel as though you were stepping into a wider trajectory?

Nubuke: Oh this video, I don’t think it got a lot of views, but I was so proud of it, my catfish video at the beginning of the pandemic.  I recorded someone cat fishing me and even wrote a whole script for it. The work that went into it built my confidence a lot. I felt it was so well thought out.

In the vein of consistency, your subscriber count grew from 400 to 5k subscribers by the end of 2020. Would you attribute consistency to your rapid growth or were there other factors?

Nubuke: Consistency is a big one, people always think of consistency in terms of oh the algorithm is going to pick you up, but what consistency does for the individual themselves is it opens more avenues. Like I was recently asked to furnish an apartment, and if you had asked  prior to me being consistent, I would have never thought of this as a good Youtube opportunity, but now I see everything as  potential for content. Consistency also builds confidence, ‘cause you become more and more comfortable on camera. Another factor I would say is networking, ‘cause like I said I hang out a lot with Marintia, where not only did I capture people from her audience, but I connected with other creatives through her and outside of her.

What then were the exact strategies you used to maintain your momentum?

Nubuke: Knowing what you’re going to post creates  so much ease. So having a plan for what you want to do, and being flexible.

Are you comfortable with sharing any struggles you might have had building yourself up as a Youtuber?

Nubuke: Not always feeling like you want to post is a big one, knowing you have to stick to your commitment even when you’re not in the mood. But overall, I feel like there’s so much good that when you hold on to that instead of the bad, you’ll be alright.

With all that’s been said so far we can agree you’ve built a solid audience, have you found any difficulty with becoming well-known?

Nubuke: I am my own competition, so definitely the pressure of topping every video I post. But in general, I think I’ve handled growing an audience well, even though there have been scary incidents. Like  a guy once came to a party because he figured I would be there and waited for me outside the bathroom. It turned out he was someone I had blocked on instagram before, but he created another account to follow me again, and that’s how he found my location. Those instances of people always taking conversations further than they need to go, and I have the conflict of should I block them, or will the person now say Nubuke is some kind of way?

So in the sense of issues with boundaries, and overfamiliarity? I’m sorry to hear that. 

Yes, yes, which even translates to the kids on social media. I have a lot of teens who come up to me for advice, be it on their parents or general life issues, but it isn’t right to engage them in conversations the way they’d want to. So yeah, there’s certainly the issue of people feeling like you’re their best friend. I’m scared people will think I’m a snob and so too known which is terrible because it means I tolerate a lot of nonsense I probably shouldn’t!

With these type of difficulties, or even in a generic sense, what skill do you think an emerging Youtuber should adopt, be it for creating content or interacting with their audience?

 Nubuke: I think it’s good to make use of what device you have at the time. Bro, you don’t need a laptop to edit, search on Youtube for tutorials on how to use what you have. Trust that your confidence will also grow with time, there’s this force to put out everything you make for the world to see and that’s something I’ve been trying to talk to myself about. Put it on private, send to your friends – we live in such a viral community, where we tend to think me not going viral invalidates my craft. That’s not true. Also, don’t be afraid to ask other content creators questions. Every idea or question you think of, use google, use Youtube tutorials for guidance, and as you practice filming, don’t hesitate to script, it doesn’t make you fake, it’s just you learning how to be concise. You can  use bullet points too, but all in all, planning and practice trains your mind.

Evidently, a lot of work of goes into creating a video. What does a day in your life of content creation look like?

Nubuke: It’s changed recently, now I take steps back in between editing, before I would spend 6 hours behind my computer going over my work. I’ve found that my new routine is nicer because you get to rest and reassess your content. So really a day in the life is me filming, putting it on my computer and editing. I want to be one of those people that has a particular editing schedule every week but one day I’ll be there, my alter ego will do that! [laughs]

Something about your Youtube which stands out is how often you collaborate. Would you say your collaborations were an intentional strategy for building up your numbers or do you simply value connecting with others for creation?

Nubuke: On one hand, it is at the back of my mind that doing a video with other people means their audiences will watch, that’s a guarantee. But it’s not like I’ll collaborate with just anyone to  grow followers, I’ve had to be mindful of who I associate with. If  I see they’ve done something I’d consider inappropriate, I’d think about how my audience and family would feel about it. I also think about if it’d be fun! With Marintia for example, it’s easy because we’re friends, we can plan casually behind the scene and the magic automatically flows on camera.

In light of collaborations, are there any Ghanaian Youtubers you admire?

 Nubuke: Yes! Wode Maya is so in love with Ghana that it literally bleeds out into his content. I love him, he’s so passionate about growing other Youtube pages well. Vanessa Kanbi is another I admire, I think she’s worked really hard and she’s even a part of “Youtube Black” which I think is amazing. It sucks but a lot of my favorite Youtubers aren’t Ghanaians and that’s something I’d really really love to change.

So when you’re watching the Youtubers you love, what makes you feel their content is stellar?

 Nubuke: People that make me laugh, even just a little chuckle. People that make me feel I can be in the position that they’re in, being relatable and engaging. I love when it feels as though time hasn’t passed at all, Jenn Im is great at that. I also do love things I haven’t seen before! It’d be really cool if someone showed us trying to get a DNA test, finding ridiculous ways to cut their parents’ hair for it, haha, wow I should do that, just things that feel so out of the blue it’s funny.

Do you find that often here? Have you observed any challenges within the content of the Ghanaian Youtube industry?

 Nubuke: I think part of the challenge is I kinda don’t want to click on a lot of the videos, which I think is exacerbated by how small the community is. I find I don’t want to watch because it doesn’t have an interesting title or thumbnail, which I had to learn to improve on myself. Sometimes it’s the content itself I’m just not into, like I don’t want to watch how to do a smokey eye, but someone is interested in teaching it, so I’d say maybe try putting this in a different  space, like teaching a smokey eye in a jungle, [laughs] I don’t know, do we have jungles in Ghana?

Unless Botanical Gardens? [laughs]  But yeah, you mean an it factor?

Nubuke: [laughs] Yeah, it is that it factor for me! Like, another example, the smash or pass videos are generally so demeaning to me, I’ve only seen a few exceptions. Um, what else about Ghanaian content? You see, because we live in a hyper western society I wouldn’t say I take in Ghanaian content regularly but that’s only because it’s not within the theme of videos that I like. So for example I would watch David Dobrik’s “I’m Moving Into A New House” because I like to imagine me and my silly self living in this big, big mansion. Not many people here do those videos of “this could be you!” and that’s just the content I like, where I’m being sold false dreams.

In spite of this, are there any aspects you love about the content Ghanaian Youtubers produce?

 Nubuke: We do really well with internal traveling and trying new things, showing the beauty of Africa! I’ve learnt about a lot of new places from Ghanaian Youtubers. We work on word of mouth, and the people I follow in the content creation scene share their honest opinions on the places they show or are in their content which I really appreciate.

Revisiting my questions on consistency and your routine, have you ever experienced a creative block and if so, how did you overcome this?

Nubuke: I’m walking through one right now because I don’t know how to top my last video. I think it comes to putting different ideas on paper, and finding out how I can do them. It’s about looking at what you have, and asking, how can I make it slightly better? And then doing the dumbest thing on paper and finding out which one you think is cool.

You also mentioned how it’s difficult to be in the mood to film. In those moments how do you step into being lively, would the same solution apply here?

Nubuke: Most times I have to take a step back, you can’t force it. But, that’s also another thing I’m trying to figure out, cause I know there’s a middle ground where it’s not you being fake, but being okay with not bringing everything to the table for your videos on these days. There are days you’ll film and you’re 80% okay to film, and that’s alright. Editing also helps erase the spaces where there are pauses in between your film. I think the ability to understand what your highs and lows are and being able to wield that to your advantage is a superpower people underestimate. It’s not about being fake, it’s about being smart. You don’t have to do everything in one take! Film a little, take a break for an hour. That’s a strategy your girl is adopting.

When people think of creating a brand, they think of something methodical, curated, the quintessential Instagram aesthetic of color themes, and so on. With you, I noticed you are very open with your audience, sharing when you’ve just woken up, or freely goofing around. Would you say this is an intentional way of branding yourself, and do you think it has helped your audience relate to you? 

 Nubuke: If I could be more proper or refined, I promise I would! [laughs].  It has helped because that is what people comment about, they feel I’m very honest! It has set me apart, but on the other end of that it means I’m not growing so fast. I feel it’s all about the balance, so one thing I want to work on is my feed being polished and my stories being freer.

You’ve grown so much, especially in this creative journey. Is there anything you would tell Miss Bubu Funky again if you could speak to her?  

Nubuke: I would say freakin’ continue making Youtube videos cause you could have been a millionaire by now! Post videos every week. Consistency is so key, you develop so much when you practice.

Leave us with a Nubuke gem before we end. What would you say truly embodies creativity?

Nubuke: Hmm. Creativity is your ability to look at something that has already been done and do something better with it. What you make, it’s for you.

Nubuke’s thoughts truly propel her as the ethos of authenticity and drive. Her devotion to her work is palpable, and this dedication enmeshed with her ingenuity leaves me certain Nubuke will only soar higher from here. Creativity is a journey, and Nubuke reminds us all of the importance of being patient and intentional with your growth.

To support Nubuke, visit her Youtube by clicking this link: https://youtube.com/user/nubuke.