Kulture Krash | Chat with Netania Mundell
There has been a recent explosion of YouTube and podcast content in Jamaica, and I recently sat down to chat with Netania Mundell to get her thoughts on this and more at a place we both consider to be our place, TGI Friday’s. Quite a few young women and men are now pursuing this alternate means of earning, not only as a second or third income, but as a primary occupation. YouTube has been big business for a decade, and many more on this rock are catching up.
I arrive at TGI around 3:40 pm on this Tuesday – usually a slower day for the establishment – and take a preferred seat by the bar, as the servers know.
Minutes later, she arrives and quietly hops on to the seat to my left – all 5 feet 1 inch of her. Immediately, she’s on a very important sounding call, listening intently and explaining something important sounding into her AirPods.
The Netania you see on your laptop, tablet, and phone screens is an extroverted, fun, and open young woman, who is podcaster first, YouTuber after. Unwavering, brutally honest, and true to her mission, the 23 year old is clearing her own path to success in the video and audio creation landscape.
Being the holder of a honours degree in accounting, Netania could very well trod the tried and true corporate route, more in the mould of what our parents would expect and readily accept. Instead, her, one of the baddest inna any party, is doing it Nets’ way and integrating her friends and family into the picture accessed by the thousands of subscribers she’s earned on both her YouTube channels.
The first titbit to capture my ear is her disclosure that she is Massachusetts born, also spending many of her formative years there. But then, while not betraying anything resembling an American accent, her diction does suggest some upbringing outside Portmore, Jamaica.
I begin the interview with pre-prepared questions and leave with a far more satiating conversation, as I would expect from someone I’ve been told I share many similarities with.
Q: Who is Netania (in five words)?
Netania describes herself as miserable, strong willed, opinionated, lazy, and reliable. Creators often are miserable, because the craft has to be executed just so. I would imagine that in her creative process, she too must embrace and channel frustration.
To deviate from accepted norms, it must also be necessary to have strong will, much as the recent decision was to quit her job as a digital marketer at Flow Jamaica to devote her time to YouTube once she began asking “where is the love?”. Our generation is more ruthless in extricate ourselves from situations that no longer satisfy us, which explains why we may have a marriage and relationship shortage. Because who wants the bare minimum? Not us.
Opinionated is one I could jot down without her input, as most on Twitter could attest to. In fact, much of our conversation intersects with events on the app, controversial or otherwise. Utterances which may have been latched onto to release building rage against the tweets, from her and others, are touched on, and I come to a fulsome appreciation of the mindset before, during, and after a protracted Twitter drag.
As an observer and participant in such environs, the general unwillingness to first understand a line of reasoning before resorting to outrage and the performance of intellectual or moral superiority is something to behold. When you press send, it’s out there, and it often appears that an eye that ignores the 10,000 words it agrees with gravitates and prompts the fingers to respond to those it doesn’t.
Q: What has the YouTube journey been like thus far? (Biggest challenges and biggest triumphs)
She pinpoints her anxiety, which is often the precursor to a block of creativity, and speaking into the void of a camera as two of her biggest challenges. But, similar to other Jamaican content creators such as Rushcam, her talent for filling that void with undressed and relatable content is already well developed. Indeed, the continuing overcoming of these challenges must go down as a major triumph. And she has now realized her responsibility and opportunity to get information out there, as well as to ensure the discussions not only are in tune with the brand she’s cultivated, but beneficial to the consumer.
Even then, if you watch closely enough, sometimes the introvert in Netania can seep through, whilst you must understand that content creators portray an amped up version of themselves on camera. The person you see is often authentically them, but people are complex and needn’t be siphoned into narrow wormholes.
Q: Would you change anything?
We are nothing more or less than the amalgamation of our lived experiences, and it’s most refreshing to hear nothing would be deleted from her YouTube reel if she had the chance.
Q: There has been a recent explosion of YouTube content creation in Jamaica. Do you create content, on NetsChat or on your main channel, with any sense of responsibility to having difficult or taboo conversations?
On the matter of a sense of responsibility to her viewers and listeners to have difficult or taboo conversations, Netania replies, rather surgically, that her foremost responsibility must be to do no harm. We’ve seen her, however, venture into the realm of controversy on the NetsChat podcast she co-hosts with close friend Denille Rene, and have important and sometimes provocative conversations.
NetsChat itself has drawn veiled and not so veiled criticism on Twitter for being a relationship podcast, and one can understand a yearning for variety and depth from those who have developed some level of attachment to the content. I express that, in any case, there’s absolutely nothing wrong about making that your thing. In the interest of thoroughness, though, my later perusal of the channel suggests there has been some consideration for the critique.
Q: Jamaica is typically a socially conservative country. Do you edit yourself or do you try to push the envelope?
Jamaica is decidedly conservative, both socially and in terms of our economics. This is so much so that the political party touted as being centre left on the political spectrum largely eschews see, hear, and speak no evil topics such as homosexuality, abortion, and serious reform of our economy.
NetsChat is one of those podcasts that challenges some of the accepted conservative positions, much like the bwoyatingz podcast, hosted by Kareem ‘Big Dreamz’ Weathers, to coax into the video light much of takes place in the dark.
She admits there’s a level of editing, of course, and I get it. I personally would not advise inviting a dragging all over the streets of social media.
Q: How has the pandemic been for you and what are the things you miss most from normal life?
Indeed, if you polled young persons around urban Jamaica, you would receive the same answer as she gave without much hesitation – partying and general socialization. Not many activities beat a good party after a brutal week. You really cannot blame her after such a testing 2020.
Q: Advice for upcoming YouTubers?
Outside, the sun has set. It has somehow been almost three hours. She’s got to meet a friend and I can confidently say my vacation is ending on a good note. Inside, the meals are nearing completion and the wine is no more. Just before we call for the bill, she advises upcoming YouTubers to stay true to the craft and the content, and most importantly, create what you love.
The NetsChat Podcast is on major streaming platforms and on YouTube. For Netania’s personal YouTube channel, search for Nets Jenner.
Author of the Limit does not Exist. Egalitarian. Central Banker. All I do is tell jokes, really.