We all know the Beyonce Hive (aka Bey Hive) is not a fan base to be messed with. Here's what that phenomenon looks like through Emmanuel's eyes: Want more Emmanuel? Here he is in his own words.
CAMBIO: You have to tell us the meaning behind your towel/rag.
EMMANUEL: I call it my weave. My rag is my weave. The meaning behind it is that whether straight or curly, I want all girls to appreciate their natural hair. There's so much hate against girls where they're told they need weaves, extensions, etc. because society says that straight silky hair is the only perfect hair in the world. I just use the towel to portray and make fun of that.
Now that you've built a platform for yourself, what do you hope to do with it?
I pray for 10 minutes a day, usually after I post up my videos. I always ask God to push my videos out to someone who needs to smile or laugh today, is going through something and even someone who's happy, so I can make them happier. Sometimes people will tell me, "You couldn't have posted it at any better moment." I'm just grateful to not be the person to work 9 to 5. I have more time for my videos, and I'm getting paid to do what I love, and it's a win-win situation. I've also worked closely with the Youth Empowered Leadership Committee (YELC) to encourage teens to go to college, help them build a life and stay out of trouble, and raise their grades. I do this because I used to be a horrible student, and YELC saved my life and many others in my group thanks to my mentor, whom I also consider a brother, Jean Carlos Artiles.
Social media can be an amazing place. Is there a moment that stands out to you?
It's still weird for me to be called a hero and be told I've saved lives, which happens very often for me. One moment I'll never forget is when this girl messaged me, and out of every message, I responded to hers, which was almost all the way at the bottom; I just felt like I had to. She was about to [open the car door of her family's car and] jump into traffic, and her brother turned on a video and she forgot her reason for wanting to jump out. She said, "You just saved my life." It's crazy to know something like that can happen and that I have the power do that.
We also know there are a lot of trolls on social media. How do you deal with hate?
Honestly, I don't read comments, and when I do, I ignore the negative and I reply to the positive. No one else can define me. The only person's opinion about me I care about is my own. If I tell you, "OK, I'm a dragon," then you can't tell me I'm not.
Top three tips for building your own brand?
1. Do it for the right reasons.
Some people who make videos use their online popularity for the wrong reasons: to be vulgar, promote drinking/smoking/not going to school, and to disrespect people, often by degrading women. Many popular people don't even mind calling women "b**ches" in their videos and everyone finds that funny... it's not.
2. As soon as you get an idea, don't doubt yourself.
Emmanuel's Bubble Theory: You have to go for it! I call the brain a "bubble," and I also believe there's a big bubble in the sky that's filled with all our thoughts/ideas. When you get an idea, it's not only in your brain, but it also gets sent to that big bubble where anyone has access to it, meaning if you doubt yourself, then the big bubble will send your idea to the next person, and now it's not your idea anymore because you put no action behind it and didn't do it. I once wanted to make an app for shy people who fear rejection, and someone made the app this year. I had the ability to make it happen, but now it's someone else's dream.
3. Be yourself and don't try to copy anyone.
It's impossible to try and copy someone else.
On that note what's your advice to kids who watch your videos and say, "I wanna be the next Emmanuel?"
It makes me laugh because in a way, it's cute, but in a way, they're serious, and in that way, it's not cute. They appreciate me, and that's great because I would love to be someone's role model. It's wrong, too, because I also preach so much about being yourself. My message is: No, don't be just like me, be just like you. Learn from your role models and apply it to yourself and your own life. Don't try to be someone else.
When did you know that you'd "made it"?
That still hasn't hit me. It still hasn't happened and it's never going to happen because there's always room to be better. In my head, that'll be when I retire or die. That's the only moment I will feel like I made it.
When you first set up a video channel did you make it for fun or did you think it could potentially become a business?
I was 10 years old when I made my account, and I only made it to watch videos and be able to comment. When I was 14, I put up my first YouTube video, and it received 50,000 views. I immediately received a YouTube partnership offer saying, "Hey, you have a viral video." I didn't take it seriously at all; I was 15 and I was making $10 a year.
Rapid fire questions, go!
Selena Gomez. I wouldn't know what to do. If there was a word to put beautiful, gorgeous and astonishing together, she'd be it. I would be so mesmerized. If I had that time to get to know her personally, nothing expensive or crazy, I would just take her to some beautiful place like a garden and just get a sandwich or something and just talk and admire the world. I'm a pretty simple person. I don't want quantity, I want quality.
Which phrase describes you best?