We had to share Jackie Aina’s Cosmo feature because, in addition to chatting candidly about her life as a Youtuber, her amazing work in beauty, and the impact of her family, she addressed something near and dear to our hearts!
We need to normalize black women amassing, and celebrating wealth, without shame and criticism.
Here’s the thing!
Jackie Aina’s story isn’t about receiving a golden spoon, she is pretty candid about her hardships and the process of “starting from the bottom and now we are here” so she isn’t shy about it.
This is what she shared with Cosmo:
She grew up Christian, like many other West Africans, and always believed that something bigger was waiting for her. “I felt it, I just literally kept hearing it from God, and I leaned on it.” Her favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13—“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
It’s in the description box of her YouTube videos and in her Twitter bio. I have the verse etched in my brain from when I competed in the National Bible Bee as a kid.
Jackie’s not shy about flaunting her wealth or unabashed ambition: there are videos on her channel of her car-shopping for a Ferrari and pictures of her flying private.
She wants to build generational wealth; the kind that ensures that your children’s children’s children will be able to summer in Ibiza, spend winters in Vail, and attend top private schools, all while wearing Chanel.
This in-your-face drive, this unapologetic attempt to reach for something that you’re not supposed to have; it doesn’t align with the Good Immigrant Daughter narrative, but it’s something many Black women can relate to.
In the popular BeautyGuru sub-Reddit, users called Jackie out for growing more inauthentic and disingenuous the bigger she gets: “I feel like it’s only with Black women, that when we start leveling up and doing nice things for ourselves that people have a problem with it,” she says.
She gives me an example: there’s haul videos all over YouTube of women showing off their $50K bags. “But when I do it, it’s fake or I’ve changed,” she says, with an added eye-roll.
All that hate only moved another goal to the top of Jackie’s to-do list: change the narrative and show that Black women are allowed to reap the material and social benefits of this consumerist system.
She launched a new lifestyle brand, Forvr Mood, that sells items like candles and silk pillowcases; and she started a new IG and YouTube account called “Lavishly Jackie”, along with a lifestyle website, to focus on her interests outside of beauty: self-care and luxury.
She told me that you won’t see any more beauty collabs from her anymore; she wants to do her own thing, start her own non-beauty-related brands. It’s understandable, of course.
Not because it’s the natural next step for influencers looking to cash in on their virality in a more permanent way.
But because can you imagine what living under the YouTuber spotlight is actually like? To be bombarded with endless racist comments and hateful commentary? It’s enough to break down even the strongest among us.
What’s next for Jackie Aina?
So, what’s next for Jackie Aina? She told me that TV hosting is a dream and that she wants to release even more products.
Right now, she’s currently producing a feature-length doc on Black beauty influencers. Regardless of all the shit she has to deal with being Very Online right now, it’s a means to an end.
“I truly want to create more opportunities for people who come where I come from,” she says as we near the end of our Zoom call. “For people who look like me,” ensuring that her journey, wherever it takes her, will end at the same place she began.
Read Jackie’s entire editorial here.