Hear it fresh from ‘The Grapevine’

COURTESY // The Grapevine

Web surfers, surf no further, because this YouTube channel is the real deal. Created by Philadelphia University of the Arts Film graduate Ashley Akunna, “The Grapevine” is what happens when intelligent innovation and fierce creativity collide.  

The YouTube channel and passion project began its journey in January 2014 and has since amassed a decent following of over 11,000 subscribers. At its core, The Grapevine is a modernized all-black panel style discussion group that tackles the tough stuff.

Best put in their own words, “The Grapevine” team wrote a short bio perfectly summarizing the web show on their YouTube channel.

“Not your parent’s television show, ‘The Grapevine’ is a fresh and innovative take on the panel style discussion,” they wrote. “The show places the topics of today in the hands and minds of young game changers, artists, cultural innovators, and professionals to dissect what the impact is for this generation.” 

In addition to creating and producing the web show, Akunna hosts and mediates among the several young forward-thinking people brought to her panel that ooze with style, charisma and of course, incredible passion. 

In 20 to 30 minute episodes, “The Grapevine” provides glimpses into the minds of today’s game changing millennial generation. With over 50 episodes on any topic from feminism in today’s media to whether or not Disney’s next princess should be gay, this channel shows true millennial magic.

Magic flourished earlier this year when “The Grapevine” released what has become one of the most popular videos on the channel, earning over 50,000 views since it was uploaded. In the video, the panel discusses the cultural differences between African-Americans and Africans and the common misconceptions associated with or between the two. The discussion started with calm, clean-cut opinions, and then grows into a room full of passion; bringing a small kitchen table talk to life. By the end of this episode, or any episode of “The Grapevine” for that matter, you’re left not only with new knowledge, but also pure inspiration. 

In a short get-to-know-me video on her channel, Akunna discussed what “The Grapevine” means to her and how she hopes to give a voice to the unique perspective of the millennial generation. 

“What sets ‘The Grapevine’ apart from other YouTube channels is the guestsI have aren’t people with book deals, they’re not people with talk shows, they’re not people with large followings, they’re just people that I know and that I meet who are passionate about what’s going on in the world,” Akunna said. “My goal for ‘The Grapevine’ is to really spark dialogue about current events. I think it’s very important to not only debate, but come up with tangible solutions as to how we as a generation can change the things we see.”

Unlike many other YouTube channels, “The Grapevine’s” discussions don’t always give their audience exactly what they want to hear, but rather challenge the status quo and encourage their viewers to create and refine their own opinions. 

In fact, many episodes often involve passionate debate amongst the panel participants. However, no matter how convoluted or controversial a topic may be, “The Grapevine’s” panel challenges it head-on without compromising the respect they have for each other.

Perhaps the most important quality of “The Grapevine” is its uniqueness. It’s extremely difficult to find anything like it on any other internet platform simply because a passion for knowledge and discussion isn’t always seen as the most click-worthy content. However, “The Grapevine” is the definition of a diamond in the rough, in what Akunna describes as a “solution-based show.”