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How The Black Family Behind ‘Gracie’s Corner’ Is Shifting the YouTube and Educational Space For Kids

Gracie’s Corner has been capturing the hearts of children, caregivers, and educators everywhere with their catchy rhythmic adaptions of nursery rhymes and educational content for kids.

Who knew what could happen when soca, reggae, and a fire 808 beat was placed over “Apples & Bananas?!” or remixing the ABC’s song could get everyone on their feet and ready to dance? With nearly two million YouTube subscribers and videos with over 73 million views, Gracie’s Corner has become a leader in educational content for today’s youth.

The family-run brand created a movement by seamlessly blending the worlds of education, music, and dance in ways that captivate audiences of all generations. In a mere three years, Gracie’s Corner has emerged as a cultural sensation, harnessing the timeless power of music to connect families worldwide.

And it’s a family affair! The Houston-based Hollingsworth family writes, produces, and performs each track with incredible enthusiasm. Dad and mom, Javoris and Arlene Gordon-Hollingsworth, Ph.D., decided to apply their backgrounds in music, education, chemistry, and psychology to create “Gracie’s Corner” and their daughter Graceyn, the eldest of three, enjoys being the voice and singer behind the main character “Gracie.”

The family-run brand has built a business from its original music that teaches kids their numbers and ABCs, as well as affirmations, effective breathing exercises, and coping skills for children under 12. Speaking with BLACK ENTERPRISE, the Hollingsworth family opened up about the start of Gracie’s Corner and what they have planned for the legacy they’re building.

What was your initial inspiration to start Gracie’s Corner?

JAVORIS: During the pandemic, like most parents, we were juggling our work from home and homeschooling with our children. We had two younger children (less than one and 2 years old at the time) and sometimes we were so busy with everyday work and school (for Graceyn) that we did rely on children’s books and educational videos on different streaming platforms to help out. One day while watching and searching for content we identified a notable gap; there was not a lot of representation for Black and Brown children in the space. Instead of remaining upset about it, we took things into our own hands and decided to create educational and empowering content that featured children of color.

How do you feel about the response to Gracie’s Corner?

JAVORIS: It has been surreal. We knew something like Gracie’s Corner was needed, but it’s the response and viewership that truly told us that many families were just as hungry as us for this type of content. It’s been amazing getting feedback from our supporters, letting us know how much our videos have taught their children and we love watching the videos they post, showing parents jamming and dancing with their little ones. We take great pride in helping to create these co-viewing experiences for millions of families.

What does legacy mean to you? What impact do you hope Gracie’s Corner brings?

JAVORIS: Legacy to us is creating or doing something that years or even decades later you will be able to see the ongoing impact. We hope that years later, families will remember and still talk about the positive impact of Gracie’s Corner on their life or the life of their little ones. We also hope that each child that views our content will grow up filled with self-confidence and a true sense of belonging in our diverse society.

What surprises you most about the large audience you’ve built?

JAVORIS: It’s been so cool to see how our viewers are worldwide, from Europe and Asia to Africa, and the various islands. As we continue to tap into other languages, our goal is to build upon this growth.

With the rise of Black content creators in the digital space, what advice do you wish someone would have given you?

JAVORIS: The advice I wish someone had given us early on was to be prepared for the swarm of people (lots of them) and opportunities that come your way once you reach a certain level of success. It was so hard for us to sort through and navigate, but we finally have good guidance and direction with the help of our team, including attorneys and talent agency (UTA). Also, trademark and copyright before you do anything. We were fortunate to submit paperwork shortly after we started, but it did take some time.

Dr. Arlene, why was it important for you to incorporate breathing and coping skills into your content?

DR. ARLENE: As a psychologist that has worked with children in mental health for almost two decades, the one thing I’ve learned is that we all need a way to cope with stressors and different emotions. Learning these skills and obtaining the tools (for your toolbox) early on can actually be preventative. I want all our children to be happy and healthy; this is a great start. I also want parents to understand the power of positive attention and affirmations; research points to the wonderful impact it can have on self-esteem as that child grows.

Are you open to taking “Gracie’s Corner” to mainstream television, or have there been any offers for a TV show?

JAVORIS: We are interested in reaching as many children and families as possible. Mainstream TV is one way that can happen. We have definitely been in talks on how we can increase viewership on other platforms as well as create new and fresh longform content that will emphasize music and dance but also allow others to learn more about the characters through their adventures.

What do you hope for the future legacy of Gracie’s Corner?

JAVORIS: We believe that Gracie’s Corner will continue to grow globally and expand to various areas such as merchandise in retail stores, live shows, longform productions where you will get to know more about each character, and maybe even children’s entertainment spaces (e.g, fun facilities, amusement parks). Our hope is that people will see what was built by a single family and know that the sky is the limit; they too can create and have a strong/lasting impact.

Graceyn, what do you hope that children take away from watching your content?

GRACEYN: It can be tons of fun creating a YouTube channel with your family. Initially, for my channel, I wanted to unbox toys and make slime; but this has been done many times over. Plus, my dad wasn’t completely on board with the idea. I’m so happy we went in a different direction and I have been able to showcase my love for singing.

Are there any upcoming projects we should know about?

JAVORIS: Yes, we have some amazing collaborations with other artists that we will release soon…we are excited about this and can’t wait to share it with our viewers.

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