No matter where anyone is in the world, there are many experiences and perspectives that people face that shape their lives.
Across the globe, there are many experiences and perspectives that people face that shape their lives.
And with the world first going into lockdown in March 2020 as the rise of Covid-19 ensued, many of us experienced a new way of life that has changed our outlooks on things as we know it.
The same thing happened to me.
Last year was an interesting time because it made me and others sit back and stay at home unless you had to make a trip to the grocery store. It was a bit frightening initially because I'm from the United States and wasn't entirely accustomed to a state of emergency like a widespread infectious disease.
Also, not knowing what the future of society would be, and how long we would be in a lockdown ran through my mind.
After pondering on those thoughts for the first week of the pandemic, I decided to make the most of the time by journaling, reading, and binging YouTube videos that made me feel positive or taught me something about life.
But one day, while I was flipping through YouTube, something changed.
I had just finished watching a lifestyle vlog and let the autoplay play another video. The new video of a young woman talking directly to the camera, with saddened expression on her face.
She happened to be a sex worker who had just lost custody of her daughter who her grandparents now raised. She was also facing a myriad of other tough life circumstances.
I was instantly gripped by her story, if there were any more interviews, and wanted to know what the name of the show was called, and it happened to be Soft White Underbelly.
Boasting over 2.3 million subscribers at the time of writing, Soft White Underbelly is a docu-series on YouTube by photographer Mark Laita. He interviews individuals within our society that America has turned their backs on, ridiculed and seen as untouchable.
In an introductory video for the channel, Laita noted that the name came from former prime minister Winston Churchill. He was advising the US on the best way to attack Germany in WWII.
"He [Churchill] called Italy the soft underbelly of Europe, meaning that was the most vulnerable spot that Germany had to come in from Italy," Laita said in the video.
Soft White Underbelly Intro Videoyoutu.be
Many of the interviews are of sex workers, drug addicts, runaways, gang members, swingers, the homeless, and many more that the country sees as an entity on their own.
Soft White Underbelly is captivating because of the way it humanizes those who have society's stamp of condemnation on them. It demonstrates that no matter how far apart we are, we are really not that different. Laita's interviewees tell stories that "everyday people" would find difficult to understand,
The emotions elicited by these conversations alone make it a binge-worthy channel. On the other hand, the viewer has a limitless supply of content thanks to new uploads every day. Because there are so numerous episodes to choose from, you get to see many walks of life, their beginnings, and stories they want to share.
"These videos are meant to create awareness of things that are broken in our country. If we don't look at some of the things, they're just going to continue to grow and get worse and worse . And I believe listening, understanding, accepting and maybe deciding to do something differently might make a difference eventually," Laita said.
Hopefully, others can take the time to see the human in everyone around them.
Check out Soft White Underbelly on YouTube here.