Setting up YouTube videos so she can share her thoughts on fashion, science, and exercise was the easy part. Convincing mom and dad to let her have her own channel was the hard part! The poise and presentation skills beyond her years come naturally to this kindergartner, but her parents say Hutchison’s nurturing environment has accentuated her talents.
“If you enjoyed my video, make sure to give it a big thumbs up!” That’s the host’s pitch at the end of the first episode of B’mani’s Friends, where you can catch Imani Ware ’33 talking about fashion, science, and exercise.
Starting your own YouTube channel is a big milestone. This one was two years in the making! That’s how long it took Imani to convince her parents to allow it. She’s only five-and-a-half years old, after all. From the enthusiastic opening, the call to action to build followers, and the standard sign-off, the B’mani’s Friends channel
with Imani Ware is pretty solid programming from a host who is serious about her craft. But the unbridled enthusiasm of this feisty and giggly kindergartner is never too far away. Clearly, Imani is having fun, and that’s how mom Kim Ware wants to keep it.
The YouTube channel is all Imani, says her mom about the unscripted videos. “Neither her father nor I sat down with her and said ‘okay, this is how you start your video, this is how you close your video, press the thumbs up. We never had that conversation. This is all her.” She says Imani watches several kid-centered YouTube channels that they have vetted for Imani and that is the source of her inspiration.
“I let her be a kid,” says Ware, adding that there is no set schedule for when Imani will upload a video so it can continue to be something she enjoys and does on her terms. Not that Imani needs much prodding to come up with material. After a recent plane trip, she immediately began thinking of recording a video about COVID-19 safety and air travel.
Ware describes her daughter as a natural communicator who is animated, creative, and with an innate sense of comedic timing. She credits Hutchison, where Imani has attended since infancy in the staff nursery when Kim was working at the school, with reinforcing Imani’s talents and interests.
“Whatever God has blessed her with Hutchison has nurtured,” says Ware. “For example, she has a good understanding of needing a beginning, middle, and end to a story. In early childhood, they began with creative storytelling and drawing pictures for stories. Hutchison cultivated what I think already existed in her, so she’s able to take it and apply it in this way. As early as Little Hive, for sure in Pre-K, there was a focus on public speaking in a way that can be applied to three- and four-year-olds. All of that has helped to create what we see today,” says Ware.
“Once she makes up her mind, she is self-assured, confident, and assertive, and she’ll just jump into it,” says Ware.
That independence comes across in the videos. In a segment titled “Experiments with Daddy,” dad Tim Ware is clearly the guest, or sidekick, brought in primarily for commentary and banter – and probably because the “talent” is not allowed to cut lemons with sharp knives on her own.
Ware says Imani’s experience at Hutchison thus far has been a positive one. “I look forward to seeing how she will evolve into the fullness of who she is and who she’s going to be, especially as she gets older and can advocate for herself.”
It’s a safe bet that Imani will be able to go anywhere she can imagine.