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Laurel, Miss., content creator Kendria Bland has garnered more than 1 million followers on TikTok through her creative comedy skits, which have amassed more than 60 million likes. Photo by LaCheston Moore, LaPic Visuals

Person of the Day | Kendria Bland: Laurel TikToker Wants to Set Trends, Not Follow Them

During family gatherings in Laurel, Miss., roasting sessions would often ensue among Kendria Bland’s relatives. They would tease one another in jest, and a young Bland realized she needed to learn to defend herself. Around age 10, Bland fired off a retort that sent her family into an uproar of laughter. While she does not presently recall the specifics of her roast, she came to understand one thing for certain: She could be funny.

In 2012, Bland’s brother Kendrick Vaughan started creating skits on Vine, a once-popular social-media app that allowed users to make six-second videos. After a while, he asked Bland to participate in his skits, which allowed her to tap into her acting skills.

Though Kendria’s personality on the camera reads as that of an extrovert, she is naturally shy and introverted, she said. Photo courtesy Kendria Bland

Although the app was discontinued in 2017, Bland would continue to film skits off and on, but building a career as a content creator did not seem like a reality until three years ago while she was preparing for her second child. She could not work while pregnant, so her husband encouraged her to stay home and make videos.

Since then, Kendria Bland has garnered a following of more than 1 million subscribers and 60 million views on TikTok, where she makes creative comedic skits that pull on cultural and pop-culture references. Her earlier work focused on popular trends on the app, but she has moved on from those days, she said.

“When I first started out, all I used to do was trends, but now I refuse to do trends because I want to set them,” Bland told the Mississippi Free Press.

‘Ain’t Nobody Told Me Nothing’

Despite her talent for comedy, Kendria Bland grew up as a quieter child who liked to draw. For whatever reason, she at one point became the target of her classmates’ bullying, and Bland had to transfer to a different school in Laurel that provided a safer environment for the young student.

“My classmates are kinda shocked to see what I’m doing now because everybody’s so used to me being so quiet in school. Like, I was literally the girl in the back of the classroom that drew all the time,” she said.

Bland developed her artistic skills as she got older, with a childhood friend encouraging her to paint as well as draw. Once she became confident in her ability, Bland began selling her works. Eventually, her passion for the medium faded, but she has since fostered a newfound passion for the content-creation work she does now.

“I’m more known than I was then, so it’s kind of shocking to a lot of people because in real life, I’m really shy—I don’t really talk much,” Bland said.

Outside of making people laugh, Kendria Bland can also draw and has been drawing since she was a child. A childhood friend encouraged her to begin painting and selling her art. Photo courtesy Kendria Bland

Before creating skits, Bland sits down and meditates. Lately, she has been getting a ton of original ideas, which she believes is due to her bond with God becoming stronger, she said. Content creation has helped her tap into talents she did not know she had like rapping, which she incorporates into some of her skits.

“I think the video that was most popular is probably the video where I said, ‘Ain’t nobody told me nothing,’ because that sound went really really really viral,” the creator said. “I’m trying to get the copyrights on it now. I’m always shocked when I see people in the comments on different posts saying it. Cause I’m like, ‘Dang, my sound went that viral?’ It’s always shocking.”

Her most viral skit, she said, would have to be the slave skit where she goes back in time to give “massa” a Popeye’s chicken sandwich. This started a trend of other people doing similar slave skits, though Bland no longer creates content about slavery.

Over the three years since she has dedicated more time to filming videos, Bland’s popularity has afforded her with opportunities such as being on the cover of a Jaestrete magazine and winning a Black Girl Digital Award. Celebrities like Jack Black, Samuel L. Jackson and Erykah Badu have watched her content and now follow her social-media accounts, which is always a surreal surprise to the mother of two.

“It’s kind of weird because in my mind, it doesn’t seem real,” she said. “Sometimes, I honestly forget that I’m really popular. It’s kind of unrealistic because I’m at home every single day. I’m a homebody.”

“When I go out in public, sometimes I forget, and then I have someone following me like, ‘Why is this person following me? Why is this person following me to my car?’ And then somebody walks up and asks for a picture,” Bland added.

A woman and man posed with two young children
In addition to being a content creator, Kendria Bland (far left) is a wife to her husband, Brandon Bland (far right), and a mother to her two children, Gabriel (bottom left) and Gabrielle Bland (top right). Photo courtesy Kendria Bland

Fame has its downsides, though, such as managing finances, producing content on a consistent schedule, and balancing her roles as a creator and as a wife and mother—an equilibrium she is still working to better achieve. Having ADHD, Bland tends to hyperfocus on what she is interested in at the moment, which can sometimes be an issue.

“When I first started doing videos, it used to be a problem … because I used to concentrate on my content more than I would on my family,” she explained. “My husband had to tell me I’m concentrating too much on these videos, so I had to set a work schedule for a certain amount of time and a certain amount of time to spend with my family when my husband got off.”

It does help that now that her children are older, they want to participate in her skits, but she is still working toward a schedule that accommodates and allots her time and attention toward everyone, including herself. Sometimes, content creation can feel like work, but through it all, Bland is still having fun, she assured.

“My goal is to have my own production company kind of like Tyler Perry because I’m into acting, directing and producing. I want to produce my own movies and shows. If I did start my own production company, a lot of the people that I would hire would be new. … I want to see new faces,” she said.

For a laugh, follow Kendria Bland on TikTok and Instagram pages. 

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