An Atlanta Native with roots in Miami, FL, Melanie Mitchell is a certified sensation to watch. Over the last year, her content has skyrocketed thanks to her viral videos across Instagram and Tik Tok featuring her original character Ms Mitch “The Black Teacher at Euphoria”, where she asks important questions about our favorite problematic teens at HBO’s “Euphoria High”. This garnered 100+ views and motivated her to create more notable skits such as Ms Mitch of “Harry Potter”, and “Thick Girl” of The Avengers. Her quality content and rising stardom have led to collaborations with household names such as HBO Max, Prime Video, Fenty Beauty, Target and more.
For Mitchell, comedy is more than just making people laugh. She understands that it goes deeper to bring healing, joy and strength to communities that are hurting, hence why she’s a huge advocate of #BlackGirlJoy. She shares why it’s important for Black folks, especially young Black girls, to see this on display.
On The Importance of Seeing Black Girl Joy
She states: “It’s hard being a Black Girl. A Black woman. So many chips are stacked against us. We need moments to feel seen and feel free. Laughter and seeing ourselves is medicine. Black women deserve to be able to express themselves however they feel fit. For most of my life, I felt like a weirdo because I didn’t have the status quo interest because I was into sci-fi, action, and superhero movies. That wasn’t popular or sexy. I’m making these videos for every generation, young and old, to reiterate that you can be multi-dimensional. You can still be a nerd and be a baddie. We are enough. Just as we are. #BlackGirlJoy is ours for the taking and the keeping. I’m trying to open doors for Black girl nerds everywhere.”
#BlackGirlJoy is a principle Mitchell lives by on a daily basis. For her, comedy is life. Her motto is ‘laugh to keep from crying.’ This principle has seen her through some of the hardest periods of her life including the loss of her father. She has chosen to find humor in everything. She says: “My favorite jokes to tell on stage are about my father and his legacy. He was very funny too, so I got it honestly. I really believe that you take power away from people by telling your own story first. Being able to control my own narrative allows me to beat people to the punch. Finding humor in life’s low and high moments, and being my own comedic relief is healing for me, and nobody can use my experiences against me. My father’s death is one of the hardest and worst things to ever happen to me and it’s so crazy that the pain of his loss has been the fuel to have something to live for.”
Mitchell’s Journey To Comedy
But, where did this all begin? Mitchell’s comedic journey began all the way back when she was a little girl. She says: “I credit my late father for introducing me to stand-up comedy at a young age and sparking something inside of me. Those moments were so special because it was the way we bonded. I remember one night, we stayed up until around 3 a.m. watching Paul Mooney specials, laughing at old episodes of Comic View on BET and binging the Chappelle Show on what was the precursor for the modern-day “DVR.” It was the highlight of my little life and little did I know, sparked my comedic gift.”
But like many young people growing up, her gift was subdued. She was perceived as being “too much”. She says: “Growing up, I had this BIG personality—and for years people would tell me I was doing “too much” and needed to be more reserved.” However, Mitchell did not let this stop her. She used this as fuel to work on her comedic gifts trusting that it will lead her to the right opportunities at the right time.
On Becoming A TikTok Star
So while at high school in Atlanta and at college in Florida, she took her gift to social media. It was a safe space where she could just be Mel and let her superpower reign in. She says: “I recognized my influence and voice early on and would weigh in on various trending topics with my humor and perspective. Surprisingly, people cared about what I was saying, and that gave me the fuel I needed to carve out my own niche online. My followers started looking forward to my commentary, so I delivered every time. After college, I created a podcast, and the listeners thought it was absolutely hilarious. After a few episodes, a close friend and fellow comedian told me I too should be a comedian and had what it took to be a star. I took that advice, started writing my jokes down, ran with it and the rest is history.”
Whilst putting in the work on various platforms, Mitchell noticed that TikTok was gaining traction and creating opportunities for creators. Mitchell wanted a piece of the pie. She states: “Tik Tok is such a great platform and I knew it could take me places. I was certain I had the talent but just needed to get started. It took me a while to find my niche because nothing ever stuck. I was doing skits, repurposing voiceovers and doing all those complicated dances. I was desperately trying to keep up with the trends and algorithms. It wasn’t until I started dancing to the beat of my OWN drum that I took off and started getting the traction I needed and wanted. Birthing my Ms. Mitch’s character, everyone’s favorite Black teacher at Euphoria High, changed my life immediately. As soon as I made that video series, a voice in my head said, “This is it.” And I was right.”
Eventually, Mitchell’s hustle, hard work, dedication and belief in herself began to pay off with her viral videos. She recounts what this was like for her: “ What people don’t realise is that going viral is VERY stressful. It has two sides. It’s amazing when you’re able to connect with people and make them laugh. It’s like a universal language. It’s a great feeling to know that trusting your instincts and gifts can impact others and allow your light to shine. However, sometimes the flip side is that no matter what you do or don’t do, someone will offer unsolicited advice and commentary. I’ve never gone viral on purpose; it just happens organically. So, the secret is to be yourself and let your content do the talking.”
What’s next for Mel Mitchell?
The next few years for Mel are exciting. She states: “This year has been a whirlwind, so I can’t even tell you what the next few months will look like, but I’m manifesting and working towards the life I want. Ultimately, I want to tell stories my own way, make people laugh and continue to inspire the masses.”
To keep up with Mel Mitchell, follow her on @TheBaddestMitch on TikTok and Twitter; and @ItsMelMitch on Instagram.