This young love story all began with a surprisingly successful prank for YouTube. Imagine having that one straight friend who is dashingly attractive and you’re crushing on him on the low but never can seem to build the courage to express your attraction because of your fear of rejection and humiliation. You ponder for days deciding whether or not the prank is worth losing a two and a half year friendship, fearing that your friend would see through the bullshit and realize you’re really gay and you actually have deep feelings for him. You finally say “fuck it” and set the camera up, hoping for a positive reaction.
Next thing you know, you’re kissing your “straight” friend on the lips shortly after nervously uttering “I think I like you”. 1.1 million views later, you’re in a full-blown relationship with your “straight friend”, vlogging your newfound relationship and its everyday challenges for all the world to see. This was the story of Jaylin and Ricardo, a prank gone right! I had the privilege of learning more about the interesting backstory behind their viral video when I interviewed the couple. They were delightfully calm and humble when I spoke to them, the complete opposite of what I thought they would be based from their outlandishly entertaining prank videos on YouTube.
Jaylin Goodson, (20), met his supposed “straight friend” Ricardo Wright, (19), during their junior year of high school in South Carolina. They didn’t attend the same school, in fact their high schools were rivals but they grew closer through a peculiar circumstance between mutual friends, so try to keep up. Ricardo aka Cardo had a girlfriend who happened to be best friends with Jaylin’s friend who she would tell stories about cheating on Cardo. Jaylin’s friend would then spill the tea to Jaylin and then Jaylin would tell Cardo about his cheating ass girlfriend. My eyebrows went askew once they spilled that tea to me.
“I started telling Cardo about his girlfriend and that’s how we started to become better friends,” said Jaylin.
“Yeah, that’s how you build up someone’s loyalty if you tell them what their girlfriend was doing,” chimed Cardo. He continued, “I was catching her in the act of some things, but she wouldn’t give me her phone, so I took it upon myself to go through it, and I found out that what he was telling me was mostly true.”
This entire situation ultimately led to Jaylin obtaining a huge crush and the viral prank video. To date, the couple has been together for about 5 months, allowing their relationship to grow in the public eye. I was curious to get Cardo’s take on his entire experience, after all, he is claiming that Jaylin is the first guy he has ever been with, both romantically and sexually.
“It is really different because I have been with girls my whole life, so I had to adapt to being with a guy,” said Cardo.
“But with the whole YouTube thing, I didn’t really want to be on YouTube at first because I didn’t want my family to see it. But my momma came across it anyway and [I figured] I might as well go through with it.”
Cardo then explained how his mom found the video of him and Jaylin on YouTube and simply asked, “Cardo, is there something you want to tell me?” After telling her that he thinks he may be bi, she then responded very welcoming, saying she would love him no matter what. A similar situation occurred with Jaylin’s mother but concluded completely opposite.
“It was actually more difficult for me to come out to my mother because she is very Christian, and she doesn’t like it at all. And when we started doing YouTube and when she heard about it, she wanted me to stop it completely. She was like, “Oh, it’s an embarrassment to the family”, like she was really going in. When your mother is telling you that, it could really get to you, but we still did it regardless. I mean, she is coming around now but, in the beginning, it was a completely different story,” said Jaylin.
With Cardo taking a new turn within his sexuality and Jaylin allowing himself to live in his truth with his new man despite the backlash from family, the couple was able to grow their YouTube channel to over 136 thousand subscribers in less than 4 months. They both seemed to be thoroughly enjoying their popularity and stardom, but I couldn’t help but wonder if they really took time to soak in the essence of each other. The first 3 months of all relationships is considered the “cupcake phase”, a time where everything is peaches and cream and the other can’t do no wrong.
When asked about their plans for Valentine’s Day, they both proclaimed excitingly that they planned to do a photo shoot, drop some v-day merch and have a few giveaways for their followers. I commended them on being so young and having the intellect of looking at the bigger picture for what they could create together. To debunk my thoughts that they were mainly focused on monetizing their relationship instead of getting to know each other more exclusively, I asked if they felt they had a responsibility to their followers.
“The fact that our relationship grew along with our social media and a lot of people grew to love us, I feel like if we were to break up a lot of people would be devastated,” began Jaylin. “I feel like we kind of have a responsibility to always put out positivity and not negativity and show them that you can be in love with the same sex and be happy and try to be role models.”
I then asked what advice they would give to new couples who may be in similar situations and looking to be in the public eye.
“Communication is definitely key, because if you lose communication it can cause some type of problem, but you have to be level minded. …But enjoy yourself and have fun making videos. For some couples it’s like a schedule to them and it’s really serious, but I would say have fun because once you begin to grow and get numbers it can get kind of hectic because you feel you have a responsibility to provide videos,” said Cardo.
Of course, with every couple in the public eye there is bound to be unnecessary hate and criticism. Specifically, to Jaylin and Cardo, there relationship has gotten constant skepticism regarding their viral “I Like You” prank video. Many believe it was staged and others believe that Cardo had always been gay. But I was more curious on the follow up of events after the prank ended. How could Cardo immediately jump from being totally straight to being with a guy for the first time and being so open about his sexuality in the media? Something like that is extremely rare to find.
“I feel like with anybody, the right person can show you that it’s okay to give it a try or love the same sex. And obviously I was the right person since we were friends and we already had that friendship bond, I feel like it made it more comfortable,” said Jaylin.
He continued, “I wouldn’t toot my own horn like oh I’m that bitch or I’m that n**ga because I turned out a straight n**ga, I just feel like I was the right person for him.”
Despite everything, it is amazing to see young black gay love flourishing and for the most part, being embraced by so many people in society. Whether your Team Jayllnn or Team Cardo, or even have doubts in the legitimacy of their first viral video, it is undeniable that the couple is paving the way for young gay couples everywhere. Their online presence is certainly entertaining and fun to watch. We are rooting damn hard for JARDO to succeed as a couple without being tainted by the beast called social media. Have fun and love on Jaylin and Ricardo, we wish you guys the best and a Happy Valentine’s Day.
Be sure to follow Jaylin @jayllnn and Cardo @sparks6__ on Instagram! Check out the video that began it all below: