EDGEWATER — The newlywed Arizona couple who lit social media on fire after posting a video on their YouTube channel explaining their recent move to Chicago — and their immediate return home — told DNAinfo that the people criticizing them have misunderstood them.
Brianna Joy White, 18, and husband Jaelin White, 19, said in an email to DNAinfo that they had worked hard to try to launch their real estate business in Chicago and that they didn't leave with a bad impression of the city.
Linze Rice talks about reactions to the YouTubers tale of fleeing Chicago.
Brianna said she has a message she wants to share with the couple's detractors, who she says have been especially cruel in the wake of this video compared to their earlier YouTube content:
"To the people who 'wish we would have got shot' or call us 'privileged white trash' and much more terrible things: Jaelin and I were both raised in middle class families, who worked their butts off to give us food and a place to live," Brianna said in an email. "Neither of us came from money and we have worked our butts off to be where we are right now."
In the 16 minute-long video, the couple details their move to the city and encounter with a man in Edgewater near the Granville Red Line stop that ended with Jaelin being punched in the face, and the couple high-tailing it out of the state the next day.
Further addressing "the haters," the couple had this to say: "I'm sorry that you feel so much hate in your heart towards us, and we just pray that you would feel peace and have an amazing life. Wishing you all the best."
YouTube comments for the video were disabled after an onslaught of hateful remarks, they said.
Now back in Arizona, the Whites said the video detailing how they had become "homeless" was filmed in the home of Brianna's uncle, "who has worked his whole life to be able to live in the house he does."
After their move across the country and back without being able to settle down, the couple said they felt "terrible."
"We hadn't had a real home in over two weeks, and it was a terrible feeling," Brianna said. "Jaelin and I searched day and night for a new place to live, and luckily found a place which we moved into a little over a week ago. The video was titled 'The Reason We're Homeless Right Now' because we didn't have a stable place to live, and didn't know what we were going to do."
The Whites said they still love Chicago, but after what they described as their "first experience with something like this," they said they made the decision to move home.
In their response to questions emailed by DNAinfo, the Whites described being unnerved by the man who followed them, and questioned why they were chosen instead of other potential "targets" on the Granville "L" platform that night.
"The scariest part to us was just not knowing if he had a gun or a knife, and not knowing what his intentions were for us," the Whites said in an email. "I have no idea what the man's intentions were, or why he specifically targeted us, because there were at least three or four girls around us that were all alone, and a few guys that were alone as well."
The Whites said they fled in part because they suspect the man had seen the building where they planned to stay for the next two months, and they worried he could come back "and maybe bring some friends."
"We just felt too uncomfortable to stay living in that specific apartment," the couple said. "I think this experience just taught us to not trust everyone. No matter where we live in the future, crazy things like this can happen, you just have to be aware of your surroundings."
Prior to moving, the couple said they researched the neighborhood and had heard good things from Jaelin's mother, who used to live in Edgewater.
After many visits and plans to expand Jaelin's real estate business, they said they decided to move.
Despite the incident that drove them to leave, the Whites said their good impression of Chicago hasn't changed.
"Our impressions of Chicago were the exact same before and after, we are absolutely in love with the city," the couple said. "It's one of the most amazing places and we will continue to love it forever. Us leaving had nothing to do with the city itself."
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