12 inspiring Black Creators to follow immediately
I recently connected with 12 inspirational Black creators, many of whom started their social accounts because of the glaring gap in the Creator Economy. Namely, these individuals weren’t getting enough relatable advice from brands they follow, so they became the voice they wanted to hear.
Quani, a skincare influencer who you’ll meet in a minute, says, “The main driving force for building a social following is to increase representation, inclusion, and visibility for communities of color that have long been overlooked.”
This article hopes to amplify the stories of 12 up-and-coming and inspiring Black creatives. Their social accounts and creative projects exude confidence, style, drive, and grace.
If you’re reading this—do yourself a favor, and follow them.
1. Kailynn Gospel
One of the most impressive Black creators I connected with is—wait for it—only 15 years old. Kailynn Gospel hosts the podcast Super Sheroes, and she is crushing it.
Kailynn interviews women who inspire her. Each episode takes a deep dive into the life of each Shero to learn who they are and how they got where they are.
The podcast is well-researched, articulate, and keeps you captivated from start to finish. Before moving forward, take a moment to subscribe to Super Sheroes.
Did you subscribe? Great! If not, see the previous paragraph.
When asked who inspires her, Kailynn said, “It might be a cliche, but my parents. I have two birth parents and two step-parents, and they all use their creativity to build their businesses. They’ve always taught me that I could get wherever if I tried, so I strive to be like them. I want to start my own company one day, and I think this podcast could help me get there.”
I was also interested to know what social influencer Kailynn admires. She said, “Yara Shahidi. She is outgoing and well-spoken. Watching her go from Black-ish to having her own show was cool. It showed me that having a good attitude and working hard can take you far.”
Kailynn Gospel is already following in her parents’ and Yara Shahidi’s footsteps. Kailynn, too, is a brilliant and determined creator with a great attitude.
“Kailynn’s drive, creativity, curiosity, kindness, and ability to handle disappointment are constantly inspiring. She is open to learning and willing to work toward her goals. All attributes that will serve her well in life. I am beyond proud of her.” -Daryl Guidry, Kailynn’s Father (@GreatBrilliance & @theguidrygang)
2. Ebony Bomani
Ebony Bomani is a licensed cosmetologist specializing in holistic beauty, wellness, and natural hair care. With nearly 100K Instagram subscribers (@ebonybomani), Ebony captivates her loyal fanbase with how to use personal hair care products and why to prioritize self-care.
What’s particularly impressive about Ebony’s content is her messaging around embracing each person's natural beauty, others, and the environment.
Ebony talked about her motivation for starting her holistic beauty Instagram. She said, “Initially, my motivation came from the desire to display how attainable it was to have healthy, beautiful, God-given, Afro-textured hair. In a nutshell, sharing what I know and love that could help or heal someone else is what drives me.”
Ebony’s influence goes beyond sharing valuable cosmetology tips for Black women. She also uses her platform to empower others.
“Knowing that the content I create empowers women, especially Black women, is like giving back what other Black women poured into me. I consider it a labor of love and a form of community service,” says Ebony
As you follow Ebony on Instagram and YouTube, don’t forget that she will be launching her website this summer. Stay tuned!
“Ebony leads with grace and love in everything that she approaches. With an authenticity that attracts others, her calming spirit has inspired thousands of women across the globe to embrace themselves unapologetically and boldly step into their purpose.” -Farrah Parker
3. Amber Burns
Amber focuses on connecting with people and growing a genuine community. It’s easy to find a friend in her as she posts honest and relatable reflections on self-care and helpful insights on how to cope with stress and stay positive. Not to mention, her book reviews are on fire.
If you’re looking for a burst of joy in your daily social media scrolling, Amber is the woman to follow.
One of the things that stands out about Amber is her willingness to honestly share her own experiences around mental health and offer helpful feedback to her followers.
Amber says, “I share openly about mental health and my own struggles with anxiety and depression. I've gotten so many amazing responses from my followers across platforms who haven't had the space to talk about or unpack their mental health openly.”
She said when she first started on YouTube, she received a lot of positive feedback.
“One of the most frequent comments I would get is that folks were so happy to find a Black woman creating this kind of content. If you just search ‘weekend vlog’ or ‘get productive with me,’ you'll likely scroll for a while before coming across any creators who look like me. I think the most positive outcome is knowing that other Black women see themselves in my content and feel less alone and more represented.”
Amber also shared what social influencer inspired her. She said, “I've been a fan of Kellie B for years. She's a huge inspiration, and I deeply admire the community and business that she's built. Not to mention, her style and eye for interiors are amazing.”
“I am continuously inspired by Amber's ability to use her life experiences as a way to educate and support her community through their own highs, lows, and growth. She's built a community that is rooted in authenticity and a vulnerability that allows others to show up as their truest selves. In a space where so many individuals posture and perform for social media, it's been refreshing to see Amber be herself and let others know that they can do the same.” -Fatou B. Barry, AB Media Group
Quani is a content creator, writer, strategist, and the woman behind the growing Instagram account, @beauty4brownskin. Quani focuses primarily on inclusivity in the beauty space through advocacy, community, and thoughtful content.
Quani said, “I was motivated to start my account due to the lack of representation of people of color—emphasis on Black people—being featured on the social account of a skincare brand that I loved. It’s hard for me to want to purchase products when I don’t see people who look like me using those products, and I quickly found that many other people felt the same way.”
As Quani has built her online presence, she’s also created opportunities for other Black creatives.
“I’ve been able to leverage my connections into creating paid opportunities for Black creators, execute activations on inclusion in beauty for brands that I love, and tell stories around Black culture for predominately white publications. It has enabled me to undergo a career shift where I now work for a skincare brand with like-minded values of inclusion that I hold so deeply,” says Quani.
Quani’s deep love for the Black community shows in her social presence. Her response about what inspires her is powerful.
“I’m inspired by Blackness. The painstakingly beautiful experience of being Black. Our history is more than slavery, and each day I remind myself that I am my ancestors’ wildest dream. I hope to continue creating spaces that allow the micro Black and all other communities of color creators to thrive. Tokenism is still alive and well, and I want to break that barrier. I want there to be more opportunities for all of us,” says Quani.
“Love Quani. I love the way she has always been about the collective. The collective healing and growth of our community. I love that she provides a voice for those who are often silenced. Her presence in this space is crucial, and I am eternally grateful to witness.” -Yuri (@dewiestglow)
5. Reesha Howard
Reesha earned the moniker “Queen of Spaces,” which perfectly describes her work on Twitter (@reeshahoward). She regularly uses Twitter Spaces to engage in meaningful conversations with others to build friendships, talk about accomplishments, and spread joy.
Reesha related what leading on Twitter Spaces means to her. She said, “I’ve fallen in love with the idea of all that social audio can be. By fully embracing the ‘Queen of Spaces’ title, I am hoping that other women, especially Black women, will feel it is their right to speak on their accomplishments and not shrink themselves.”
She continues, “I receive feedback daily on the powerful connections that have been made through the Twitter Spaces I host. My favorite responses are those that share how much smiling and laughter people are experiencing. People have told me how encouraging it is to watch my journey because it makes them bolder to chase things that felt out of reach. It has been deeply fulfilling.”
Reesha’s fun personality, emphasis on happiness, and commitment to her family shines through on Twitter, and on YouTube too. Her channel, 6 Howards, offers an authentic look into the life of her and her sweet family. It’s refreshing to watch Reesha and her family in action.
Reesha describes the modern-day mothering experience perfectly. She says, “Moms are placed in tight boxes and often carry guilt. I want my children to experience being raised by whole people, including a wonderful mother who places them first, but who also refuses to lose herself.”
How does Reesha do it? She explains, “Having goals and always refining myself and finding ways to use my gifts means a lot to me. I want my kids to allow themselves the freedom to use all their gifts throughout life, no matter where it takes them. They have to see this in action, and that is what inspires me. Being a wife and mother is the best thing to ever happen to me, but it does not mean those are all I deserve.”
“Reesha Howard and Mr. Dre are the reasons why I not only resumed or started using Twitter after many years but also became a Spaces creator myself. Reesha’s knowledge of and enthusiasm for the product was evident in her recruitment and onboarding of new users. Reesha and Mr. Dre’s research and pre-production for Spaces events are on the level of major television networks, and both of them—whether hosting events together or on their own—are the two best hosts and managers of a Space to emerge from the initial beta test group. “ -Deb Hill
6. Joél Leon
His creativity is also infused into his work as a speaker and workshop leader and facilitator. In 2019, he gave a TED Talk on co-parenting that already has over 1.5 million views.
Joél offered more insight about his creative work, and he explained he writes poems, essays, and rap songs for marginalized communities. He says, “I write and perform to tell the stories of my people, my elders, my community—for the oppressed, marginalized, and underserved.”
He also relates his motivations for creating. He says, “The main driving force is to have more people listen to, understand, and support the stories I share, so I can continue my efforts of spreading love, light, and wisdom wherever I go. This allows me to also create more space for more voices, who look like me and come from where I come from, to share their truths and their stories.”
During my research for this article, Joél’s influence for good was abundant. Several people connected with me, suggesting I write about him and his work.
“It's been very humbling to hear people tell me my words have changed their life or outlook or helped them get out of bed. My favorite is when people say I'm reading their mind or that I put into words the feelings they have been trying to convey. That makes me smile the most. The goal is to liberate and to heal,” says Joel.
And his words do that—liberate and heal. Lin-Manuel Miranda says so, too.
"Joel's words are where I go when I need some inspiration. And he never lets me down." -Lin-Manuel Miranda
7. Ayana Lage
On Ayana’s Instagram feed, she shares content around a wide range of topics, including family, motherhood, postpartum mental health awareness, pregnancy loss, and racial injustice.
“I started my social media account for the same reason as most people—I was bored and looking for something to do. When I decided to become a blogger, I focused on fashion and affiliate sales.”
In more recent years, Ayana has shifted her focus to lifestyle content and social justice causes. She says, “I was worried that sharing my opinions would make me too political and polarizing, and I didn’t want to lose followers or brand partnerships. Surprisingly, I gained more loyal followers and partnered with my dream brands once I started to vocalize my thoughts on serious topics.”
Ayana’s voice is unapologetic and strong, and it resonates well with her growing audience. “People thank me for my candor on my mental health struggles and grieving my miscarriage, and I’ve been able to help a lot of people better understand the role racism plays in our society,” says Ayana.
When asked who inspires her, she gave tribute to other Black women. “I find myself most inspired by Black women who share their experiences online, and that’s who’s helped me find my voice. While I had my social media channels before I found these women, they help me feel better about speaking out and being honest without fear,” says Ayana.
Ayana is gorgeous inside and out. Her posts are sometimes funny and sometimes heartbreaking. What’s particularly impressive is how willing Ayana is to share her opinions, nurture others’ in their allyship journeys, and show an immeasurable amount of grace.
She says, “The most meaningful interactions are when people message me to say that I changed their minds or made them more aware of the challenges Black and brown people in America face. I’m honored that I’m able to help people.”
“One of the most impressive things about Ayana is her ability to create content that's both completely authentic and incredibly thoughtful. So much of what she shares are things that come from her own experiences and expertise, but it's often service-oriented, too. Talking to Ayana or reading her posts always feels like she's prioritizing connection and service while still being completely and totally herself. I feel like this balance is so hard to find amongst influencers and people in general, so I love that about her.” -Olivia Muenter
8. Jayde I. Powell
Jayde I. Powell is a social media strategist and a creator on Twitter and Instagram (jaydeipowell_). For Jayde, growing social media isn’t about building a “following.” It’s about providing value and building a community.
“I love social media and the community that I have been able to build. There is nothing more nourishing than building those relationships offline. If I deleted my Twitter account tomorrow, I would be okay because I know that the people I’ve built relationships with know exactly where to find me,” says Jayde.
With this kind of attitude, it makes sense that Jayde has received such a positive response to her social presence.
She explains, “I use my Twitter account as a space to be myself. I tweet how I talk and think in real life, and I believe that authenticity resonates with people. My community can feel my presence and personality through a screen, and I feel very humbled and honored by it, mainly because having a Twitter presence was not on my vision board at 18.”
Like other creators, Jayde is inspired by other Black women. She says, “Black women have this ability to make everyone in a room feel seen, heard, and loved, despite not often receiving that love in return. That is something I hold close to my heart.””
Jayde also doesn’t underestimate the importance of celebrity voices on social media. She told me her favorite influencer is Rihanna. In fact, Rihanna is the reason why Jayde returned to social media.
Jayde explains, “There was a time where I ditched Twitter for Snapchat, but when Snapchat allowed that embarrassing and insensitive advertisement, I had to go. I returned to Twitter. When Rihanna called Snapchat out for making fun of the domestic violence she experienced in a previous relationship, their stock plummeted by 4%. Now that's influence.”
Jayde expresses how we all feel about Rihanna—“She’s an icon. She’s a legend. She is the moment.” You’re pretty outstanding yourself, Jayde.
"Jayde truly knows how to blend and balance wisdom about cultural happenings and education about her craft with humor. Not only does her approach feel effortless and her meme-game some of the best I’ve ever seen, but everything she talks about is also boiling over with truth, empathy and love for whatever community she’s talking about. She’s a gem and a value-add as a human in any space, and I look up to her immensely." -Angela Brown
9. Melissa Victor
Melissa (aka Melly) Victor is a multi-disciplinary artist, primarily a musical theatre actress based in NYC. Due to the pandemic and Broadway shutting down, Melissa had to pivot to keep her creativity alive. Two months before the shutdown, Melissa started a children’s podcast called Stoopkid Stories.
Stoopkid Stories is about seven young Black characters and their journey navigating different aspects of life. The characters talk about family issues and friendships in the podcast, and we hear how they engage with their community and school environment. The story is engaging, and each episode includes questions to help spark further conversation.
“I wanted to step into a new way of storytelling and have Black kids who look and sound like me, see themselves represented in stories about regular, normal, everyday kids,” says Melissa.
The response to the podcast has been outstanding. “I am amazed at how many parents have listened to the podcast and have thanked me for my stories. Parents have said the episodes have opened up great conversations for them and their kids. The young listeners have written to me and said that they could relate to the characters on the show, and most of the listeners have a favorite character. Also, educators have used my podcast in their classrooms to teach writing, talk about race relationships, and simply as just another form of entertainment,” says Melissa.
Stoopkid Stories is a podcast and an Instagram (@stoopkidstories) must. And, spoiler alert! Melissa is currently working on Stoopkid Stories LIVE, a musical based on the podcast, and it will hit the stage this summer at the Summer Theatre of New Canaan.
“Tenacious, consistent, vibrant. These are three words that describe Melissa Victor, and they’re what I admire about her. Melissa's contagious spirit is what drew me to her right away. It’s that spirit that also draws listeners—parents and kids, alike—to her podcast Stoopkid Stories. From the intro to the stories, the podcast channels Melissa’s true essence perfectly. Melissa has a drive and hunger to succeed that permeates every project she touches and every connection she makes.” -Jenna Boyer
10. Aycee Brown
Aycee is a psychic channel who helps others understand the mystical map of their lifetime. Her content dives deep into the spiritual world and helps others learn how to channel their aura to live a more fulfilling life.
It wasn’t easy for her to get started. “For many years, I hid. I barely would show my face. But I knew I could impact more people and get my message out to the world by building a social media presence,” says Aycee.
She also explains that the main driving force for starting a social following was to establish authority and build brand recognition.
Aycee says, “I have been doing this for over ten years, and even though I had a business without social media offline, it's been nothing like the impact I have online. Offline you can only reach people so far organically. But with social media, you have a chance to impact people who you would never be able to.”
Like other creators featured in this article, Aycee noticed something was missing in the spirituality space—a lack of representation of Black women and women of color.
Aycee says, “Growing up as a young psychic and looking for people who looked like me to model myself after was hard. I made a promise that I would show up for my 15-year-old self and other Black women and women of color so they can have someone in this space who looks like them.”
If you can’t get enough of Aycee on Instagram and YouTube, here’s some good news. She also hosts a podcast called “Is My Aura On Straight.”
“Aycee Brown has grown relationships with clients and her community of followers by offering not just her gifts, but also showing up for us with love, integrity, and a sincere desire to help others. Her coaching and expertise helped change the trajectory of my life this year—having her guidance feels like I’ve rediscovered my superpowers.” -Cali Green
11. Natasha Nicholes
Natasha Nicholes runs the award-winning blog, House of Nicholes, and the Twitter accounts @natashanicoles and @wesowwegrow. These online spaces are the perfect places to visit if you're learning how to become a Superhuman like Natasha.
Not only does Natasha nurture her family, homeschool, travel avidly, and garden, but she also teaches other people how to homestead. You can learn anything related to living bountifully on Natasha's blog, including learning how to sew, raise chickens, and grow a garden.
She was quick to share that it’s easier to get started with homesteading than you might think and she has big plans for growth.
She says, “For so many people who have the desire to grow food, they often think that they need a ridiculous amount of space to do so. While teaching them how to grow their food, I also support them in their quest to learn why things work the way they do. I also plan to run a full-scale educational space in the city of Chicago. I share the good, the bad, and the ugly of growing food.”
Natasha didn’t start her social following with influence in mind. She started growing her social channels to share homesteading with others.
“I started sharing because I wanted other people to see that you don't have to fit a certain mold to do something that has been placed on your heart. The seed to start a small-scale farm was planted in 2013, but I couldn't make it happen until 2016. Now we're running full steam ahead with acquiring land and a building for classes and gathering.”
Natasha said she is inspired by her maternal grandmother, husband, children, and every one of her community members. When you look at Natasha’s blog, organization, and community, it’s clear the inspiration is reciprocal.
12. Yoli Ouiya
Yoli Ouiya is an advocate, content creator, and consultant in the food and wellness sector. She runs two growing Instagram accounts, including her personal account (@yoliouiya), and The Food + Wellness Equity Collective (@foodwellnessequity), which she runs with her co-founder, Sonja Overhiser (@acouplecooks).
Yoli started her social media account to share experiences with her personal wellness journey. “I was making a lot of dietary, sustainability, and wellness changes, losing weight, and improving my overall health. My friends and family wanted to know how I was making these changes, so I figured if I started my accounts and blog, it would make it easier to share the journey,” says Yoli.
Yoli’s influence extends beyond her personal wellness journey with the Food + Wellness Equity Collective. This collective is a community of content creators that share information about wellness, food topics, and environmental and racial justice.
"Sonja and I started this collective after the murder of George Floyd. We saw many performative postings that didn’t catalyze change or support having conversations to change the systematic racism in food, wellness, and environmental systems. We wanted to use the influence of content creators to educate and empower them around these particular topics so that they could do the same for the communities they serve,” says Yoli.
She continues, “For the collective, we have curated a few webinars and online events that centered about important and sometimes complex topics from ‘Anti-Racism on Social Media’ to ‘Environmental Justice is Racial Justice’ and ‘Exploring Food Sovereignty.’ The feedback we have gotten for catalyzing these conversations has been wonderful.”
One panel attendee says, “The discussion made it clear that there isn’t one single way to solve food injustice in the US. While we need to vote for legislators who support food equity, we also need to create and support solutions outside government. It’s not either/or. It’s both.”
“I appreciated all the food for thought about how interwoven environmental and racial justice are. The panelists were a wealth of knowledge as they passionately shared their reasons for caring about the environment, how climate change especially affects BIPOC, and how to practically start having conversations (and advocating) for change around this topic in our own circles,” says another attendee.
Following Yoli’s Instagram accounts are a must for anyone interested in making personal health changes and learning how to get involved in crucial conversations on food, racial, and environmental equity.
"Yoli is a brilliant leader and wellness equity advocate. It's incredible to watch her turn her passion into projects that benefit people and advocate for justice. She's a leader to watch in the wellness space: if today is any indication she'll continue to be a major player for years to come! I'm constantly in awe of her strategic mind and ability to influence people for good." -Sonja Overhiser
Partner with more Black creators
If there is one thing our world needs, it’s more diversity and inclusion across every facet of life.
Black creators are outstanding voices in the Creator Economy with growing audiences and vital perspectives.
There is no better time than now for brands to partner with Black creatives, starting with the twelve individuals featured in this article.