Black social media influencers play an integral part in impacting trends and decisions not just locally, but around the globe. That’s why this Black History Month, we’re taking a look at 8 of the top Black influencers you should have on your radar if you don’t already. Whether you’re an app creator looking for an influencer on your own, or a digital marketing agency looking for potential collaborators to add to your roster, this group of influencers will create a strong foundation for people to explore in your desired niche.
1. Jackie Aina
Jackie Aina is a beauty influencer who gained notoriety through the YouTube channel she started in 2009. Jackie was a professional makeup artist whose frustration with the lack of representation for women of color in the beauty industry led her to begin vlogging on the site. She now boasts a 3.57M YouTube following as well as a 1.8M following on Instagram.
She began by doing beauty tutorials and reviewing products and has since gone on to do a variety of collaborations. She even had a limited Jackie Aina palette through Anastasia Beverly Hills that received glowing reviews. In addition to providing representation herself, Jackie is dedicated to highlighting other Black creators, particularly on her blog. Her Melanin Monday series features interviews with up and coming artists in the beauty industry.
2. Marques Brownlee: MKBHD YouTube Mastermind
Marques Brownlee is another YouTuber who has made great strides since starting his channel back in 2009. Marques is a tech reviewer whose channel is devoted to keeping users updated on all of the latest devices and their features. The channel is called MKBHD and has 15.3M subscribers tuning in regularly to find out which new phone or laptop they should purchase in addition to interesting videos about general technological strides. Marquee has come a long way since his humble YouTube beginnings in his parents’ home. He currently has an Instagram following of 3.3M followers and his latest photo is of him and Steph Curry. His website includes links to a merch shop, his YouTube channel, and a podcast. Marques is on fire and we don’t see him slowing down any time soon.
3. Asiyami Gold
Asiyami Gold is one of the top black influencers in the lifestyle niche making a name for herself through blogging and Instagram. Her page has 308M followers and features fashion, travel, and food in an aesthetically pleasing grid. Asiyami is Nigerian-born and quit nursing school in order to pursue her dream of becoming a visual artist. She is not shy about sharing the difficult journey that led her to her present success. But she maintains that it’s all been worth it to be able to inspire other Black women and girls to lead the lifestyle they want. Beyond being a content creator, she aspires to give back to her community in Nigeria by founding a creative academy for gifted children who would not otherwise be able to pursue such interests.
4. Libby Christensen
Libby Christensen is a fitness influencer who is well known on both YouTube and Instagram for her fitness advice being a Gymshark athlete, having 39.K subscribers and 358M followers on each platform respectively. Her content features workout routines and Gymshark workout clothing and accessories, amongst many sponsorships with different brands. She has also been outspoken about the Black Lives Matter movement, with multiple highlights on her Instagram page dedicated to resources, information, and her personal thoughts about activism and police brutality.
5. John Henry
John Henry is an entrepreneur who rose to prominence while co-founding Harlem Capital, a venture capital firm focused on supporting diverse founders by investing in their startups. John was featured on a podcast and was even tapped to host Hustle on VICELAND. All of this conspired to bring him towards the 161K followers he has on Instagram today.
But John didn’t let any of this success make him complacent. In February of 2020, he stepped down as co-founder of Harlem Capital. And the events of the summer of 2020 inspired him to put his entrepreneurial skills to the test again by creating Loop, an AI-powered car insurance service that aims to make purchasing car insurance a more equitable experience for minorities who are normally discriminated against during the process. His Instagram page features motivational content as well as advice for budding entrepreneurs looking to grow.
6. Coco Bassey
Coco Bassey is a lifestyle and fashion influencer who began as a blogger when she launched Millenielle in 2013. However, she wanted to be more than just a fashion blogger, and so she was proactive about also sharing her thoughts on skincare and makeup, travel experiences, and more. While she kept her corporate job for 10 years as she continued to build her brand and following, Coco finally left that position in 2020 to embrace being a fulltime influencer and blogger. She currently has 225K followers and is verified on Instagram where she chronicles everything from her travels, to her time at NY Fashion Week, with sponsored content sprinkled in between.
7. Lynae Vanee
Lynae Vanee is the mastermind behind Parking Lot Pimpin’, a short form news segment that launched her Instagram following from about 2,000 to her current 527K. Lynae was a high school teacher before 2020 and so had years of experience in making current events more digestible for audiences – something people love about her Instagram series. She has covered everything from intersectionality to cultural appropriation, and she does so with plenty of research and preparation under her belt. Her platform has led her to partnerships with brands like Nike and Airbnb, as well as a feature on the hip-hop network Revolt TV.
8. Nathan Fluellen
Nathan Fluellen is a travel influencer, famous for his award-winning show “World Wide Nate”. The show features Nate’s travels to 6 continents and nearly 60 countries over the course of the first season. In his Instagram bio describes himself as an adventure ambassador and promotes his partnership with Kavata Swim. Nate has 104K followers on the platform following his world travels and hobbies such as surfing. Nate is big on using his platform to encourage Black people to take on international travel and experience the way it broadens their horizons.
These 8 Black Instagram influencers only scratch the surface of the plethora of Black talent that is exploding on the Internet. They are all part of different niches and appeal to different audiences which can be of use to you as a digital marketer because it’s likely that your clients will belong to different niches as well. As you stay up to date with these influencers and their orbits, keep in mind that the time may come when you’re in need of a travel influencer or fashion influencer to promote a brand, and that a pre-existing relationship with one could help you to secure a great deal.
—by Bree Ogaldez
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