In 2018, it was a big year for social media and the black community. Black Twitter, specifically black UK Twitter was booming, no metro. There are Black British YouTube stars from Patricia Bright Nella Rose, KSI, Nehi TV, Simeon Panda, Shantania Beckford, the list goes on. It is lovely to go on YouTube or Instagram or Facebook and see people like me advertise products and services or talk about issues that affect me.
However, how is this affecting the black community and what is being influenced and do black influencers have a long way to go?
Take Patricia Bright, I watch her videos and I have subscribed to her channel. She has over a million subscribers and she goes on PR trips with different brands. This is great but she is usually the only black person or even the only person of colour on these trips? Why, everyone seems to be getting into black culture these days whether it’s the food, the fashion, the music, the makeup etc but do they support each other?
I always see that in the black influencer community. There is a lack of support and too much competition (I would say this is part of black culture in general). It takes a village to raise a child so why can’t we support each other and rise. Obviously just because someone is black, you don’t have to support everything they do (support quality) but a simple retweet or purchasing of the product or positive/encouraging comment on a YouTube video can go a long way.
For example, a lot of the people I follow on Instagram who are black ladies are Boohoo or Pretty Little Thing Ambassadors and they wear their clothes and promote their outfits, but I have never seen a line combining the ambassadors’ style and culture with the brand. What is the influence, is it the clout? I mean Stefflon Don and Maya Jama had a line with big clothing brands, but I didn’t see much to do with culture just more with what is trendy and their style. I am not saying everything has to be Ankara, but it would be nice to involve culture in these items.
I also say there is the rise of the UK black female influencer, but I don’t know if the same is for the men, are they tracksuit ambassadors lol? Can black males grow their following through brands and YouTube and other things like the females can? I see Josh and Wes from Love Island can but what about other Youtubers who have a large influence? Can their channels or items grow or attract as much as the women? I think not at the moment and we have a long way to go in that aspect. Black males are popular in sport and gym related things, but I know men who are into fashion, trainers, food, music who don’t get as much attention.
It is like music, there are talented UK music artists and I have seen brands use music for entries to adverts or to promote specific items like a new collection. However, what do these brands bring in return expect a large name and a one-off collection? What about a project in communities or a contracted deal with other collections or a better understanding of how the industry works?
These brands love to use ‘Black colloquialism’ in emails and on their website and use Instagram famous influencers to promote their products but are there any black in the PR room, telling them how to appeal to the ethnic minorities? You can instantly tell when someone who is not from a black background, writes an article or portrays an issue in a life that you know if you were black, your standpoint wouldn’t exactly be the same. I don’t mind you using a black influencer to promote a product or an issue but please have someone who is black in PR or marketing to back up the facts.
I appreciate that there are more YouTube, influencers and social media accounts run by our own people and I am not mad at that, but I just ask what is the influence and how far does these brands that they work with want to take it?
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