Black History Month honors not only the innovative Black men and women of the past but also forward-thinkers who are changing the world today. To move the culture forward, BHM also provides the ideal time to have difficult discussions about what changes must be made in order to have a truly inclusive space.
In the spirit of creating a more diverse space, we spoke with six Black creators about how they use their social media platforms to celebrate their rich heritage and elevate Black voices. Ahead, also learn of their proudest achievements.
Samira Amalia Ibrahim (@samiraamalia)
Beauty Inspiration: Instagram
On How She Supports Black Creatives: "I grew a diverse community of talented of Black and POC creators because I’m always looking to cut a check for talented people who may not have been given access or opportunity."
On How Others Can Support Black Creatives: "Hire us, pay us, and understand how you can fold social enterprise and community action into your business model. Be flexible with the process. Search harder in nontraditional spaces for talent—we are here, we are everywhere!"
On Having the Conversation About Inclusivity: "The key change is accountability, communication, and conversation. Ten years ago, diversity was not a conversation we were having in fashion. Today, I can call out lack of representation without being chastised for it. Brands and people are now more aware of having a reflective cast. Whether genuine or performative, the result is still a more representational reality."
Telsha Anderson-Boone (@telshaanderson)
Beauty Inspiration: Mom
On Celebrating Her Heritage and Creating a Safe Space: "I wish there was one single way to celebrate my heritage through my artistry, but there isn't. I celebrate where I come from, live in my truth, and provide a space for other Black people to do the same."
On the Strides Made in the Beauty Industry: "It’s exciting to see more beautiful Black men and women on the screen within the beauty industry. Of course, there are still large strides that need to be made. From a consumer standpoint, I enjoy standing by a brand that celebrates Black beauty.
Willie Greene (@williegreene_)
Beauty Inspiration: Indya Moore and Rihanna
On the Changes in The Industry: "When I started We The Urban, we existed in the fashion space as Tumblr’s first blog-turned-print magazine. Our first issue debuted in 2011, and, back then, male beauty was still kind of taboo and options were nowhere near as readily available as now. I think that’s a beautiful change."
On Prioritizing the Black Voice and Image: "Black, trans, queer people still need to be prioritized. This marginalized community is often-time the inspiration behind a lot of popular fashion, beauty, and language, but rarely gets to be centered. It’s my mission to continue centering us.
"I think it’s really about being intentional about sharing their work, investing in their art, and uplifting and engaging with their content. All of these things do a world of good for Black creativity."
Larissa Muehleder (@girlinthewhiteglasses)
Beauty Inspiration: Rihanna, Zendaya, and Zoë Kravitz
On Creating aan Inclusive Space: "To show every beauty standard, I make it a point to cast models of all shades [for my fashion label MUEHLEDER]. Having a model in each size featured throughout our content is essential to connecting with our customers.
"I received a DM once from a woman simply thanking me for featuring a dark skin tone model. She explained that it meant a lot to see my clothing in a complexion that was similar to hers. I will never forget how proud I felt to have made her feel seen."
On The Shift in the Fashion And Beauty Industries: "When I started my business, I was represented by a wholesale showroom who insisted I use a white model in order to be picked up by retailers. I was so worried that they’d drop me as a client that I listened. A year later, I dropped them and focused on building my brand identity and community. Authenticity is the secret sauce to success, and it wasn’t until I started being myself that Muehleder took off.
"Today, I don’t think anyone in their right mind would ever tell a Black designer to use a white model. It’s safe to say there have been advancements in sensibilities and open-mindedness in the perspective of Black brands and Black designers."
On Her Place in the Fashion and Beauty Industries: "Initiatives like the 15 Percent Pledge and foundations like Black In Fashion Council and Your Friends In New York are driving the minority train forward. I’ve never been more optimistic about my space in the industry than I am now."
Nyakio Grieco (@nyakio)
Beauty Inspiration: True Joy, Self-Love, And Confidence
On Celebrating Her Heritage Through Content: "I was inspired to create my first brand, nyakio Beauty, based on family beauty secrets passed down to me through my Kenyan family of farmers, medicine men, and scholars. That experience steered my love of studying global beauty rituals. Beauty is universal and allows us to share rich founder stories, global ingredients, and products that work for all skin and hair through our curation at thirteen lune."
On Her Favorite Family Beauty Secret: "My favorite beauty secret is using oil to fight oil. My grandfather was a medicine man who had the ability to go out in nature and extract oils to treat our skin and hair. Our skin is made up of oils that we lose over time, so as we age, we have to feed oil back into our skin to maintain our healthy glow."
Shelby Ivey Christie (@bronze_bombshel)
Beauty Inspiration: Black women, full-glam, big hair, long nails, and Danessa Myricks
On How She Is Empowers Future Generations: "I founded a career-readiness organization at [North Carolina A&T State University] called Bombshells in Business. This enables me to mentor a large group of Black students about gaining entry into creative fields, which can be challenging when you exist outside of feeder schools like FIT, Parsons, and NYU."
On What She Does To Support Other Creatives: "When being interviewed for press or sitting on panels, I make sure I amplify work by Black creatives that I love. I also urge others in the room to follow and support Black creative talent."