by Sarah Morrison
Amplify Melanated Voices: that’s the hashtag taking social media by storm this week — and daring us all to rethink what we thought we knew about Black identity in the digital realm.
First introduced on May 29 by mental health therapist, Alishia McCullough and activist Jessica Wilson, #AmplifyMelanatedVoices emerged with just one simple ask: promote the work of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) digital content creators in place of your own (or the work of White counterparts).
McCullough and Wilson launched this challenge to help correct the societal trend of favoring the White narrative on social justice. As BIPOC themselves, McCullough and Wilson knew the oppression of their community has, unfortunately, not escaped new-age social arenas, such as social media.
“Look at your favorite white social media content creators, they most likely have thousands/millions of followers and endorsements,” wrote McCullough in an Instagram post on May 29. “Meanwhile, pages of Black and Brown people are being policed, reported, and targeted by trolls while their work is stolen and repackaged by these top names,” wrote McCullough. “It’s time to pass the mic to people that need to be amplified, versus more privileged voices advancing themselves while oppressing others.”
The challenge, now of global scale and recognition, was initially set to run from June 1-7. On June 8, McCullough posted a new call to action: center Black and Brown experiences lifelong.
The swift adoption of the #AmplifyMelanatedVoices challenge is proof enough that its lasting power may indeed be just that: lifelong. As we continue to amplify Black voices and Black lived experiences, let’s also vow to actively diversify our most-frequented online feeds, indefinitely. Here, we’ve rounded up 14 Black influencers shaking things up in the world of entrepreneurship and emerging media, with innovative products, services, and personal brands of their own. Spanning fashion, beauty, entertainment, and more, this curated group only scratches the surface where powerful Black voices are concerned. Without question, we’ll be following, and amplifying, now and forever.
Janelle Marie Lloyd of @waityouneedthis
Shelcy & Christy of @nycxclothes
Paula of @hillhousevintage
Summer of @climatediva
Ella A. Thomas of @gaiagurl
Onyi Moss of @mossonyi
Jourdana Phillips of @jourdanaelizabeth
Jazmine Rogers of @thatcurlytop
Sai De Silva of @scoutthecity
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