Amplify Melanated Voices: 14 Black Influencers to Follow Today and Everyday

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

Frances Aaternir (@francesaaternir)

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Throwback to the last time I wore non-elasticized pants ✌🏾

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Nancy Twine (@nancytwine)

Paula of @hillhousevintage

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I spent so many years in the fashion industry getting excited about Autumn fashion and the ‘September issue’, that I convinced myself that the cold crispness of Autumn was my favourite season… I still love Autumn of course – who can resist the odd chilly morning and the excuse to wear a well fitted tweed jacket, a chunky Aran cardigan or the advent of cosy time in front of a roaring fire! However, as I’ve grown older, I’ve realised that I now flourish at the feel of warm sunshine on my face and the sight of dappled sunrays through my window pane. I retreated during the past few dull and cloudy days, inadvertently allowing the clouds to settle above my head – inside and out…but suddenly today – under bright blue skies – I’ve come alive again – like a daisy opening up to the sun. Who knew that just as you begin to think that you know yourself – life can throw you a curveball and suddenly you learn a few new home truths! Are you affected by the weather? I genuinely had no idea that I was until this lockdown! In fact there’s SO much that I’m discovering about myself during isolation (..for instance, I really ought to have a padlock on my fridge and surrender control of the key…) – am I alone in this moment of self discovery? Happy Sunday. 🌞x • • • #selfdiscovery #thethingsivelearned #sunseeker #joyseeker #feelinggrateful #knowthyself #sittingroom #drawingroom #myhome #hillhousevintage #hillhouse #norfolk #norfolkliving

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Summer of @climatediva

Carly Cushnie (@carlycushnie)

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Weekday flow… 🤍

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Hannah Fallis Bronfman (@hannahbronfman)

Aurora James (@aurorajames)

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@harpersbazaarus 🖤 Supporting small business right now is more important than ever. We are at a critical fork in the road. The things we actively support with our dollars, our voices, our likes and our votes will live on. The things we don’t will perish. How do we want to see the next chapter of our lives play out? What businesses deserve to keep our attention, whose voices in the chatter have served to lift our spirits? The things and people we give our energy, resources and time too will grow and thrive and so will the effects and impact of their choices. This week I have heard rumblings of sweatshops no longer paying their workers because their fast fashion retail shops were closed. Fast fashion is made generally by the hands of Women. Usually Women of Color. When you force Women to work for you for free that is slavery. And for what? A blouse from a fast fashion brand we saw an influencer post? I am not saying all of this to be negative. I am sharing it because it is a reality and since we are at this crucial fork in the road we deserve to know the true nature of the climate we are living in. Fight hard for the things you believe in. I’ve spent the greater part of my life trying to do just that – which has taken me down this path where I am now here, with you. And guess what? Today is the day we will start shipping our first EVER edition of @brothervellies Something Special. SO while I can’t say I’ve made all of the most amazing choices in my life (I definitely haven’t) I can stand here and say I have at least done my best every single day and promise to continue doing so. I love you. Truly. Thank you for supporting me. I am excited to continue to grow and support you too.

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Ella A. Thomas of @gaiagurl

Onyi Moss of @mossonyi

Jourdana Phillips of @jourdanaelizabeth

Jazmine Rogers of @thatcurlytop

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🗣You don’t have to march to use your voice, but inaction caused by apathy helps no one. . . . In light of the women’s march and MLK day, I want to highlight some of my thoughts: .⭐️USING YOUR VOICE IS POWERFUL: Whether your talking to those around you, reposting vital information via social media, attending a march etc. EVERY ACTION MATTERS. .⭐️FAITH AND JUSTICE SHOULD BE INTERTWINED: I don’t know where this got mixed up, but justice is at the heart of Jesus’ message. I believe Christians should be joining the frontlines of reconciliation. .⭐️WHITE SUPREMACY IS STILL HERE: I will not ignore the headlines of the LA Women’s March not inviting Black Lives Matter or the predominantly white crowds at the march. But as a WOC, I’m here to take space and create room for other WOC. .⭐️THERE’S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN APATHY AND ANXIETY: there’s a ton of anxiety surrounding eco-issues and/or being a WPOC, and if your struggling with that and can’t use your voice THAT’S OK TOO. You’re processing and healing. What makes things harmful is if you look on those who do use their voice or learn about new information and explicitly ignore it. . . . I have more thoughts and always a ton to process/digest on MLK day, but I’ll leave you with this: “Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the existence of justice for ALL PEOPLE” So, what are your thoughts? 💭✨

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Sai De Silva of @scoutthecity

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Back in the day when kids used to go to school.

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Word Stylist. Fashion Aficionado. Human, above-all.

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