April 5, 2022

Instagram Launches ‘Black Perspectives’ Initiative To Give Black Creatives The Credit They Deserve

Black content creators continue to lead the way in online spaces such as Instagram – from memes, and dances to the way in which they have utilized the app for digital activism and campaigning on important issues.

But for far too long – these same creators have often been cast to the side, not credited, and even paid less by advertisers and brands.

A report published last year by the communications company MSL and educational organization The Influencer League stated that the pay gap between Black and white content creators was 35%.

And 59% of Black influencers also reported that posting about race issues negatively impacted them financially. Instagram, however, aims to help change things for the community.

The social media giant has teamed up with LGBTQ+ youth worker Tanya Compas, GUAP co-founder Ibrahim Kamara, leading lifestyle content creator Esther Areola and DJ, presenter Henrie Kwushue to launch Black Perspectives’ – a new program designed to champion the future of young Black talent from 15 March to June 2022.

The initiative aims to challenge the status quo by empowering and championing the future of Black, creative talent across various industries, including fashion, LGBTQ+, entertainment, and media.

Beginning in May, Henrie Kwushue will be launching Free Game, an exclusive Instagram content series where she’ll interview big names from the entertainment industry to uncover inside knowledge and pass on that wisdom to the next generation.

Finally, kicking off in June, Estare Areola will run The Creator Quest, which involves a series of challenges for four aspiring content creators to see how they handle a real brand brief and if they can turn their passion into a career.

Over the coming months, each of these four talents will be working closely with Instagram to deliver their initiatives, give back to their communities and inspire the next generation of content creators.

“At Instagram, we’re committed to supporting and nurturing the careers of emerging Black talent, and Black Perspectives is an embodiment of that,” says Georgia Kelly, Emerging Creator Partnerships, UK & Nordics, Instagram.

“Black creators are consistently driving culture forward on the platform and too often face barriers to success in the creative industry. Together with our change-making lead creators, we’ve curated a program that will support emerging talent to forge careers for themselves both on and off Instagram,” she added.

Awallprintss spoke to Estare about her own journey as a creator, setting boundaries, whether the industry is too saturated and why it’s important for her to ‘give back’ through this initiative

AWP: Thanks for joining us Estare – first things first – did you know that you’d grow to be this big social media guru and become a ‘role model’ to some?

Estare: No, I was just doing it because I genuinely love creating content and I’ve always been quite a creative person. When I used to work these [retail] jobs back in the day, I used to go into work and just feel like, I didn’t belong there and eventually, I took the plunge and I said you know what ‘I’m not applying for any more retail jobs, I’m just gonna do content creation full time.’

Of course, it was a tough journey as I had to make a lot of sacrifices and it was such a new industry at the time. It wasn’t even considered an industry [back then] and there was no such thing as influencers. So I didn’t start making content thinking that I’m gonna grow a following or that I’m gonna get all these opportunities. I just thought I’m doing something because I genuinely love it.

I tell people when they ask me ‘how can I be a content creator? do it because you love creating content and that will essentially drive influence or bring in followers. But that [followers] shouldn’t be the main goal of why you do things, do it because you love it.

AWP: What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced as a creator?

Estare: Not to sound like I haven’t faced any challenges but I think I’ve always had the mindset that, if you’re focused on what you do, and you’re really good at what you do, then you will get your flowers – they will come to you. I’ve had challenges but I look at them as learning curves, I always take them as ‘okay, that was an L. What am I going to do to change that so it doesn’t happen the next time? And what am I going to learn from this?

But there was one time when I was working on a campaign and they were like ‘oh, please don’t talk about how much you’re getting paid’ and at the time I thought ‘well why would I do that anyway’ but now I understand it was obviously because of the pay gap. I think this is why this initiative [with Instagram] is so great because we can sit here and have these open conversations, and be very honest with one another about the realities of being an influencer.

AWP: Having these uncomfortable conversations is important, but how do you manage the negativity?

Estare: I used to have a timer on my phone that gave me a certain number of hours on social media a day and I think I got used to it because once the timer went off I would say ‘okay, your time’s up, boom, you need to put your phone down.’

I did that, especially during the lockdown and I think that really did help me kind of cultivate a habit that I’ve continued until now. I’m also all about connecting in real life as well, I want to be able to meet up with people and speak to people [face to face]. I’m also always making sure I set time aside for myself. Another thing about people sliding into your DMS or saying crazy things is these people don’t know you personally – they only see a profile and create this narrative about you that may be false and they take away the human side of things.

They forget that you have emotions, and you have feelings, and they just kind of see it as this person looks great all the time so she can never be hurt. But I think once you cultivate a good habit of setting a time to be on and off these apps and making sure you’re only engaging with positive accounts that make you feel good then that will help.

I’ve made it a thing not to follow any gossip pages because I don’t want to see them talking about somebody else because if that was me, it would be harmful. I don’t care if it’s a super mega-millionaire celebrity, that’s probably never gonna see it, that’s still a human being.

Originally published in Awallprintss with permission to republish.
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Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.