Black content creators slam influencer industry for racial bias in giveaways

Photo: XanderSt (Shutterstock)

Photo: XanderSt (Shutterstock)

“You have to work twice as hard to get half as far.” It’s sad to think that as we celebrate the new year of 2023, this adage feels just as true as it did some sixty years ago. And while more traditional means of advancement, such as education, or professional fields such as medicine or law, were once assigned to new areas of employment such as influential industry It only reflects that time is the only thing that is changing.

Black content creators are criticizing the influencer industry for having to be “nearly perfect” to be seen as good enough to partner with big brands. As NBC News reportsAntoni Bumba, a black influencer, and his former roommate, a white influencer, saw big differences in the PR packages they would receive.

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“As far as those free trades go, you have to know the people and you have to know [white] people,” said Bumba, a Lifestyle creator with 938,000 followers on TikTok.

Bumba and her friend decided to test this theory in an easily measurable way by sending an email to the same company at the same time. Bumba says the company gifted her friend shortly thereafter, while she received an email correspondence saying the brand had reached its gifting capacity, even though Bumba has far more followers than her former co-worker. quarter.

The conversation about inequality has been growing on TikTok, where creators share their own stories as well as what they’ve witnessed. Lifestyle creator Victoria Paris, for example, who is white and has 1.5 million followers, is using her platform to amplify disparity. in a videoParis says that PR lists are often skewed, looking for influencers who look like them.

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The content creator claims that brands “don’t understand that, like when you give to people who look like you, you’re either leaving out a lot of people who don’t look like you or you’re creating…a disadvantage. .”

Another creator by the name of Darius Hall (@poorlildarkbxy), a black TikToker, says they ran up debt in an attempt to create content with items they had to buy themselves.

“People don’t realize that getting public relations is a very essential tool, especially within this industry,” said Hall, who has 209,000 followers on tik tok. “Some of the products that people want me to review or talk about are a little bit expensive, and sometimes I don’t have the money for that.”

Most creators buy products that actually endorse and build content around them in the hopes that the brand will take notice and start gifting (and paying) them to create more. It is essential in the strategy for creators to pursue their passion full time. However, for black creators like Hall, the process drags on as money and opportunities are inconsistent.

May Ndolo, a black comedy TikToker with 1.9 million followers, says Black creators are often left out of opportunities that could empower them.

“We have to be perfect before the marks touch us,” said Ndolo. “And it sucks, because, you know, perfection is so hard to achieve, and why are we forced to achieve perfection when white influencers can do anything?”

In response to videos of creators like Ndolo calling out brands for their unfair practices, some companies, like makeup brand Urban Decay, are actively listening and implementing changes.

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“Our Urban Decay social team listens humbly to the ongoing conversation about the need for greater inclusion. I am proud that our creative partners have taken note of UD’s continued efforts to bring action to this dialogue, not only because it is sorely needed, but because it is part of who we are as a brand,” said Malena Higuera, of Urban Decay Cosmetics. . United States General Manager. “In fact, our team recently expanded our PR database to over 1,000 names of influencers and consumers who have expressed that they unfortunately don’t feel seen online.”

Bumba says she’s encouraged by the recent talks and is looking forward to seeing what comes of it all.

“I want to see, like, these creators that I’ve been seeing, these black creators, these queer creators, these Hispanic creators, these Asian creators, get more opportunities,” he said. “And I want to see that in 2023.”

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