Celebrating this momentous time in the Black Community is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of past and present influential figures. Not only is it important this month, but it’s also equally as important every month. Diversity in the social media realm is important to keep users informed, educated, and respectful. Gen Z is a great example of the effects of exposure to positivity and acceptance culture can have on a generation. Critical perspectives include our top three influencers that exemplify leadership, from authenticity to creativity:
1) Sashagai Ruddock
Known to her followers as @flawsofcouture, Sashagai wears many hats (literally) as a fashion and beauty influencer. She promotes body positivity and inclusion and explains why diversity is crucial. “It matters because it inspires, can change the way people see themselves, and how they see your brand. If I don’t see someone like me represented in your marketing, there’s a high chance I won’t shop at your store. Why? Because I can’t relate. I won’t feel like your products are for me. And it’s not done maliciously — it’s subconscious.”
2) Imani Black
She single handily created and is the founder of Minorities in Aquaculture (MIA), a 501C organization designed to open doors for women who want to work in aquaculture but meet challenges because of race or gender. “We are on the foundation of mitigating the social and financial barriers women of color face getting into aquaculture, whether that’s gear, paid internships, certifications, or workshops.”
3) Kendra Austin
As an advocate for body positivity, she utilizes her platform as a writer, model, and influencer to create a positive conversation and stigma of fatphobia. Kendra recommends reading Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia by Sabrina Strings, PhD, assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine. Through Strings's research for her book, she identified that fatphobia has ties all the way back to the slave trade when eating and body size became characteristics of racial identity to differentiate between who were slaves and who were free.
Spreading the love and the importance of pioneering and prominent Black figures and their legacies make February a monumental time. We encourage you to do your own independent research to not only learn about Black History Month but how you can support diverse leaders in your community, below are some suggestions for different media outlets on how to get involved. Do your part to support by shopping at black-owned businesses, supporting black creatives on social media and physically by purchasing works from artists, musicians, or writers. Let’s do our part to not just celebrate in February, but all year long! Comment below how you’re celebrating Black History Month!