Black Influencers: The Rising Voices Shaping Culture

Black Influencers

If you find yourself spending more and more time online every day, you’re not alone. Many of us spend nearly 7 hours daily on a device connected to the Internet. It only makes sense that these digital spaces we inhabit so often can have an influence on our lives and our society as a whole. The voices that participate in digital conversations help shape the trends, opinions, and culture of the world, so it is extremely important for Black influencers to raise their voices high.

While the world of digital and social influencing was once a place just for people native to social platforms, increasingly so, celebrities are picking up on the need to build their communities, and influence, through social media.

Let’s talk about three celebrity Black influencers, some a bit off the usual radar, who have used their platforms to speak up about the importance of Black experiences.

Issa Rae

Creator and star of the hit HBO series “Insecure,” Issa Rae is redefining the entertainment industry. Rae recognizes the unique power of digital platforms to both uplift voices and reach new audiences. On-screen, she champions authentic storytelling that depicts the multiplicity of Black experiences, but her influence extends far beyond entertainment. Rae also actively engages with her audience on social media to promote conversations about identity, culture, and the importance of diverse narratives in mainstream media.

Lil Nas X

Rapper, singer, and songwriter Lil Nas X has had an enormous impact on pop culture since the release of his single “Old Town Road” in 2018. The rapper currently holds the record for the longest-running number-one song on the Billboard Hot 100 and is the first openly gay Black artist to win a Country Music Award. He is also the first openly gay performer to win an MTV Video Music Award for Song of the Year.

After publicly coming out at the end of Pride Month in 2019, Lil Nas X unabashedly leaned into expressing his sexuality. His song “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” quickly became an anthem for queer representation, embracing the lyrical expression of same-sex attraction and showing off queer visuals in the music video. By being unapologetically himself in his music and on social media, Lil Nas X continues to uphold his platform as a loud and proud voice for Black queer folks, especially in the music industry.

Richelieu Dennis

Richelieu Dennis is a pillar of both the business and the beauty worlds. Founder of Shea Moisture and Sundial Brands, Dennis built himself into one of the wealthiest Black entrepreneurs in America. He started out selling shea butter from his dorm at Babson College and has since gone on to sell Sundial Brands for $1.6 billion.

Now, Dennis actively channels his funds into the next generation of Black entrepreneurs. He has invested in a number of Black businesses, including Slutty Vegan and Monique Rodriguez’s Mielle Organics. He also purchased Essence Magazine in 2018 with the intention to “serve and empower women of color.”

Dennis’s dedication to promoting entrepreneurship within the Black community and advocating for economic empowerment is an important contribution to the advancement of Black-owned businesses in an already competitive corporate arena.

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