TikTok has quickly become the go-to platform for all things beauty. With trends like the “clean girl makeup look” and “slugging” filling our “For You” pages, beauty lovers are inspired to level up their routines. As a result, #BeautyTikTok is evolving rapidly with new beauty hacks and influencers rising every day, making groundbreaking impacts on their community. TikTok seems to be the “perfect platform” for beauty influencers to grow, yet there’s still a wide gap for creatives of color, and Black creatives, in particular, to be seen.
Black creatives have been vocal about the recent inequalities on the platform. There has been a clear gap between exposure and opportunity from the algorithm for brand deals. There have also been unfortunate cases of content being stolen from Black creatives without any credit or recognition. As a creative myself, there have been times when I’ve felt like I had to put in more effort than my counterparts just to be noticed and when I've had to advocate for myself in order to be paid my worth. However, I love my community, so I continue to push forward and create, an adage many creatives of color live by.
In an effort to shed light on the Black content creators in the TikTok space, xoNecole chatted with five Black beauty TikTokers about their journey and experiences in the social media landscape.
Finding Your Voice and Pushing Forward
Victoria Azubuike, Beauty and Lifestyle Content Creator
Courtesy of Victoria Azubuike
“My growth as a content creator has been prolonged, and then it dramatically increased recently. I’ve recently understood my voice on TikTok and Instagram and what I want to convey to my audience. I dabbled in a few niches when I first started - mainly fashion and motivational content. Now, I’ve finally learned how to show up for myself and the community I serve. There’s no such thing as an overnight success. This journey is years of trying and sometimes feeling like giving up, there was a point I wanted to quit Instagram, as I just wasn't seeing the results... Then things finally changed. Thankfully, I found my voice.
There’s no such thing as an overnight success. This journey is years of trying and sometimes feeling like giving up, there was a point I wanted to quit Instagram, as I just wasn't seeing the results... Then things finally changed.
"I'm learning to show up as my authentic self daily, and share elements of my journey with my community. I'm learning loads, it's a process and reminding myself not to overthink certain things and think about what I would want/need to hear from somebody else. It’s not easy. However, I’m learning it’s important to still show up as my authentic self. I used to use many filters, and this year, I decided to show up as I am - even with a pimple on my face. Through time I’ve realized people respect that more. My community wants to hear from me, the content creator, and that doesn’t always mean showing up with makeup or being perfect. I’m very grateful for my community. They inspire me to push through and show up no matter my challenges."
Representation and Unity
Damilola Adejonwo, Beauty Content Creator
Courtesy of Damilola Adejonwo
"My journey as a content creator has been incredible, but at the same time, it has come with a lot of responsibility. Due to the racial climate, I always take it upon myself to show people how to respect me as a gay and Black man. Content and representation are important because they show who we are and where we come from. I want to show people that there are people who are gay, Black, and wear makeup. It’s so important to see that. I’m happy that I can show that side of myself. Although it has been a good journey for me, I think we have a lot more to do to feel fully included.
"Whenever you’re honest about your path, it’s always hard. I’ve been through so much in my life, but creating has been so therapeutic for me. Talking to the camera and sharing my story has helped many other people and me. The process allowed me to heal and have the career I have today.
Whenever you’re honest about your path, it’s always hard. I’ve been through so much in my life, but creating has been so therapeutic for me. Talking to the camera and sharing my story has helped many other people and me. The process allowed me to heal and have the career I have today.
"Believing in myself is what helped me overcome my challenges and build community. However, what I learned through that is to take time for myself. Mental health and taking a break are so important. Especially if I want to be the change, I also have to be the action. Remember to take breaks, be inspired, and know what needs to change in our community. In my community, I feel like we’re not always included, so now I make it my responsibility to include everyone for us to be unified. If I don’t take that action, other people won’t either."
Staying Positive and Being True to Yourself
Brinkley, Natural Hair Content Creator
Courtesy of Brinkley
"In the beginning, being a content creator felt easy and came out of nowhere for me. As I put in more work, I felt like I had seen less engagement. I know it’s because I am a creator of color. These days I see those who aren't part of our community do less and blow up because TikTok is showing their content. However, Black creators are constantly getting shadowbanned or not ending up on the #ForYouPage. I have over 200,000 followers, and I’m only getting 1,000 views - something is not adding up. At some point, It was disheartening, and I thought about quitting because I was putting in so much work. I can’t give up on my online community.
"Being a hair content creator, representation is important. People want to see people who look like them. I’ve realized there aren’t many people who look like me on the platform, which explains the lack of views I’m receiving. If my beauty content gets pushed out to a white audience, it will probably not do well because the relatability isn’t there.
Being a hair content creator, representation is important. People want to see people who look like them. I’ve realized there aren’t many people who look like me on the platform, which explains the lack of views I’m receiving. If my beauty content gets pushed out to a white audience, it will probably not do well because the relatability isn’t there.
"My biggest challenge has been staying positive. There are times when I do get discouraged or receive hate comments that make me feel like giving up. These are the moments when it’s important to remember who you are and not let anyone’s opinions define you. The biggest lesson has been staying true to myself. When you’re true to yourself, you can be proud of what you accomplish."
Focusing on Your Joy and What You Can Control
Alyssa Francois, Beauty + Lifestyle Influencer
Courtesy of Alyssa Francois
"My journey as a content creator has been one of the most rewarding experiences, and I'm not referring to money. Being able to cultivate a community, learn from them and offer them value is one of the best feelings. However, so many challenges come with being a content creator of color. It often feels like I have to be working 1000 times harder to get the credit or pay I deserve from brands that reach out to partner with me. This could be discouraging, but I do my best to focus on what I can control. What is in my control is making sure the content I share about healing is inspiring, educational, enjoyable, attainable, and something one looks forward to doing because healing can be ugly at times.
What is in my control is making sure the content I share about healing is inspiring, educational, enjoyable, attainable, and something one looks forward to doing because healing can be ugly at times.
"After being diagnosed with endometriosis in 2021, I embarked on a holistic healing journey because I've learned that healing goes beyond the food on your plate and medications. Taking my community on my holistic healing journey has also helped me find new ways to become and feel beautiful from the inside first. I felt that I was making a positive impact as a Black content creator when women of all walks of life reached out to me, thanking me for sharing my endometriosis journey.
"I didn't know that simply opening up more about my autoimmune disease would be interesting to my community. Being a content creator and sharing my journey to help others brings me so much joy, and I want to make sure it continuously feels this way for me."
The Power of Pivoting and Being the Change You Want To See
Trennei Adams, Beauty Influencer
Courtesy of Trennei Adams
"As a woman of color who hasn’t been in this industry very long, my experience has been great! I love the community I’ve built and continue to grow. However, I felt a lack when building a true community on TikTok. I decided to pivot over to Instagram, started taking it seriously, and posting consistently. That’s when my community started to build and form. Something about Instagram feels more intimate to me; it has now become my main platform.
"I realized I was making more of an impact on Instagram as the messages would come through. Women were thanking me for inspiring them and being transparent. Those messages mean the world to me. People are drawn to what they relate to.More than anything, I believe the world needs more kind souls. Society has made it to where it’s rare to be both kind and attractive. I am here to show that you can be both.
People are drawn to what they relate to. More than anything, I believe the world needs more kind souls. Society has made it to where it’s rare to be both kind and attractive. I am here to show that you can be both.
"I’m unapologetic about being the change I want to see. I want to see more women cheering other women on. I want vulnerability. I want to see women evolving and stepping into their power, loving themselves fiercely and confidently while also holding space for the woman next to them!
"I want young Black girls to see that whatever they want to achieve in this lifetime is possible. You can be poised, classy, well-spoken, kind, educated, have nice things, go to therapy, etc. I want that to be normal for us Black women and not a shock! My platform exudes the change I would like to see more of."
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Featured image courtesy of Trennei Adams