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
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
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
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
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
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
This post is in partnership with Amgen.
The seemingly simple task of taking a breath is something most of us don’t think twice about. But for people who live with severe asthma, breathing does not always come easily. Asthma, a chronic respiratory condition that inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs, affects millions of people worldwide – 5-10% of which live with severe asthma. Severe asthma is a chronic and lifelong condition that is unpredictable and can be difficult to manage. Though often invisible to the rest of the world, severe asthma is a not-so-silent companion for those who live with it, often interrupting schedules and impacting day-to-day life.
Among the many individuals who battle severe asthma, Black women face a unique set of challenges. It's not uncommon for us to go years without a proper diagnosis, and finding the right treatment often requires some trial and error. Thankfully, all hope is not lost for those who may be fighting to get their severe asthma under control. We spoke with Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq. and Jania Watson, two inspiring Black women who have been living with severe asthma and have found strength, resilience, and a sense of purpose in their journeys.
Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq.
Juanita Ingram has a resume that would make anyone’s jaw drop. On top of being recently crowned Mrs. Universe, she’s also an accomplished attorney, filmmaker, and philanthropist. From the outside, it seems there’s nothing this talented woman won’t try, and likely succeed at. In her everyday life, however, Juanita exercises a lot more caution. From a young age, Juanita has struggled with severe asthma. Her symptoms were always exacerbated by common illnesses like a cold or flu. “I've heard these stories of my breathing struggles, but I remember distinctly when I was younger not being able to breathe every time I got a virus,” says Ingram. “I remember missing a lot of school and crying a lot because asthma is painful. I [was taken] to see my doctor often if I got sick with anything so I was hypervigilant as a child, and I still am.”
Today, Juanita says her symptoms are best managed when she’s working closely with her care team, avoiding getting sick and staying ahead of any symptoms. Ingram said she’s been blessed with skilled doctors who are just as vigilant of her symptoms as she is. While competing in the Mrs. Universe competition, Juanita took extra care to stay clear of other competitors to ensure she didn’t catch a cold or virus that would trigger her severe asthma. “I would stand off to the side and sometimes that could be taken as ‘oh, she thinks she's better than everybody else.’ But if I get sick during a pageant, I'm done. I had to compete with that in mind because my sickness doesn't look like everybody else's sickness.”
Even when her symptoms are under control, living with severe asthma still presents challenges. Juanita relies on her strong support system to overcome the hurdles caused by a lack of understanding from the public, “I think that there's a lot of lack of awareness about how serious severe asthma is. I would [also] tell women to advocate and to trust their intuition and not to allow someone to dismiss what you're experiencing.”
Jania, a content creator from Atlanta, Georgia, has been living with severe asthma for many years. Thanks to early testing by asthma specialists, Jania was diagnosed with severe asthma as a child after experiencing frequent flare-ups and challenges in her day-to-day life. “I specifically remember, I was starting school, and we were moving into a new house. One of the triggers for me and my younger sister at the time were certain types of carpets. We had just moved into this new house and within weeks of us being there, my parents literally had to pay for all new carpet in the house.”
As Jania grew older, she was suffering from fewer flare-ups and thought her asthma was well under control. However, a trip back to her doctor during high school revealed that her severe asthma was affecting her more than she realized. “That was the first time in a long time I had to do a breathing test,” she describes. “The doctor had me take a deep breath in and blow into a machine to test my breathing. They told me to blow as hard as I could. And I was doing it. I was giving everything I got. [My dad and the doctor] were looking at me like ‘girl, stop playing.’ And at that point [it confirmed] I still have severe asthma because I've given it all I got. It doesn't really go away, but I just learned how to help manage it better.”
Jania recognizes that people who aren’t living with asthma, may not understand the disease and mistake it for something less serious. Or there could be others who think their symptoms are minor, and not worth bringing up. So, for Jania, communicating with others about her diagnosis is key. “Having severe asthma [flare-ups] in some cases looks very similar to being out of shape,” she said. “But this is a chronic illness that I was born with. This is just something that I live with that I've been dealing with. And I think it's important for people to know because that determines the next steps. [They might ask] ‘Do you need a bottle of water, or do you need an inhaler? Do you need to take a break, or do we need to take you to the hospital?’ So, I think letting the people around you know what's going on, just in case anything were to happen plays a lot into it as well.”
Like Juanita, Jania’s journey has been marked by ups and downs, but she remains an unwavering advocate for asthma awareness and support within the Black community. She hopes that her story can be an inspiration to other women with asthma who may not yet have their symptoms under control. “There's still life to be lived outside of having severe asthma. It is always going to be there, but it's not meant to stop you from living your life. That’s why learning how to manage it and also having that support system around you, is so important.”
By sharing their journeys, Juanita and Jania hope to encourage others to embrace their conditions, obtain a proper management plan from a doctor or asthma specialist like a pulmonologist or allergist, and contribute to the improvement of asthma awareness and support, not only within the Black community, but for all individuals living with severe asthma.
Read more stories from others like Juanita and Jania on Amgen.com, or visit Uncontrolled Asthma In Black Women | BREAK THE CYCLE to find support and resources.
Last night, the 2024 Golden Globes took over the internet, with attendees making chic fashion statements and having giddy moments on the red carpet and during the show. Issa Rae had the cutest moment with Recess Therapy, a media outlet where kids ask questions. The little girls gushed over Issa playing President Barbie in the Barbie movie, and Issa was very delighted. Another red carpet moment included Sheryl Lee Ralph being surprised after seeing Lenny Kravitz (really, who can blame her) behind her when she spun around to show off her dress. When it came to the fashions, the celebs shut it down. Some standouts include Abbott Elementarystars Janelle James and Tyler James Williams, The Color Purple star Colman Domingo, Skai Jackson, and Oprah Winfrey.
But that wasn't the only ceremony that took place over the weekend. The Creative Arts Emmys also held its ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday, and it included some of our faves taking home the beloved trophy. Check out the winners from both the Golden Globes and Creative Arts Emmys:
Ayo Edebiri won her first Golden Globe for her role in The Bear in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series--Musical or Comedy category. The actress was visibly nervous as she gave her acceptance speech and thanked everyone from her The Bear family, her real family, and even "manager assistants." "The people who answer my emails, y'all are real ones," she said.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Keke Palmer was all smiles after winning an Emmy for Outstanding Host for a Game Show for NBC’s Password. She took to Instagram to share the exciting news. "Couldn’t do it without you @jimmyfallon! I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be apart of such a classic game show such as Password. It’s a true honor, I won! I’m excited, BOOTS! Thank you to the @televisionacad ✨ ," she wrote. The mom of one is the first woman in 15 years to win that category.
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Storm Reid took home an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress In a Drama Series for The Last of Us. The actress expressed how grateful she was in an Instagram post. "i’m still at a loss for words and utterly astounded. thank y’all for the love. thank you to everyone who has been part of my journey and poured into me. thank you for allowing me to be y’all’s Riley. I’m forever indebted and honored. i love you, mommy! Matthew 17:20," she wrote.
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Legendary actress Jasmine Guy won her first Emmy after being nominated for the first time. The A Different Worldalum took home the Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Short-form Comedy or Drama Series for Chronicles Of Jessica Wu. “I appreciate that my creative community has kept me in their loving arms,” she said via Variety.
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Feature images by Gilbert Flores/Golden Globes 2024/Golden Globes 2024 via Getty Images, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images