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9 Instagram Pages Building Positive Communities For Black Women

Check out these positive and impactful online communities empowering WOC everywhere.

Life & Travel

During this time of social distancing, we turn to social media for uplifting messages and motivation as a means of connection and empowerment. On Instagram, with the help of our Explore page, we discover new pages to follow and people to connect with on mutual interests, coordinated color schemes and clever captions. Check out these Instagram accounts below that are building positive and powerful online communities for women of color in fashion, media, mental health and more!

@KicksAndFros

Chief Kicks Officer Melissa Cantey is creating the perfect online community for women like myself who love urban streetwear and melanated skin. "My purpose for starting the Kicks & Fros Instagram page was because I wanted to inspire. I'm able to show women and girls around the world that they can be bosses and comfortable, too!" the CKO tells xoNecole. "This platform has women rocking two things—beautiful, creative sneakers and their beautiful, natural fros. It's taken us women a while to feel comfortable in both of those things. But now that we are, there's no stopping us. I'm committed to highlighting it as much as I can. It's an incredible thing to see; women are truly the dopest!"

"My mission is to empower, elevate, and educate," Cantey continues. "Women are feeling more comfortable taking risks with both their sneakers and natural hair. I want to empower more women to keep taking those risks by showing how fun it is to express ourselves with our hair and sneaker selection, and educate women who think sneakers aren't for them. We ALL have a sneaker style, so I help them find it. Kicks bring so much versatility to our personal style, and we can all rock them."

@CoolAssBlackWoman

Ashley Glaspie has created a safe space for melanation to live and breathe mental health and wellness while being authentically and unapologetically themselves. "I couldn't find a positive Instagram page/outlet that really fed my soul as a black Woman and nothing I could really identify with. I started #CoolAssBlackWoman because it was something that I could relate to and I knew there were other women like me who needed a support system," Glaspie shares about her purpose for founding the Instagram page.

"#CoolAssBlackWoman is a safe space for black women to be vulnerable. A space that welcomes the mental growth and wellness of black women. We knew the Instagram page would help spread self-awareness and self-care at the consumer's fingertips," Ashley continues about her passion for Black women. "A few ways we engage with the cool ass Black women on the @CoolAssBlackWoman Instagram page are through self-care challenges, the #CoolAssBlackWoman podcast and virtual conversations to stay connected during our new normal."

@BrownGyrlSocial

Brown Gyrl Social is the brainchild of Tola L. inspired by the interaction and engagement of the Gyrl Wonder audience. "A lot of women who didn't fall into the Gyrl Wonder age range saw the work that we were doing for young women and asked about a community for the 25 and up crew," Head Gyrl in Charge Tola shares about BGS. "From those inquiries, the Brown Gyrl Social brand was created for women of color who are well into their professional careers and are looking for an authentic, inclusive community and support system."

On the mission of her new social platform baby, Tola L. states, "Brown Gyrl Social is a community of black and brown women creating and reserving space for one another, sharing resources for success. Through cultural impetus, authentic connections, and transformative conversations Brown Gyrl Social centralizes overall wellness, financial literacy and professional development."

@TransparentBlackGirl

Transparent Black Girl was founded by entrepreneur, writer and wellness advocate Yasmine Jameelah with the intention of being a wellness company shattering unconventional stigmas around what it means to be well for Black women across the diaspora. "Since our inception, we've grown to include Transparent Black Guy, which speaks to wellness for Black men," shares the xoNecole contributor about her male-centric platform. "Through our social media content and events, we create spaces for our community to heal in an environment where they are the priority."

@KnowTheZodiac

I don't know about y'all, but since COVID, I've been getting on the up-and-up about my zodiac sign and quite frankly, I'm learning more and more about myself as a Sagittarius everyday. Thanks to one Instagram page specifically catered to astrological knowledge for Black people, founder and CEO of @ScorpioMystique and @KnowTheZodiac Dossé-Via Trenou have created engaging, shareable content for all to behold about emotions, habits and quirks of each sign. On the commencement of her purpose, Trenou shares, "I began KnowTheZodiac's Instagram page due to my passion for astrology and spirituality that I wanted to share with the world, particularly with black people seeking an astrology platform where they felt seen, valued and recognized."

Dossé-Via is not shy about her passion and wants to share it with her people to have access to the knowledge they crave about spirituality, astrology and alignment. "Astrology, like most forms of spirituality, originated in the Motherland. OG astrologers were African women who tracked their menstrual cycles based on the phases of the moon. Our rich history as interpreters of cosmic patterns shouldn't be erased, but rather amplified, and KnowTheZodiac aims to do that," she adds, dropping knowledge. "Our team of astrologers are all women of color, and the media we use on our pages highlights the magic and melanin that exists within our community. Astrology is about getting to the root of who one is, and KnowTheZodiac's mission serves as a clear reminder that black women are the source from which life is derived."

@GrownAssBlackWoman

Founder and lead editor Narcisse Burchell is a woman of many hats, talents and sophistications - including the brains and beauty behind @GrownAssBlackWoman, where Black women who are #GROWNAF can engage in grown folk business while leaving the children to play out-back. "I created Grown Ass Black Woman after being stood up by all of my 'homegirls' for my bachelorette party and a long and lonely battle with depression. I needed to meet and bond with some real and ride or die women. I knew that I wasn't the only woman who needed to feel like she mattered," she shares with xoNecole.

"GABW was born to the multifaceted Proverbs 31 woman who enjoys taco Tuesdays, trap music and the occasional midnight jigga train to Georgia. Women want and need to be heard. Even more importantly, listened to. Without judgment. Without shame. We needed love. We needed laughter. We needed acceptance. We needed a space to snatch off our wigs after a long day of being Superwoman but still grow...together."

On her mission and engagement on her growing Instagram community, Narcisse says, "Life is hard and the answers we're seeking aren't always available in that group text of 4-5 friends who've never dealt with what we're going through. Grown Ass Black Woman provides a pool of passion-filled women from all ages and walks of life to weigh in, inspire and support in a space that encourages authenticity, vulnerability and transparency. Our experiences connect us to each other, our stories empower the next and this is where your voice gets heard."

@EpicFabGirl

For the dope Christian baddie looking to connect with other like-minded spirits, build profitable brands and grow their faith, then Epic Fab Girl is the online community for you! "We started Epic Fab Girl's Instagram after launching our blog in 2016 with a goal to be a community to help Christian women fearlessly pursue their purpose," founder and CEO Candace Junée shares.

"Epic Fab Girl's platform is made for Go-Getters - a place where faith and entrepreneurship collide for the modern-day Christian woman. We encourage our community to have a relationship with God over religion, while never forgetting that we are not 'self-made' entrepreneurs, rather we are building profitable brands with the help of a supportive community of women and God by our side," Junée continues to clarify about the mission and vision of how the brand engages with dope women of color. "We provide our community with the tools to build profitable brands, grow their faith, and connect with other women through our initiatives such as our annual Go-Getter Conference and the Go-Getter Confidential Virtual Summit."

@TheQueenSessions

What do you get when you take a woman who is passionate about the sociopolitical state of women of color and a social media handle? You get Autumn Myers, the founder and editor-in-chief of The Queen Sessions. As the former lead writer and current digital lead for America Hates US, Autumn gave birth to @TheQueenSessions through her love of content creation and media strategy to empower women of color. "I recognized that we want to go to a place that genuinely makes us feel good and inspired. So, once I started showcasing inspiring clips, memes, and women we aspire to be - some of who don't receive enough shine - I noticed a shift in interest which, overall, I love. To continually drop gems and highlight WOC who are impacting the world with their gifts," tells Autumn.

The editor-in-chief concludes, "We are now working on producing digital segments where we interview different queens and provide self-growth tips. Overall, the platform is growing and designed to impact women of color to reach their goals and feel heard."

@GirlsWhoListen

Instagram provides a really unique platform for brands like Girls Who Listen (GWL), founded by CEO Kadijat Salawudeen, to build an authentic fanbase. Girls Who Listen is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting female creators in the entertainment space that hosts a series of events such as panels, mingling mixers, songwriting sessions, and compile an internal networking database for upcoming artists and media professionals who aim to learn more about entertainment industries.

"GWL is actually an extension of Industry News Magazine (INM), a digital platform for keeping up with the latest music, news and fashion trends," tells Kadijat. "It wasn't enough for my team and I to feature local up-and-coming creatives, we felt it was necessary to curate this tight knit community for the ladies - sorry boys." GWL is actively engaging with dope women of color by partnering with brands that align with their mission and hosting giveaways and contests. "We also began curating a weekly Instagram series called '#LockedIn.' For the first two weeks we were able to feature Music Choice video producer Chazeen and Rebekah Espinosa (°1824 Director at Universal Music Group). Weekly, viewers can engage with our featured guests and really tap into their expertise as executives and creatives."

Featured image by Shutterstock

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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