Black creators, artists, and talent are slowly getting the recognition and virality they deserve. Though there is still a long way to go when it comes to representation and giving credit where it’s due, many have amassed massive success due to their work.
From comedy skits to makeup tutorials to educational content, many have found their niche on platforms like YouTube and TikTok.
The momentum and growth of these spaces throughout the years have helped catapult these creators into the entertainment industry and have become a launching pad for their careers as content creators. As a result, many have gained huge followings on their channels, created viral trends, been signed to networks or studios, and so much more. Essentially, they have paved the way for many others aspiring to do the same.
Here are some of the creators who honed their craft, used their voice, and made themselves known in digital media:
Quinta is a comedian, writer, producer, and actor. She first garnered attention back in 2014 after her hilarious skits, particularly those that were a part of the series “Girl Who Has Never Been on a Nice Date,” went viral on Instagram. After participating in a challenge video Buzzfeed was making, she worked for the company and produced relatable skits that quickly attracted fans when YouTubers were making history on the Internet and cultivating unprecedented fanbases and communities.
In 2016, she created and starred in two web series created with BuzzFeed Motion Pictures for YouTube Red and Verizon’s go90 platform. After quitting BuzzFeed two years later, she developed other successful web series and eventually landed her first network debut in HBO’s “A Black Lady Sketch Show.” Her latest project is ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” as a writer, co-executive producer, and star, becoming the first ABC show to quadruple its ratings since its premiere.
Kalen gained massive popularity after going viral with a food reaction video on Twitter back in 2017. His humorous reactions to strange recipes helped him gain thousands of followers and eventually caught the attention of Ellen DeGeneres.
Later on, what started as an invitation to be a guest on the show turned into a job offer that included red carpet correspondence for award shows and other segments.
Eventually, he got his own segment on the show called OMKalen, where he gave commentary on trending stories of the week. He’s also recently announced a new opportunity on Food Network. Though details haven’t been shared yet, we know he will be the host of a reboot. Alongside this, he’s had over 600 video views across his platforms and continues to grow with his food-related comedy and vibrant personality.
Like many others that started creating content during the pandemic, Canadian Kissy Duerré joined TikTok to talk about the issues that affect her as a Black trans woman and finding community.
By collaborating with other creators, she started talking about important topics surrounding racism, police brutality, and violence against trans and queer communities. At the same time, she’s created a space of positivity, acceptance, and self-awareness through her content.
Her audience steadily grew as she continued to advocate for and educate about LGBTQIA+ communities while incorporating lifestyle videos as well. With 670.7k followers and over 19.6 million likes on her posts, Kissy continues to grow across her channels by spreading awareness and positivity.
Dr. Joy Harden Bradford
Dr. Joy sits at the intersection of psychology and pop culture. She is a licensed psychologist, author, media contributor, and podcast host who has spent years cultivating accessible spaces for Black girls and women to delve into the world of mental wellness.
Featured in Forbes, TeenVogue, O, The Oprah Magazine, MTV, Huffington Post, and more, her online space and award-winning podcast called “Therapy for Black Girls” was created as a resource and community for Black girls and women. She has recently shared she’ll be publishing her first book, Sisterhood Heals with Random House, slated to release in 2023.
Beauty creator Dylan Davis creates stunning makeup looks that showcase his talent exceptionally. Fenty Beauty reposted one of his photos and, as a result, gave him the push he needed to delve fully into the industry.
In an interview with Nylon, Davis explained, “It wasn’t until Fenty reposted my work that I realized that I had something special to share with the world. The comments and love that I received that day pushed me to recognize my talents and to leave any doubt that I had in the past, strictly in the past.”
Since 2020 he’s been challenging the idea of masculinity through his work and has amassed over 2.3 million likes on his TikTok page and over 200,000 followers across his platforms. He’s most recently been selected as one of TikTok’s 2022 Trailblazers.
Disability activist and content creator Mya Pol has gained an enormous following on TikTok through her educational content and mood-boosting dancing on her wheelchair. As a self-described “wheelie lady,” she has raised awareness about the difficulties and stigmas disabled people face while learning how to dance through the pain. Thanks to her viral videos on the platform, she got to be a part of New York Fashion Week 2021, modeling clothes for PrettyLittleThing. With over 421,000 followers on TikTok and 9.9 million likes, she was selected as one of TikTok’s 2022 Black Trailblazers.
Khaby Lame has become the second-most followed creator on TikTok, with over 131 million followers and 2.1 billion likes on his content. The most impressive part of his success? He doesn’t speak in his videos! His wordless comedic reactions and sketches have made him a recognizable icon worldwide.
By stitching simple solutions to complicated hack videos, Khaby gained immense popularity organically and made history on the platform as a result. Celebrities and major influencers have invited him to collaborate, and he has walked the runway during Milan Fashion Week. Most recently, it was announced that he would be starring in a campaign for Hugo Boss alongside stars like Hailey Bieber, Kendall Jenner, and more.