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It doesn’t need to be February to highlight Black talent! We’d like to take this opportunity to shout out some of the top Black YouTubers you should watch, support, and collaborate with all year long.
Shayla Mitchell is most well known for her glamorous makeup tutorials on YouTube and her gorgeous selfies on Instagram.
Her first encounter with makeup was during her time at MAC where she worked while she was in college at Arizona State. However, during this time she was also trying to make a name for herself via freelancing as a makeup artist after her manager encouraged her to do so. After marketing herself on YouTube and Instagram for years, Mitchell has recently collaborated with Maybelline to launch three custom shades of their Colossal Big Shot Mascara and a six-shade eyeshadow palette called The City Mini eyeshadow palette.
Since then she has released a whole collection of seven new beauty products with Colourpop (three new lipsticks, two highlighters, a 16-pan palette, and lip gloss) and has accumulated 756K subscribers on YouTube and 2.8 million followers on Instagram.
Mitchell has dedicated her career to talking about all things makeup, female empowerment, her wedding, fitness, and fashion on her YouTube Channel, as well as posting travel vlogs in partnership with brands like Revolve and other influencers.
Now that travel is opening a little, check out this blog to see what brands should remember when running travel campaigns with influencers like Shayla.
2. Jackie Aina
The daughter of African immigrant parents, Jackie Aina has reached success in the most untraditional of ways. She dropped out of college, joined the military, got married at 20, and then got divorced at 21, and shortly after made the decision to start her own YouTube channel and start making videos about beauty. Since then she has collaborated with Anastasia Beverly Hills on a 14-shade eyeshadow palette for women of all shades, a feat that was of paramount importance to her as a woman of color with a platform in the beauty industry, and currently owns her own candle company called FORVR MOOD, which can be found at Sephora.
What started out as her sharing stories about her divorce, plastic surgery, and her concerns about the lack of inclusivity in the beauty industry has evolved into a platform full of videos oozing with personality, so much so that she has her own theme song called “JackieJackieJackie“. She has amassed 3.57 million subscribers on YouTube, 1.8 million followers on Instagram, and 1.2 million followers on TikTok. She has also worked with popular brands like Pat McGrath and Dermologica and has been honored with the following recognitions: NAACP’s YouTuber of the Year, WWD’s Influencer of the Year, and a nominee for the People’s Choice Awards’ Best Beauty Influencer.
It is evident that she is a force to be reckoned with and if it wasn’t clear enough based on all the aforementioned, she is definitely someone that should be on everyone’s radar.
3. Nyma Tang
Nyma Tang is one of the Black Youtubers turned beauty influencers who first started her channel with the goal of encouraging women with dark complexions like her to embrace their beauty and find makeup that works for them through her “The Darkest Shade” series on her platform. When she first got on YouTube she realized she couldn’t find any makeup tutorials on products for women with her skin tone, only makeup tutorials for white women. This frustrated her and so she began not only sharing her story about being bullied growing up for the color of her skin tone but also making in-depth reviews with constructive criticism on how brands should improve their products.
For years now she has given detailed reviews about makeup products, spreading the word about whether or not brands’ products are as inclusive as they claim to be. Nyma has called on beauty brands to diversify their shade ranges and also cater to a demographic that is often overseen by heritage brand companies that have been in the game for years.
Today Tang boasts 1.35 million subscribers on YouTube and 497K followers on Instagram. Despite her level of success she has not faltered on her original mission to continue spreading awareness about the biggest issues facing dark skinned women and fighting for black women to be part of the decision-making process when brands are creating and marketing towards black women.
4. Patricia Bright
Patricia Bright is a 33-year-old fashion and beauty vlogger who started out as a banker and is now an influencer with over 2.6 million subscribers on YouTube and 1.2 million Instagram followers. She first started making videos while she was still enrolled in university. Her journey with beauty began in an unconventional way as she started posting on a forum website similar to Reddit that was called Fotki, sharing her hair and makeup with other women on the platform.
She started off filming YouTube tutorials in the bathroom quietly because she didn’t want her roommates to know she was creating content. It wasn’t until a coworker at Merrill Lynch discovered her side hobby that the people around her found out what she was doing and shamed her to the point that she ended up shutting down her YouTube for a while.
After months of not using it, Bright eventually came back to her channel and started vlogging again due to the support of her family, and, after three years of vlogging in secret while working at Deloitte, she finally resigned and began to do YouTube full-time.
Since then, Bright has become one of the most popular influencers to date and has forged her path as a businesswoman fearlessly, constantly posting videos about fashion, makeup, her personal life, and business tips she has picked up over the years during her time navigating the digital space.
She has also launched an online business school called The Break Platform for aspiring bloggers and has developed skincare products with the popular beauty brand Coty. Today The Break Platform provides millions of people with ten modules with detailed practical steps on building a social media or online product-based business, such as incorporation to taxes to setting up a business account.
She has also collaborated with brands like Bobbi Brown and has partnered with MAC to create her own lipstick called Patty B that came out in April of 2018. However, Bright has said she is nowhere near where she aspires to be in the future as one of Britain’s most successful social media stars. Her goal is to ultimately expand on the current content she’s making and help to demystify the elements that go into becoming successful.
5. Alissa Ashley
Alissa Ashley is an Oakland-born YouTuber based in California. She is best known for her makeup tutorials and vlogs on her YouTube channel and most recently has expanded her platform via the documentation of her health/fitness journey. She is also known as a self-taught photographer who has worked for brands like Fenty, Youth to the People, and editorials like GQ and InStyle Mag
The reason she started her channel back in 2014 goes back to her love for makeup that grew out of growing up watching her mother apply her makeup every day to go work a cosmetic retail job. Since then she has signed with Abrams Artists Agency and has garnered over 2 million subscribers on YouTube and 1.1 million followers on Instagram.
As mentioned before, Alissa started her fitness journey at the beginning of the pandemic and has been sharing her journey on social media since the very beginning, posting workout routines, gym clothes hauls and recommendations, body updates, as well as grocery hauls.
Also, a fun fact about Alissa is that she has a twin sister who is also on YouTube and is well known for posting makeup tutorials, weekly vlogs, and transparent dating life updates. Her name is Arnell and she can be found on YouTube under arnellarmon and on Instagram under the user @arnell.armon.
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Raye Boyce started out on YouTube and Tumblr as a teenager looking to learn more about makeup whilst posting her own makeup tutorials and today she has become a superstar makeup artist who has worked with brands like Pantene, Makeup Forever, and MAC.
Her career really took off when her husband purchased a camera for her because she wanted to get into photography. After watching a ton of videos on YouTube and receiving encouragement from other creators who told her to start her own channel, she made her very first video and the rest was history.
To her fans, she has become more than just a beauty guru but also a counselor in the sense that she is constantly giving people advice on how to market themselves as creatives. Over the last nine years, she has been gracing the internet with makeup tutorials, personal blogs, beauty tips, and affordable product recommendations. Additionally, Boyce has been very vocal about the lack of opportunities she had when she was first starting out and how difficult the digital space makes it for Black YouTubers and women of color on all platforms to succeed.
Today Boyce has reached 1.92 million subscribers on YouTube and 1.5 million followers on Instagram and continues to grow her audience via her authentic videos about herself, her family, her makeup routine, and her favorite beauty products.
7. Rickey Thompson
Before becoming one of the top Black YouTubers, Rickey Thompson actually started out on Vine making six-second videos, a platform he grew to have 2.5 million followers on before it got discontinued.
Instead of letting this be the end of his career, Thompson got creative and created his own YouTube channel in 2013 where he started posting comedy skits. Although he was already receiving a lot of support, his career didn’t truly take off until Kylie Jenner came across one of his videos and shared it with her followers.
After the aforementioned exposure, Thompson gained over 1.23M subscribers and over 58.3K views on his YouTube channel and has expanded beyond comedy skits to making vlogs and posting rants, storytimes, and fashion look books, which in turn has grown his audience exponentially.
Thompson has also dedicated his channel to more serious topics such as acne, his journey with his own sexuality, and slowly becoming more confident after years of being bullied when he was a child.
Additionally, he has walked for Alexander Wang and modeled for Calvin Klein in a #MYCALVINS promo video. As if that wasn’t impressive enough he has modeled in H&M’s ‘Stay True, Stay You’ Pride campaign alongside activist and actress Laverne Cox and has modeled for Coach, the iconic leather goods giant.
Overall, it is safe to say that he has become a full-blown celebrity across social media with 927K followers on Twitter, 5.2 million followers on Instagram, and 1.2 million subscribers on YouTube. Rickey Thompson’s relatability has brought him a very long way since he started out making funny videos on Vine and judging by the trajectory of his career, it is bound to take him even further.
Relatability is a new buzzword in influencer marketing. Read more about how influencers and audiences rate and redefine relatability here.
8. LaBeautyologist – The Golden Rx
Nayamka Roberts-Smith is the daughter of Jamaican parents raised in upstate New York where her mom worked as a cosmetologist. Through watching her mom, she became very interested in the world of cosmetology, and by the time she was in high school, she was giving her friends makeovers and cosmetology advice.
Today she is a licensed esthetician and owner of the Golden Rx Skin Studio in Beverly Hills where she offers services like vagina facials, waxing, and regular facials. When she’s not at work she’s making skincare advice more accessible on YouTube, most well known for being the creator of the 60 second rule that encourages washing one’s face for a minute straight to ensure thorough cleansing.
Aside from being trusted by Beverly Hills finest, she has also amassed 133K followers on Instagram and 471K subscribers on YouTube. Her videos boast the following titles: “Morning Skincare Routine,” “How To Protect Skin from Brutal, Dry Winter Air w/ Cerave,” and “Is Fragrance in Skincare Really That Bad?,” among others.
Roberts-Smith’s ultimate goal among Black YouTubers and online is to serve as a symbol of representation for people who look like her and don’t necessarily feel worthy of love due to the media and culture’s lack of appreciation for black and brown people in the beauty space and in the general digital space.
9. Samantha Maria
Samantha Maria is a London-based YouTuber who started her career as a fashion stylist graduate turned designer. In 2009, at the age of 25 she began posting videos about her two loves, beauty and fashion, and today she has launched a brand with her boyfriend called Novem & Knightly and has over 1 million YouTube subscribers.
Initially, her content primarily focused on street style, relationship talk, elitism in fashion, and the democratization of fashion. Today Sammi still explores all of these topics but has also added addressing issues having to do with sex education, co-parenting, her sexuality, skincare, and money-saving tips, to her repertoire.
Today she has gained 1.75 million subscribers on YouTube and has over 437K followers on Instagram. She is committed to making fashion more accessible for everyone as well as sharing tidbits about her life, especially as a mother. Additionally, she recently launched her own jewelry brand of handcrafted 925-sterling silver and then plated with either rhodium, 24-karat yellow gold, or rose gold. Her brand uses recycled 24-karat, the purest gold available, with a thickness of 2.5-5 microns, because the company is set on making pieces that last.
10. Tabitha Brown
Tabitha Brown is a vegan Youtuber who went viral on Tiktok after people took a liking to the comfort they got out of watching her cook and her words of positivity during the pandemic. She has become popular for dismantling the idea that vegan food is flavorless, more specifically vegan soul food.
However, Brown did not always think she was gonna catch her big break on social media. The first video she ever recorded was one she took on her lunch break as an Uber Driver after stopping at a Whole Foods and decided to film a review of her vegan sandwich.
Since then her reach has expanded way beyond her 729K subscribers on YouTube onto Tiktok where she currently has 4.9 million followers. Brown is constantly posting on both platforms about her life, her faith, her love for food, and her favorite vegan recipes. Her recent YouTube series “Tab Time” invites celebrities, creators, and change-makers to have fun while discussing topics like friendship, music, and more.
Today she is a New York Times #1 Best Seller for her book titled Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business): Finding Our Way to Joy, Love, and Freedom, has been dubbed “America’s Mom,” has been cast in the Showtime show Chi, and has been invited on talk shows like Ellen to The Drew Barrymore Show.