We at CLEVER are celebrating Black History Month this year by honoring and amplifying Black creators in the influencer marketing space. Four CLEVER creators have partnered with us to publish our first-ever Black History Month blog series. These posts are intended to provide insight into how the influencer industry can support Black creators this February and throughout the year.
Our first post comes from CLEVER creator, Melinda Watts.
Melinda's Social Channels:
It’s Black History Month, y’all!
Every February, we take a month to celebrate the accomplishments of the Black community throughout American history. While this is something many of us celebrate year-round, this month is a time to elevate Black voices and platforms!
I’ve noticed a lot of new faces on my Instagram & blog, so I wanted to take a minute to reintroduce myself and talk a little about what it’s like to be a Black blogger, influencer, and content creator!
Hello! I’m Melinda! I’m a wife & mom of 4 little ones. I’m a worship leader at my church here in Sacramento, California. I’m from New Jersey originally & I’ve definitely got the Jersey ‘tude (and I’m proud of it)!
I started my life as a content creator 5 years ago. A brand reached out to me about a baby carrier and the rest is history! I’ve learned so much about this ever-changing business of being a content creator over the years. It’s work I never thought I would love this much, but it’s seriously so much fun and I’m so grateful for this space that The Lord’s blessed me with!
I believe that we are all placed where we should be when we should be there. I truly believe that I’ve been given this platform in this season so I am able to speak truth into the world.
As a Black woman in America, there are a lot of things I experience that other women in the blogger community don’t. It is of the utmost importance to me that I speak out on issues that matter to me and people that look like me.
People ask me often if I’m ever hesitant to post about social issues and to be honest, I’m not. I don’t publicly speak out on every single thing that comes across the news feed, but because I am myself on and off my grid, I’m never too worried. I try to make it a point to speak out on issues from a place of love and with the attitude of Jesus.
Over the last couple of years of madness, I’ve been able to create a space where my followers feel safe & heard. The comment section of my posts are rarely volatile - I don’t allow that kind of energy! I’m all for civil disagreement, but what we won’t be doing is going back and forth in a nasty way. And I think my followers appreciate that!
One thing I wish the influencer marketing industry really knew about is the VALUE of Black creators! Let’s be real - Black people are the tastemakers of culture. We (as a collective community) have been creating and determining what is HOT and what is NOT for decades - from music to fashion to food and everything in between! Black influencers are POWERFUL and the Black dollar is IMPACTFUL. There’s no question about it and it’s been proven time and time again. I want nothing more than the industry to hear that, include Black influencers in the conversation, and compensate us accordingly.
There are so many Black content creators that are killing the game right now! People like Tash Haynes - who is an amazing photographer and lifestyle & travel blogger with 3 sweet baby girls! And Ruthie Ridley, a podcaster & full time blogger who is taking the fashion space by storm. I’m so inspired by Dayna Bolden, who has created this sweet spot of fitness, fashion, and motherhood and is an all-around boss! And then there’s Hayet Rida, who is as smart as she is beautiful and radiates so much joy and positivity.
A common misconception is that this industry is oversaturated with creators, but it’s really not! There’s room for everyone at the table! Each and every one of us has a niche or an area that they love or feel passionately about! My hope is that EVERYONE, no matter their skin color, would have the same opportunities to represent brands. It’s a new day and the time is now!
(Chobani Complete campaign)
(Pampers 360° FIT campaign)
(First Alert Fire Prevention US 2020 campaign)