This May, we at CLEVER are celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month this year by honoring and amplifying AAPI creators in the influencer marketing space. Four CLEVER creators have partnered with us to publish our first-ever AAPI Heritage Month blog series. These posts are intended to provide insight into how the influencer industry can support AAPI creators beyond just this month.
This week we're thrilled to feature Ovi Kabir!
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Hey, Y’all! My name is Ovi Kabir, I am a 24-year-old Bangladeshi American content creator based in Knoxville, Tennessee. Social advocacy and lifestyle content creation has always been a huge focus on my platform, but I would say I have only been working as a content creator for the last 18 months. After finding myself on a CBS television show in 2019, I was able to find a larger audience with my platform and grow a community from there! Since then, I have been fortunate enough to work with agencies like CLEVER (Which was one of my first agencies I had ever worked with) and eventually open my own marketing agency!
- How does your content reflect or celebrate AAPI Heritage month?
I think my content celebrates AAPI Heritage month by shining a light on the diversity that our AAPI community holds. We aren’t just monolithic like many times portrayed in different forms of media. Within the community, each person holds various customs, traditions, and mindsets all unique in their own special ways. Being Bangladeshi-American, the traditional food I eat to celebrate a holiday with my family differs from someone who is Chinese American, however, we both fall under the AAPI umbrella. So, while we hold many commonalities in our experiences, the stories we have to tell are different. That’s why I believe my content celebrates AAPI Heritage month by telling my story of how my parents and their parents led me to the life I live while also amplifying other AAPI content creators through posts and stories that allow them to tell the story of their heritage as well!
- What does it mean for you to be an AAPI content creator in the influencer marketing industry?
I take a lot of pride in the fact that I am an AAPI content creator in the influencer marketing industry, because for too long our community has been overlooked because they did not fit an ethnocentric viewpoint of what is dubbed to be “appealing” to a wide audience and now that is starting to change. In a time not long before, building a community on social platforms for AAPI content creators was a hurdle as they did not see the traditional growth that they might see from their peers who looked different than themselves. Moreover, to break into the influencer industry, companies and brands alike would not invest in a majority AAPI creators and instead overlooked them for other creators. Many other incredible content creators and I are living proof that if you invest in creators within the AAPI, you’re not just “diversifying” your content but also finding success in whatever metrics you’re trying to increase for your brand.
- As an influencer in the AAPI community, what message do you want brands and the influencer marketing industry to hear loud and clear?
As a content creator within the AAPI community, if there is any message I want brands and the influencer marketing industry to hear loud and clear is that when you work with a content creator within the AAPI community, realize that they’re not a monolith and we come from various backgrounds. Go the extra mile and find an AAPI influencer / content creator that truly matches the brand campaign and is able to relate to the product in question instead of one that simply checkmarks a box on what you may “need”. Additionally, a misconception I see too often is that many think that an AAPI content creator/ influencer’s audience and following might be too narrowed down and not be able to appeal to a wide audience. I have found this to be false because there is a wide swad of AAPI content creators and influencers that have built an incredibly diverse folIowing online that may actually represent a better demographic of the brand’s need than they initially thought. By holding onto these misconceptions, it makes it easier to overlook an AAPI content creator / influencer even when you might not mean to. My hope for the future is that AAPI content creators /influencers are judged on the same scale as their peers and an effort is made to make sure that brands aren’t just checking off a mark but understanding that the level of success an AAPI content creator /influencer can bring to a brand campaign is high.
- What is your advice for brands who want to continue to celebrate AAPI Heritage month beyond the month of May?
I would encourage all brands who want to continue to celebrate AAPI Heritage month beyond the month of May to do so and do that with your actions rather than your words. I believe it is dually important to use reaffirming words and statement for the AAPI community in times when needed, but actions always speak louder than words so when given the opportunity; use a diverse set of content creators and influencers to highlight your products and services. Successful brands have built up a large, diverse clientele and customer base so why shouldn’t your influencers and content creators represent that?
- Who are your favorite AAPI content creators we should follow?
Some incredible AAPI content creators that I think others should follow are @antorvingomes who shows off fashion in ways that celebrate South Asian culture in each piece of their content. As well as @sobia93 who is an amazing food content creator who creates beautiful cake creations that will simply make you want to grab them through your phone screen.
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