Influencer marketing has become a digital marketing strategy that has proven effective in hitting brand goals and objectives, and Black influencers are among those who have shaped today’s digital world.
Influencer marketing has become a crowd-favorite strategy due to the unquestionable power it holds in the realms of advertising and marketing. Due to very tight competition, brands initially found it challenging to get attention on the Internet, while many consumers grew skeptical of self-promoting brands. This challenge compelled brands and marketing professionals to maximize and indulge in influencer marketing.
As influencer marketing became popular, a lot of people strived to become (and eventually became) influencers. As a result, we now have influencers from different countries, races, and cultures across multiple niches on every social media platform. Black influencers included.
In this article, we have curated some of the best Black social media influencers who have made their mark and spread their influence.
Who are the top black influencers today?
With the increased use of influencer marketing comes the popularity of influencers. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Here are the top Black influencers you should know about.
Marques Brownlee, known online as MKBHD, is a technology and software YouTube influencer famous for his instructional videos, reviews, and Waveform podcasts. He was featured on the Forbes 30 under 30 in 2020 and received a Creator of The Decade Shorty award in 2018.
MKBHD is among the most prominent Black influencers in the tech community, amassing over 17 million YouTube subscribers and multiple campaigns and brand collaborations.
While his primary platform is YouTube, MKBHD has over six million followers on Twitter and four million on Instagram.
Many social media personalities have already made a name for themselves as models and celebrities before the social media influencer fad, and the ‘Smize’ queen Tyra Banks is one of them. Tyra is a prominent fashion model and TV personality who has become one of the most influential Black fashion influencers.
Tyra started her modeling career at 15 and became the first-ever African-American model to strut Victoria’s Secret runway from 1997 to 2005. She furthered her career by hosting and producing the popular modeling reality show America’s Next Top Model.
She has always been a celebrated influencer, even before “influencer” became a buzzword, and now enjoys the support of over seven million Instagram followers.
With more than five million followers on TikTok and four million on Instagram, Tabitha Brown is one of the famous Black influencers in the food and lifestyle niches.
Many people know Tabitha for her comedic food and cooking videos and her calm demeanor. She is most active on TikTok, sharing inspirational content and vegan food recipes. She also makes an effort to reveal to her audience what plant-based living really is.
Aside from her social media video and photo content, Tabitha hosts the “Fridays with Tab and Chance” podcast with her husband, Chance Brown.
Massiel Indhira Arias is one of the top Black fitness influencers, earning a follower count of two million on Instagram and over 300K on TikTok.
Formerly known as Mankofit, Massy Arias is one of more popular Black Instagram influencers and Certified Personal Trainer whose content focuses on health and fitness. She sets an example of overcoming the struggles of adapting to a healthy and active lifestyle and aims to inspire others to achieve the same lifestyle and improve their lives.
Her dedication and passion for leading a healthy life propelled her to her current status as a notable influencer and social media fitness guru. She has scored multiple brand endorsements and collaborations, a supplement line, and a fitness app.
A vocal champion of inclusivity and diversity in the cosmetic industry, Jackie Aina is one of the Black influencers we definitely look up to. This beauty vlogger is one of the voices for the visibility of black men and women in the beauty market and industry.
She is widely known for challenging beauty brands to diversify their products and create more shades for people with dark complexions. As a result, brands, including Fenty Beauty, Too Faced, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Sephora, e.l.f. Cosmetics and Sigma Beauty heeded her call and collaborated with her on multiple campaigns.
In 2018, Jackie Aina was recognized as “YouTuber of The Year” during the 49th NAACP Image Awards, making her a worthy addition to our list of top Black influencers to follow.
Another one of the notable Black influencers in the beauty and fashion industry is Shayla Mitchell, known online as MakeupShayla. She is an actively growing influencer who uses her platform as an avenue to support and pave the way for the Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in the digital world.
Shayla’s popularity allowed her to work with big brands in the beauty industry, including Laura Mercier, NARS, Mac, Buxom, Secret, and Estee Lauder. Her grit and dedication brought her to great heights and allowed her to attain prestigious recognitions, such as the Essence Best in Black Beauty Awards 2020: Blogger of The Year.
NYC-based influencer Aaliyah Jay is among today’s best Black influencers in the beauty and fashion industry. Aaliyah launched her YouTube influencer career in 2011 at 16, uploading makeup tutorials and reviews. Since then, she gradually gained a steady audience.
Aaliyah’s fame allowed her to accumulate over one million subscribers on YouTube and two million on Instagram. Brands like Maybelline New York, Fashion Nova, Pretty Little Thing, and Boohoo acknowledged her potential as an influencer and collaborated with her.
There are influencers in every niche, and Misty Danielle Copeland belongs to the dance industry.
Misty is a professional African-American ballerina and one of the most unique Black influencers to have ever existed today.
Misty is a dedicated ballet dancer, always on top of her game. Her efforts have paid off as she became the first Black woman to become American Ballet Theatre’s principal dancer. Since then, major athletic brands, like Under Armour, have gone after her for collaboration.
Luka Sabbat is among the in-demand Gen Z Black influencers today. He is a fashion influencer, model, actor, and entrepreneur who has worked with several big names, including YEEZY, Hugo Boss, and Dolce & Gabbana. As a young boy, Luka’s parents exposed him to the fashion industry, with his father designing clothes in Paris and his mother working as a fashion stylist for John Galliano.
So, we can trust that Luka knows the ins and outs of the industry and expect that he is an expert in his niche. His fame amassed him over four million Instagram followers.
Luka starred in multiple shows and films, such as the 2018 Grown-ish, 2019 The Dead Don’t Die, and 2022 Sharp Stick. The Cut hails Luka Sabbat as Gen Z’s “It Boy,” stating that the It Girl of 2019 is a boy.
Last but definitely not least on our best Black influencers list is the Senegalese-born Italian social media phenomenon Khabane Lame, better known online as Khaby Lame.
After being laid off from his factory worker job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Khaby decided to create humorous content that subtly mocks exaggerated and overly complicated “life hack” skills without saying a word and followed by his trademark gesture. From there, Khaby Lame became the social media star we know today.
In 2021, he became Italy’s most-followed TikTok creator, surpassing Addison Rae as the second most-followed TikToker overall. Then, in June 2022, he became the most-followed TikTok influencer, surpassing Charli D’Amelio.
Khaby’s rise to stardom is entirely organic, unlike most social media stars today, making brands want to work with him even more. He partnered with Hugo Boss for the brand’s #BeYourOwnBoss campaign and was added as a Fortnite: Battle Royale skin.
The influencer’s success landed him a spot in Forbes’ 30 under 30 and Fortune’s 40 under 40.
You can work with an influencer marketing agency to help you pitch what you can offer to different brands if you want to become an influencer yourself. You may start by checking out our The Influence Agency review.
How to find Black influencers?
If you want to look for Black influencers, this article is an excellent springboard before venturing into the Internet’s vast resources.
If you are a marketing professional or a brand owner wanting to source the right Black influencers for your marketing campaigns, it would be reasonable to work with a reputable influencer marketing agency. These agencies have professionals and experts who know your brand needs and the influencer suitable for those needs.
For starters, you can check out our Influencer Matchmaker review.
Is Influencer Marketing Effective?
As mentioned in the earlier portion of this article, influencer marketing ballooned due to its effect on the market. Statistics show that consumers lean toward products advertised by influencers, regardless if they are Black influencers.
Here are some of the reasons why brands invest in influencer marketing:
Influencers have the power to drive amplified brand awareness and increase brand exposure, owing to their wide range of followers. When influencers endorse a brand, their followers will likely take positive action.
Endorsements coming from credible influencers are deemed authentic, so the audience trusts the influencers and is encouraged or compelled to buy the endorsed products or services. Working with the right influencers will help your brand stand out, cut through the noise, and attract their followers, resulting in increased visibility and a springboard for meaningful online conversations.
Out of the meaningful online conversations spring forth engagement.
Audience engagement, such as likes and comments, can be a struggle, especially if you still have an unestablished following. Hence, influencer marketing can be of tremendous help.
Collaborating with the right influencer may improve your content’s quality, making it more user-centric to drive engagement. In addition, if an influencer shares your content on their platform, their audience will most likely engage with it. If you’re lucky, the influencer’s audience may tag their friends, increasing your reach.
The goal of any business is to earn profit, but it can be a struggle without a decent number of consumers. Today’s consumers have become wary of the products they use and brands they support, and often spend time researching the brands and products online.
Influencers hold the influence to drive consumers to your business, as these consumers often trust the recommendations of their favorite influencers. You can use this to influence your target market’s purchase decisions and drive conversion.
Influencer marketing has a clean track record of effectively acquiring customers, generating more leads for a brand, and driving better sales.
Black influencers are powerful influencers
Many Black influencers often use their platform to rally behind people of color, fighting for inclusivity and diversity. Many are popular and successful in their respective industries and have worked with multiple prominent brands. Hence, brands wanting to partner with them must share the same vision.
Working with Black influencers will help you reach your brand goals and objectives and give you your money’s worth.
Should you want to learn more about influencers, you may head over to our “Influencers in the Wild: The Comedy and Culture of Social Media Stardom” article.