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Community Advocacy Organization

Black Creators discuss disparities in the influencer industry

Cari Vander Yacht for NBC News

Most of us follow influencers on social media; we know they utilize their platform and us, their following, to make a job our of their platforms, signs deals and gain profit from partnerships with brands.

Why not?

Brands will usually first compensate their influencers through products: 'PR packages' or 'gifts'. Through promotion and content creation, the influencer share and direct traffic back to the company's website for a sale, at which point they are compensated through commission.

With this new profession on the rise, we are seeing the same patterns of disparities we have heard about, witnessed and experienced for decades.

Some Black influencers have taken to their social platforms on TikTok to reveal more about their experiences, saying that they do not receive the same gifts as their white counterparts and they have to be nearly 'perfect' to score deals.

“As far as it goes for those free ops, you gotta know people, and you gotta know [white] people,” said Bumba, a lifestyle creator with 938,000 TikTok followers.

Black creators, like Bumba, have been vocal about how the lack of gifting to creators of color demonstrates the inequity in influencer marketing. This problem has existed since the profession emerged, but in the recent months, it has resurged as a topic of conversation on TikTok, with Black TikTok creators sharing their experiences with PR lists and gifting.

Many of them have called on brands to do better.

Black creators said that without the same access to gifting, they have to spend their own money, which takes away from their take-home income. That can contribute to widening the existing pay gap between Black and white influencers, which is 35%, according to a 2021 study from MSL, a global public relations firm that offers influencer marketing services. Black creators say they still feel they have to work twice as hard, which is something many have been saying for a long time across the professional world.


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