I first off want to express how grateful I am for this past week. I know it was heavy. Every single time it got too heavy and made me want to put down my phone, I reminded myself to push forward. To keep learning, to keep reading, to keep listening even when it was uncomfortable. There were so many times I had to ask myself, why? Why am I only just now feeling like my eyes are wide open? How did I not fully understand that racism was still this bad? How could I personally have Black friends and not understand the depths of what they have had to go through? Better yet, as a company that represents influencers, why did we not make it the number one goal of ours to represent more people of color? And THAT is how much work needs to be done. I am so sorry both personally and professionally.
I have so many frustrations with systems, people, and myself right now. Yet at the same time, I’m deeply grateful. I’m grateful for this awareness. I’m grateful for all of the stories that have been shared. I’m grateful for this movement. Most importantly, I’m grateful for the opportunity we have to pave a new path.
We have a lot of work to do here. I have a lot of work to do. This is only the beginning. But I wanted to share a few things that we are committed to doing as well as what we have done so far. While we might not be a huge company, we do represent over 65 individuals that all happen to influence people every single day with their platforms. I would be remiss if I didn’t take that seriously.
As a company we have made donations to the NAACP, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and Campaign Zero. But truthfully, donations feel easy. As the founder of this company, I will be continuing to read, to listen and to educate myself. I have to lead by example and set the tone. I’m trying to not just look at what I can do today or tomorrow, but what I can look back on in 5, 10, 20 years from now. Every step of the way matters and the biggest piece to this is to not lose sight.
Our commitment moving forward:
- Diversify our internal team. We must appeal to people of color and seek out these individuals rather than waiting for them to apply. I personally signed up for a diversity and inclusion training program. As a fast growing company, I’m really looking forward to this.
- Prioritize seeking out and representing a more diverse roster of influencers while specifically adding at least 5 more Black female, male and non-binary influencers to our roster in 2020.
- Hold the brands we work with more accountable. We need to ask more questions and do more research before we negotiate brand deals for influencers to really understand these brands that influencers are promoting. We will be also asking our influencers to be more engaged in this as well. I wish I could convince the entire influencer space to be on board with this. How powerful would that be?
Lastly, I would personally like to offer an hour of my time to 3 Black-owned small businesses and 3 Black content creators/influencers. I would be able to answer questions around partnerships, pitching, rates, influencer marketing, etc. Anything! I want to get to know you, get to know what you are doing and help in any way that I can. If you are interested in this, please email email@example.com and share your IG handle, website, and/or brand name.
To close, I just want to thank our influencers that have chosen to use their platforms to amplify Black voices and have spoken out against racism and injustice. Seeing how many of them had backlash and lost followers is beyond my comprehension. But they did it anyway. And I am so proud to represent them.
Lots of love,