Shopify Ecosystem

25 Influencers Of Color That Brands Should Know

25-influencers-of-color-that-brands-should-know

With more outspoken minority voices and a shifting economy, brands are recognizing the need to honor all members of their audience. Influencers of color are drawing attention to new buying trends as formerly marginalized communities overcome unique life challenges to encourage greater diversity in modern retail marketing.

Why is equal representation important?

There is great power in marketing and advertising.

Marketing is influence, and influence is privilege. When prejudice and apathy are allowed to marginalize entire people groups, those in places of privilege have a responsibility to raise their voices for diversity and inclusion.

Be Like Mike Gatorade Ad showing Michael Jordan, one of the most famous influencers of color
Image via Larry Brown Sports

Compelling ads and messages linger in the minds of viewers and can impact their decisions beyond that next purchase. Marketers must recognize that their profession has real power to change hearts and minds. In fact, it can cause millions of people to grow or narrow their perspectives in a surprisingly short amount of time.

Representation allows people to see themselves as valued and present in media.

“The majority of consumers (70%) believe it’s important for brands to take a public stand on social and political issues, and 64% of them took an action after seeing an ad they considered to be diverse or inclusive. And marketers recognize they must pivot to align with these shifts. Your customers are diverse and your marketing should reflect that by equitably amplifying their voices in the stories you tell.”

LinkedIn, 2021

Brands that only ever sponsor creators within a particular niche, ethnicity, or region send subtle messages to many of their customers that they are outsiders, and that the brand’s products are not intended for them.

It’s human nature to want to be included, and ads that showcase diversity make more people feel included and safe. Brands intentionally cater to influential people of color to demonstrate that they welcome everyone who wants to be a customer or brand fan. 

Minority buying power is growing.

“When brands neglect or suppress alternative perspectives, then they experience more difficulty when trying to market or improve their products and services. In many cases, non-diverse organizations simply lose traction in their market and struggle consistently to deliver sustainable profits.”

– GRIN, Diversity & Inclusion With Influencer Marketing

Not only are North American regions becoming more racially diverse, but the buying power of non-white consumers has grown more in the last 20 years than ever before in history.

Experts estimate that in 2018, the United States saw nearly $15 trillion of consumer buying power. Of that $15 trillion, $4 trillion belonged to black, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian consumers. 

25 Influencers of Color That Brands Should Know 1
Image via Census.gov

Additionally, the United States Census Bureau predicts that the white American population will only grow 11% by 2060, while African Americans will grow 41%, Asian Americans 101%, and multi-racial Americans 198%.

In summary, non-white Americans are both increasing in numbers and affluence. And brands must recognize their obligation to reach these customer segments.

One of the most effective ways to reach more people is to ensure that the influencers you partner with represent all cultures and ethnicities.  By partnering with influencers of color, you will reach a broader audience authentically.

Examples of inclusive marketing – 3 brands who are doing it well

1. Cuts Clothing

A key piece of Cuts Clothing’s marketing strategy is influencer marketing on Instagram. When selecting creator partnerships, the brand goes out of its way to work with influencers who represent various ethnicities and audience segments. That’s why a large portion of Cuts’ social media content features influencers and fashion models of color.

2. Dove

Dove recently launched a campaign to end race-based hair discrimination. Many black women in the United States experience disrespect from hair stylists and products due to “hair texture and protective hairstyles.” The brand is working with creators to promote the CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair).

3. Bumble

In a remarkable display of customer advocacy and inclusive marketing, Bumble visited cities where it had high participation on its dating app. The marketing event featured customers of color, as well as those who were disabled, seniors, gender nonbinary, and more.

25 Influencers of Color You Should Start Following

5 Influencers of Color with the Highest Engagement

1. Jennie Ruby Jane 

Jennie Ruby Jane is a South Korean pop star and Instagram influencer. Widely known for her solo career and a member of Asia’s BLACK PINK music group, Jennie is also a favorite among Asian American consumers.

2. Brent Rivera

Brent launched his entertainment career with Vine and has since gone on to build a personal brand on Instagram and establish his own talent agency, Amp Studios. He is currently America’s favorite male Latino social media influencer.

3. Lisa

Lisa is also a member of the South Korean music group, BLACK PINK. She is a prolific beauty and fashion influencer with millions of engaged fans around the world.

4. The Honest Goddess

The Honest Goddess, or THG, began as a beauty YouTuber and has gradually expanded her online community onto Instagram and TikTok. She is an active brand ambassador for Lulus Holistics and Pure Allure Beauty.

5. Baby Ariel

Baby Ariel is a Jewish-Latin American with a talent for music and acting. She quickly gained momentum on Instagram and TikTok, but she is also active on Twitter and YouTube.

5 Influencers of Color with the Most Followers

1. Khaby Lame

Total followers: 145.9 million

Channels: Instagram & TikTok 

@khaby.lame

Guys help @blaisematuidi to find the right caption on this 👇🏾 thanks for the call @joellirica @vegedreamgagnoa #learnfromkhaby #imparacontiktok

♬ suono originale – Khabane lame

Khaby Lame is a perfecter of video reactions on TikTok. His favorite skits involve poking fun at people who overcomplicate easy solutions to daily problems. He rose to fame far quicker than most influencers, and his popularity continues to grow on TikTok and Instagram.

2. Zach King

Total followers: 99.1 million

Channels: Instagram, TikTok, & YouTube 

Zack King is the pioneer of “digital sleight of hand,” or “magic vines,” where he shamelessly uses video edits to perform illusions for fans.

3. Huda Kattan

Total followers: 59 million

Channels: Instagram, TikTok, & YouTube 

Iraqi-American make-up artist, Huda Kattan, is a beauty entrepreneur and blogger. She frequently showcases her Huda Beauty product line while offering cosmetic tutorials and FAQs.

4. Aimee Song

Total followers: 42.5 million

Channels: Instagram, TikTok, & YouTube 

Aimee Song fills a lot of roles, and she does them all remarkably well. In addition to being an impeccable dresser and beauty guru, she is an accomplished DIY-er, cook, and lifestyle blogger.

5. Nyma Tang

Total followers: 26.9 million

Channels: Instagram, TikTok, & YouTube 

Nyma Tang describes herself as the “dyslexic queen that’s beauty obsessed.” She is a leading fashion blogger, YouTuber, and well-known advocate for racial equality in the fashion and cosmetics industries.

5 of the Most Popular Influencers of Color on TikTok

1. Michael Le

@justmaiko

bts with my brotha for my upcoming anime video.. stay tuned😬🔥 @bangenergy @bangenergy.ceo #bangenergy

♬ Let’s Groove – absolutesnacc

Michale Le joined TikTok when the app was still Musical.ly. He is one of TikTok’s most popular choreographers and dancers.

2. Challan

@challxn

Y’all I love her ima name her Shela

♬ Awkward Silence – The Elevator Music Jazz Trio

Challan is a Barbadian model who took to TikTok to express herself through cosplay outfits/props and perform original skits.

3. Karol G

@karolg

🔥🔥🔥 MEDALLOOOOO 🥵🥵🥵

♬ sonido original – Karol G

Karol G is a famous musician from Colombia, and thanks to TikTok, she is now a world-renowned social media influencer. She uses her profile to announce new singles and showcase reggae fashion.

4. Young Yosa

@youngyosa

If you can’t beat him… join him #africanparents #viral #fyp

♬ original sound – Uyi

Young Yosa, or Uyi, is a fashion model who is famous for his “pissing-off-my-African-parents” comedy skits. He is also the founder of NASO, a clothing line that invests in underserved communities around the world.

5. TheBSimone
@therealbsimone

Yea yea !!! #coileray #foruou #colorcustomizer #foryou

♬ original sound – Weekly Newsical

TheBSimone is one of TikTok’s most popular comedians. But many fans are surprised to learn that she is also a serial entrepreneur. She is CEO of B.Simone Beauty and B.Simone FIT.

5 of the Most Popular Influencers of Color on Instagram

1. JaLisa E. Jefferson

Jalisa Jefferson left her career in IT to do what she loved best – creating authentic content on social media. She is a fashion model, mother, and wants all her followers to know the importance of religious faith.

2. Sushant Singh Rajput

Sushant Singh Rajput began his public career as an Indian actor. After becoming famous in his own country, he began exploring existential topics with fans on Instagram, including astronomy and mindfulness best practices.

3. Taye Hansberry

Taye Hansberry is a lover of “all things food, fashion, and beauty.” She became famous as a lifestyle blogger and is a winner of Vanity Fair’s “best dressed” award.

4. Cynthia Andrew

Cynthia Andrews is a full-time New York attorney and a travel influencer on the side. Her outfits against the backdrop of exotic locations make her a favorite on Instagram.

5. Nora Fatehi

Nora Fatehi’s parents immigrated from Morocco to Canada where Nora entered show business. She fell in love with Indian cinema and is now a self-made producer of Bollywood films. 

5 of the Most Popular Influencers of Color on YouTube

1. Marques Brownlee

Marques Brownlee, also known as MKBHD, is a professional ultimate frisbee athlete who launched his own podcast to discuss the latest in technology. His YouTube channel reviews gadgets, tech releases, and more.

2. Lele Pons

Lele Pons is a Venezuelan-American musician who achieved stardom by being the first female on Vine to achieve over one billion loops. She now features new singles and music videos on her YouTube page.

3. GloZell Green

GloZell Green is a comedian and song parody writer who launched her channel over ten years ago. Today, she is one of YouTube’s top vloggers with nearly 1 billion views.

4. Andreas D. Brooks

Andreas Brooks is one of YouTube’s first lifestyle gurus. Among her areas of expertise are cosmetics, DIY projects, hair care, and fashion.

5. Chris Smoove

Chris Smoove is one of the most tenured YouTube gamers. His favorite games are sports games, such as NBA 2K22. Fans also enjoy his commentaries on NBA players and teams in real life.

In Conclusion: Equal representation is essential in a successful marketing campaign as minority buying power increases.

Diversity consistently improves a brand’s overall performance, both when it comes to marketing and product personalization. Creators of color are incredible resources for brands as consumer buying power shifts to a more racially-diverse audience.

Recruiting top-performing influencers has never been so easy. Use GRIN to find your brand champions.

Special thanks to our friends at Grin.co for their insights on this topic.