What a time to be alive when you can create content for a living, be expressive, live your best life and get paid. The creative world is one that I will always be a part of but let’s admit it – it’s tough being a creative. Even more, it’s tough being a black creative.
As I’m getting content ready for my upcoming branding workshop (oh…you haven’t bought your ticket yet?? Secure your spot!!), I’m thinking about the work black creatives have to put in to stand out.
Before we jump into this post I want to state two things:
1 – I am a black woman and a black content creator/creative and this is why I am writing about ways black creators can stand out. This platform exists for all creators but I am writing today from a specific perspective and experience.
2 – There are basics that will help anyone stand out from the crowd, and I stand by those blueprints. Things like branding (which is what I’ll be talking about in my summer workshop) are essential, so if you’re ever in doubt always go back to basics.
Now that I’ve gotten that disclaimer out of the way let’s jump into this very juicy blog post.
Stand Out As A Black Creative – Create Unapologetically Black Content
In my opinion, black creators will sometimes center their work around whiteness or what the “mainstream” considers the norm. I think we do this, both intentionally and unintentionally, to find success. While I agree not every project has to be “blackity black”, erasing your identity from your work in a bid to be more marketable feels like a cop-out.
Anytime I create, I make sure who I am as a black woman is incorporated into the project.
Even with Coco Creativ, I started this business and blog because black women were being bamboozled when it came to building their websites, digital marketing, etc and I wanted to help my sisters out. I might not put “I am a black woman” at the start of every blog post, but I don’t hide the fact that I’m a sista.
I create for the culture, and I create my culture.
Creating work that is unapologetically black helps you stand out because the work is needed. It doesn’t matter what kind of content you create; if you create from a space of self-reflection, you are already three steps ahead.
Black people want to connect with work that represents them
Does that mean you have to create a “black power” type work?
No. Not every project has to be political in its stance. It simply means focusing on how you fit into your work, how you can rep for your culture and not changing who you are just to be successful.
Some incredible unapologetically black creatives and projects that I like:
Stand Out As A Black Creative – Build your own black creatives network
In the black creative / “black excellence” community I feel we often fall into the trap of saying we’re networking, but all we do is pass around business cards. In a week those cards are in the trash.
You can get further by combining forces. Your personal network of black creatives can:
- Teach each other new skills
- Share opportunities
- Bounce ideas off each other
- Hold each other accountable
- Refer each other to clients
A small network of five people who are working with and for each other can accomplish more goals than a network of 150 people who only flap gums.
Challenge yourself to officially tell your friends or acquaintences that over the next year you want to work with them and not against them.
What can your network do? You’d be surprised.
Stand Out As A Black Creative – Create a Unique Brand
Yes, I’m talking about branding again; yes, I have a branding workshop coming up; yes, you should buy tickets.
Seriously, some of the most prominent black creatives are ones that offer something different to the crowd.
I’m not talking fonts and colors (although those are important too), but I’m talking about their Unique Selling Point, their POW that makes you remember them.
- Kat Blaque – she’s a queen of the LGBTQ+ community, but when I think of Kat I always think of tea; she has a great series where she breaks down topics while sipping some tea + spilling the tea.
- Jackie Aina – aside from her catchy “theme song” Jackie Aina has a dynamic personality, she is always repping black women especially darker skin tones and her brand is built on her honesty.
- Oloni – I secretly cannot get enough of Oloni; I love how she has built her empire on the topic of sex and sexuality. What makes her unique is she not only talks about light-hearted issues but she also educates and provides a safe space for people in a community where topics of this sort are often taboo. A radical woman that!
Each of these women embeds themselves in your mind in a way distinct way.
That’s why I always say branding goes beyond what we see and I’ll be talking about this idea more in-depth in the workshop (grab yo tickets!).
Bonus ways to stand out as a black creative
- Work with purpose – Following trends can help you get followers, etc. but in the long run you should create and choose opportunities that are on brand and align with your long term goals.
- Push yourself – It’s easier to do what works but pushing yourself helps you become bigger and better. Whether it’s trying a new technique or learning a new skill, pushing yourself could help you transform your style and your work.
- Create goals – If you are stuck in your journey as a creative I suggest you create goals, you manifest, or define your vision. It’s harder to reach your version of the top if you don’t decide what that will look like.
- Be bold – don’t dull your light just because you’re “the black creative.” Always be professional, always be on point, bring the lewks and always slay with your work.
Do you ever struggle to stand out as a black creative? I hope these tips can help you gain the confidence to be bigger than you imagine going forward.