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Black Influencers Are Underpaid...What Else Is New?

Although Black History month may be over, Black businesses and talent are still very deserving of a spotlight. The level of societal hypocrisy when it comes to race is rampant and can be seen throughout daily life. When tragedies like the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor occur, companies try to rally behind their Black buyers just for the sake of not getting “cancelled” while still exercising racist policies against this; this tactic can be seen from a mile away. With internet fame on the rise and becoming easier to gain and hold a following, those with less melanin in their skin have an easier time monetizing it.

We all remember when the Captain Hook challenge based off of Megan Thee Stallion's song first hit the social media waves, well that was all thanks to Sydnee McRae who had been making videos online since High School. Soon after the challenge was so popular that Megan herself had given it a try, McRaes following went up and musicians and record labels were reaching out to her for promotion. After getting $700 to come up with a dance challenge for Lil Tecca song Out Of Love it came to light that another Tik Tok influencer, was also paid to do McRaes dance, but a lot more than her...Yes, yes she is. Addison Rae Esterling was paid thousands to perform McRaes dance compared to the hundreds McRae received. “I’m creating the art, I’m giving you the art, without me there would be no art,” McRae says. “But I don’t get the same respect, the same amount that these White creators get.”


It seems that white people get away with appropriating and profiting off of Black Culture and Black labor, when will it stop? Since there is the opportunity to make some real money on these social platforms independently without an agent or casting director, corporate marketers have become the new gatekeepers. These corporate marketers and digital ad agencies are trying to capitalize on the “new Hollywood” and again..yes, yes they are. The result of this, coming from dozens of influencers, is that white social media stars end up making significantly more money than their white counterparts, even when the Black creators have a stronger following or has done more work. See the pattern here?


Seeing white people get the credit and acclaim for the work of Black people seems to fall right in line to America's history, but something's got to give. Not only are we getting cents on the dollar in the corporate world, but now independent Black creators are being paid way under what their worth for the same content that their white counterparts are providing. Other than trying to properly support the originators, is there any way to make this stop?

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