Written by Valerie Emanuel, Booking Director, Role Models Management
We have all heard about how the social media algorithms work but we don’t really understand them. Liking, commenting, saving and sharing all give anyone with a platform more eyes on their post. But did you know that the color of your skin can also put you at the top of the algorithm? In 2020 there was an experiment that showed how Twitter showed evidence of racial bias prioritizing white faces over black ones. Dating apps do this as well. Because we still base beauty off of European standards, we teach everyone and now everything around us to prioritize based on these standards. So it already feels like non-weight content creators are not giving their first shot.
The prioritization of whiteness and white features is something that we all have to work to reverse going forward. Here are some of the steps you can take to make sure that black creators are seen and heard.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity
Many companies choose to work with influencers based on the racial demographic that buy their products. I argue that you are closing off your business to a new set of customers if you don’t have a diverse perspective. I could never shop at a store or use make up that did not have a single BIOPIC face, but this lack of representation is an issue I come across quite often, even in 2021! I’m not saying that you should pander to a black audience to try to get them to spend money with you, but having a diverse team and diverse creators who can tell your story with a different perspective and to an entirely new audience is key. Also BIOPIC creators are great at collaborating with your team and letting you know what gaps your company has from a lack of diversity.
Give creators a platform to grow on
I hear many brands saying that they are just looking for a number count or an engagement percentage but I argue that brands need to be doing their part to show their followers the amazing talent that they may not have seen because they simply do not have the platform as some larger creators do. How do you expect to have a Kylie Jenner lifestyle without the Kylie Jenner opportunity? A silly example but you get my point. We are not starting on the same mark, but we are equally capable and creative, and given the right opportunities BIOPIC creators will shine. Brands have the ability to choose creators they think the world should see, not just the creators who will get the most likes.
The future looks bright
Anyone who is thinking and acting 10 years ahead will already be having these conversations about race and equality in their office. Not just around the time when tragedies happen and not just around the times when people are protesting in the streets but all year round. Conversations about inclusivity come naturally to my business, Role Models Management, since I am Black and Latina and our team and models are diverse in age, size, skill and ethnicity. We need to be thinking about the landscape of digital creators in the same way we would like to think about how we want to change our schools and neighborhoods. More diversity leads to greater innovation, as well as more cultural exchanges and interactions. Pop culture has the ability to change things from the outside in sometimes so let’s take advantage of the fact that we as agents and advertisers can show the type of world that we wish to live in, rather than reflecting the systems That continually favor whiteness over all else.