By: Emily Bunn
Here at 360 Magazine, we are always looking to shine a spotlight on the voices of up and coming change makers, movers, and shakers. We are shining a light on Black content creators who are standing up and making a change in the communities and world around them. Though many of these discussions are taking place in the virtual sphere currently, these conversations have the power to translate into change via education met with action. While this list is far from complete, here are some talented, ambitious Black content creators, authors, educators and activists on Instagram that deserve more recognition:
Self-described as a “digital nomad”, best dressed amputee, social media strategist and photographer, followers are sure to be asking themselves: “What can’t Jerris do?” To further his life of accomplishments, Jerris is also the Editor-In-Chief and Founder of OBVIOUS Magazine. OBVIOUS describes their magazine as “visionaries dedicated to bringing a different philosophy to Fashion, Beauty, Culture, Activism, Travel, Global Politics, and Design”, “We are the voice for those that do not yet realize they have a voice.” OBVIOUS looks to recognize talent and allow them the space to grow, consistently bringing light to queer and BIPOC models and public figures. Jerris’ Instagram displays his recent endeavors with OBVIOUS, travel adventures, outfit pics, and other uplifting lifestyle content.
Aja is a content creator who discusses fast fashion, sustainability, and environmentalism topics in conjunction with racial capitalism. She highlights the importance of accountability in social justice, emphasizing the importance of taking these online discussions into the social spaces around you, both on and off-screen. She encourages her followers to normalize the discomfort these conversations may ensure, and ways to dismantle the prioritization of white comfort that often dominates these discourses. Her infographics on sustainability and fast fashion are educational while maintaining a conversational tone.
Michael Letterlough, Jr.
Instagrammers are sure to be awed by Michael’s stunning, surreal, immersive photography feed. While many online users venture to Instagram to post selfies, Michael uses his platform as a creative, photographer, and director to share the stories of others. His recent photo exhibition project, “Legacy: Through the Eyes of a Child”, looks to pay tribute to African American icons throughout history.
Additionally, Michael is the CEO of Suavv Magazine– a Black Men’s lifestyle publication. The magazine focuses on creating lifestyle content geared towards the active, urban, sophisticated young male, and creates an open space for discussions among Black men to open up about topics that aren’t often discussed otherwise. By prodding these conversations thorough thoughtful articles surrounding relationships, politics, sex, sports, and religion in the magazine’s “The Barbershop” category, Letterlough creates the potential for real social change. These topics are furthered in the Suavv TV video discussions, each of which features a visionary who aids in humanizing and deepening these conversations.
Ibram X. Kendi
Dr. Kendi is National Book Award winning author, NYT Bestselling author, and Boston University Professor and Director of the Center for Antiracist Research. Luckily, you don’t have to be a student of Dr. Kendi to learn from him– his Instagram page is full of insight. He frequently shares his opinions on U.S. politics and Black American history, and his involvement with literary projects. Recently, Dr. Kendi has been promoting his newest book, “Four Hundred Souls,” and his work with BU.
Dominique is self-described as “A Black Indigenous Vanguard of Sustainability.” She is also an environmental educator, community advocate, writer, creative director, and the founder of the magazine MelaninASS, which covers topics such as sustainable and decolonized fashion, wellness, and the environment. Her discussion of these topics is furthered in her involvement with Sustainable Brooklyn, of which she is a co-creator. Heralding holistic wellness and health, Domonique inspired her followers to live more natural, intentional, liberated lives. Dominique describes her mission on her website: “As a pillar of visibility – I help create an accessible framework for how Black & Brown Indigenous communities absorb information, gain clarity & become more sustainably liberated while simultaneously working to dismantle toxic systems of white “supremacy” across environmentalism, climate change, eco fashion and zero waste movements.”
Munroe Bergdorf is an English activist and model who has amassed an impressive 551k on Instagram. She had been Loreal’s first transgender model, until a racial row ensued, but continued to pioneer LGBT+ representation and rights when she was appointed as an LGBT advisor to the UK’s labour party. While her involvement wasn’t long-lasting, her continued efforts have been, as she continues to fight for systemic change. In 2018, Munroe won the award for “Changemaker of the Year” at the Cosmopolitan Awards. More recently, Munroe has been supporting the #DrawALine campaign in the fight against female genital mutilation, transgender rights, and other social justice causes.
Vaughn Lowery is the President of 360 Magazine. Lowery constantly looks to uplift the voices racially and sexually diverse public figures in his magazine–recently featuring LaJune, Jonte’ Moaning and Don Benjamin, to name only a few. Some of the most notable stars to grace the cover of the magazine include Demi Lovato, Bella Thorne, David Guetta, Steve Aoki, and Sabrina Carpenter, among many others. While he has previous experience in modeling, acting, and producing screenplays, Lowery is finally telling his own story in his upcoming, debut memoir: “Move like Water × Be Fluid.” This novel will be released as an exclusive multi-volume installation within 360 MAGAZINE, and stands as the inception of the brand’s foray into publishing. Lowery is also is in the process of establishing 360 Fest–a film festival created to showcase the most provocative, enthralling new films from across the globe. Lowery continues to give back to others, not only by uplifting their voices, but also through giving back to charities and foundations to support marginalized, underserved communities.
On his Instagram, Lowery is often seen fashionably sporting and utilizing products from the brands 360 Magazine provides innovative coverage of. His page feels personal and intimate, often sharing videos of himself with his son, which lends a personal lens into Lowery’s life and proves his authentic passion for the companies with which he chooses to collaborate. His Instagram boasts the glitz and glam of his endeavors and stylish wardrobe in an authentic, inviting way that inspires followers to want to get to know Vaughn on a deeper level.
Ts Madison is an author, television host, producer, artist, motivational speaker, and media personality. Madison is a transwoman, and uses her online platform to bring advocacy and awareness to the LGBTQIA+ community. In 2016, Madison won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 Transgender Erotica Awards. In 2019, Madison was honored as one of the top 100 LGBT people in Out Magazine. She continues to champion LGBT rights as she is the first Black trans woman to star in and exclusively produce her own reality series, The TS Madison Experience, premiering March 4 on WeTV. For more of Madison, fans can also check out her weekly gossip show, “The Queens Supreme Court.”
Wendy Williams, most notably known as the host of The Wendy Williams Show, is an American broadcaster, businesswoman, author, and media personality. Wendy’s talk show has been on air for over a decade, since 2008, and her fanbase remains dedicated to hearing her opinionated views, entertainment coverage, and the personal advice she gives to audience members. Wendy looks to help those in need further through her involvement with the Lymphatic Education & Research Network, of which she is a celebrity ambassador. On her Instagram, Wendy often posts “Hot Questions” to have her audience weigh-in on hot button issues, as well as sharing personal snapshots of her life, clips of The Wendy Williams Show, and short form celebrity interviews.
Brittany Packnett Cunningham
Brittany is an activist, educator, writer, and contributor to MSNBC, among other titles. Her content highlights issues such BIPOC hate crimes and violence, prison reform, systemic racism and white supremacy in America, and the death penalty, among other political topics. She also has a podcast called UNDISTRACTED, which discussions surrounding intersectional feminism, black and trans power, and timely conversations on the current U.S. political climate. Her page is highly opinionated in the best way, Brittany’s content is sure to make viewers reflect on their operations within the systems that govern the societies around themselves.
Ayana Gabrielle Lage
Ayana is a blogger from Tampa, Florida who posts about U.S. politics, Black grief, interracial relationships and raising biracial children, online virtue signaling via social media, facing micro-aggressions, and other lifestyle, motherhood and self-care topics. While Ayana recognizes that it is not her job to educate her audience on these topics, her page is very informative, and not to mention, aesthetically pleasing.
Rachel Elizabeth Cargle
Rachel is a self-described public academic, philanthropic innovator, and social entrepreneur. Her Instagram page sparks conversation surrounding topics such as under-recognized Black history, the Indigenous Land Back movement, decolonization, Black feminist thought and womanhood, and anti-racism–all of which are topics that she hosts workshops on, as well. Her page is flooded with her own words of wisdom and personal experiences, which are further outlined her monthly syllabi, The Great Unlearn. Additionally, Rachel is the founder of The Loveland Foundation, which looks to grant better access to mental health care for Black women.
Austin Channing Brown
Austin is a writer, speaker, and producer who has amassed an impressive 406k followers on Instagram. She often posts about her writings on justice, fighting white supremacy and saviorism, and speaking up about the current political climate, which are also spoken about in her new book she is promoting, “I’m Still Here: Black Dignity In A World Made For Whiteness.” She also hosts a video web series titled The Next Question, in which she further broaches all of these topics.
Jason is the founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief of Hollywood Unlocked (HU), the online entertainment magazine and multimedia platform. Hollywood Unlocked has expanded into other media genres, including a YouTube podcast and a book detailing Lee’s rise to fame as a respected entertainment journalist. Lee is also known for his appearance on Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood. While Lee has been open about his struggles as an openly gay, biracial man, Lee now uses his position as face of the publication to create conversations with his dedicated audience of about the stories that Hollywood Unlocked covers.
Bodacious, brilliant and beloved, Bevy Smith is an entertainment personality, motivational speaker, author, brand ambassador, and businesswoman. Known for being the host of Sirius XM’s “Bevelations” on Radio Andy and former co-host of Bravo’s Fashion Queens, Smith possesses her audience with charm, wit, and humor. Smith also has recently released a memoir under the same title of her radio program, “Bevelations”, which details her rise to fame, and how others can also manifest their dreams. Bevy is uplifting, inspiring, and ebullient.
Layla F. Saad
The New York Times bestselling author of “Me and White Supremacy,” Layla F. Saad uses her Instagram to speak about the monthly book club she hosts, @goodancestorbookclub, which features BIPOC authors. Layla also runs the Good Ancestor podcast, in which she tackles discussions surrounding anti-racism, intergenerational trauma, environmental justice, class, storytelling, and more.
Founder of gal-dem magazine, Liv Little is a storyteller at heart, but happens to also be an Instagram aficionado. gal-dem is an independent magazine produced by women of color and nonbinary people of color. In 2019, the magazine released the book “’I Will Not Be Erased’: Our Stories About Growing Up As People of Colour,” bringing to light some of the experiences of the magazine’s own staff. In 2021, Little was named as one of Forbes’ 30 under 30. Recently, Little has been utilizing her Instagram to advertise her bi-weekly newsletter, post stylish shoots and candid selfies, share her favorite Black women authors, and share her writing projects.
DéVon Christopher Johnson
DéVon is the founder and CEO of BleuLife Media Group. He has built his own personal brand from his publication, Bleu Magazine, though the media company has expanded to an online digital sister magazine, Bleu TV, a podcast network, a geo-targeting mobile ad platform, and an agency that represents digital influencers. Bleu Magazine is an aspirational lifestyle publication for multicultural men which looks to serve diverse audiences globally. The magazine is even in the process of developing a wellness subscription box for Black men. DéVon is an advocate for breathing life back into print media, especially within communities of color. On his Instagram, DéVon often posts travel flicks, snaps selfies, and advocates for Black-owned media.