Rather than clog up the Interwebs with yet another breakdown of Black History Month, I have compiled a list of people of color that I think merit your eyeballs/earbuds.
Some of them are well-known.
Others are obscure.
All of them deserve your support.
Alicia Garza — is a writer, and activist who you very much should know. Along with Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors, she helped birth the modern Black Lives Matter movement. She has been in the trenches fighting for social justice movements for decades.
Ashlee Marie Preston — is a media personality and activist, particularly with trans rights. She is perhaps most widely known for calling out Caitlyn Jenner during an event at the Trans Chorus of L.A, though, her career can hardly be boiled down to a single moment. She has run for office. She’s served as an HRC coordinator. The list goes on.
Barack Obama — is…do I really have to explain who our 44th president is?
Janet Mock — is legendary. She writes. She directs. She produces. She is an activist. If you haven’t read up on her, do so here. Her Instagram is curated to perfection, and a great way to stay in the know on all her projects.
Kellie Brown — is a fashion blogger that focuses on body positivity. She is gorgeous, and her outlook is too.
Michelle Obama — requires no introductions. Her insta is genius, just like her.
Silky “Nutmeg” Ganache — is a newcomer to RuPaul Drag Race, though she has been a part of the Chicago circuit for a while. This plus-sized queen is a talent I think we all should keep an eye on in the days and months to come.
Vagenesis — is a drag queen from my city of DC. She is a bearded queen, and I love her.
Dominique Matti — writes from an interpersonal lens. Her work focuses predominantly on her musing about life.
Ijeoma Oluo — is the editor of The Establishment, which is a women-owned site that talks about everything under the sun (you should check it out). The Establishment used to be hosted on medium (now Wordpress), but Ijeoma Oluo still does post wonderful gems on her Medium page.
Keisha N. Blain — is…I honestly don’t know where to start. She is a professor, a writer, an author, an activist, and it looks like she will be the editor for Shaun King’s new newspaper The North Star.
Kitanya Harrison — writes a lot. A day does not go by where she hasn’t posted something on Medium, and it is always insightful and well-crafted. She focuses mostly on issues that intersect with race.
Lecia Michelle — writes about everything essentially. She has a deep sense of integrity, and her pieces challenge me every time.
Marley K. — writes primarily about race, feminism (intersectional), and politics. So basically, I am in love. She has a firm perspective in all of her pieces, which is a feat that many writers on Medium honestly do not have.
Mwende “FreeQuency” Katwiwa — is a writer, though calling her a Medium personality is a tad reductive (some people defy labels). She is an activist, a slam poet, and an inspirational speaker. You may know her for her TEDx Talk — Black life at the insertion of Birth and Death.
2 Dope Queens — is a live comedy podcast by Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams from WNYN studios. They are hilarious, and often interview some very famous people.
Hey, Girl — is from the mind of Alexandra Elle. Every episode she interviews women that inspire her. That open-ended premise leads to some pretty fascinating conversations.
Intersectionality Matters — is a podcast about intersectional feminism hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw, you know, the women who coined the term with her work as a groundbreaking legal scholar.
Feminist Frequency Radio — is the brainchild of #gamergate activist Anita Sarkeesian. This weekly podcast breaks down events in pop culture. I am personally a huge fan. The show has three cohosts — Anita, Ebony Aster, and Carolyn Petit.
FriendsLikeUs — is like if The View only had women of color, and was actually interesting.
Rantin’ and Ravin’ — is the podcast where comedian darling Yamaneika Saunders talks about whatever the hell she wants…with friends.
Snap Judgment — is a storytelling podcast hosted by Glynn Washington. Each episode focuses on a theme of some kind.
Still Processing — concerns culture writers for The New York Times, Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, as they talk about events in popular culture. The events they focus on are often heavy, hence the title, and the perfect piece of media to consume if you are, indeed, still processing things in the news.
The Read — bloggers Kid Fury and Crissle dish pop culture, celebrities, and the world of hip hop.
Why Won’t You Date Me? — is a comedy podcast hosted by God’s-gift-to-this-planet Nicole Byer of Nailed It! fame. Every week the self-deprecating humorist dishes about her love life with (mostly) famous people. Listen to it. Consume it. Worship Nicole’s amazingness.
Yo, Is This Racist? — is one of the Internet’s gems. Every Wednesday comedian’s Andrew Ti and Tawny Newsome answer listener submitted voicemails with questions ranging from the serious (e.g. are online mobs okay?) to the downright hilarious (e.g. ordering off the menu?).
Beverly Bond — is a former model and current DJ best known for founding the organization Black Girls Rock!, which is an award show (often streaming on BET) that celebrates the accomplishments of women of color.
Bree Newsome — is an artist and activist best known for in 2015 climbing the flagpole in front of the South Carolina Capitol building and lowering the Confederate flag. She is an award-winning filmmaker, a singer, and an excellent writer.
Cherno Biko — is an activist that often focuses on trans rights. She has written for Huffington Post, contributed to the documentary Free Cece, and has featured on several talk shows. She appears to have hopped back onto Twitter after a brief hiatus, so nows the time to check her out.
Ebony Aster — is a pop culture aficionado and social media sleuth who works alongside Anita Sarkeesian and Carolyn Petit for the site Feminist Frequency. No disrespect to Anita and Carolyn, but I stan for Ebony.
Johnetta Elzie — is the founder of the organization We The Protestors, and co-creator of Campaign Zero. A key organizer in the Ferguson protests, she is indeed a figure to watch in awe of and support.
J. Skyler — is an activist and public speaker (who currently needs financial assistance, if you are looking to help someone in the movement directly). They campaign for a wide-range of intersectional issues.
Marc Lamont Hill — is a media studies professor at Temple University. He is a leading commentator on a variety of issues and often appears on CNN and BET News. He has a book out that you might want to take a look at as well.
Opal Tometi — is a civil rights activist who helped co-found the Black Lives Matter movement alongside Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza (seriously, know these three women). She is currently the Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration.
Patrisse Cullors — is an artist and activist who helped co-found the Black Lives Matter movement alongside Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza. She teaches at Prescott College and has campaigned for a variety of social justice causes throughout her life.
And I Get Dressed — is a fashion channel from creator and body-positivity superstar Kellie Brown.
Ahsante the Artist — is an artist that writes content constantly. It mainly involves her point of view, but sometimes she branches out with interviews.
Ambers Closet — is a queer POC that vlogs about her life.
For Harriet — a channel that focuses on issues concerning black womanhood. For Harriet technically has a presence all over the Internet, including a website. This brand focuses a lot on pop culture and churns out content regularly. If you are processing a contemporary issue, then For Harriet isn’t a wrong place to start.
GloZell Green — hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s not every YouTuber that gets to feed Hillary Clinton hot peppers, after all. One of the first YouTuber’s to “make it” in the 2009 era, she has a new look, a new wardrobe, and a new mission.
inkSpotEntertainment — is all about creating original (often scripted) programming focused on POC voices.
Kat Blaque — is a trans vlogger who talks about a wide range of social issues. She doesn’t just focus on her point of view, often interviewing a diverse range of perspectives. Kat has both a wicked sense of humor and an intensely analytical mind.
Nathan Zed — is one of those YouTubers who defies categorization. He has a love-hate relationship with social media, and this dissonance creates some deliciously entertaining content.
Prince EA — is a rapper, a spoken word artist, a civil rights activist, and a music video director. He focuses a lot on social commentary on his channel, and that creates some interesting food for thought.
The Grapevine — is a panel discussion show that gets into the nitty-gritty of some of society’s most pressing issues. White domestic terrorism? Bill Cosby’s conviction? Women in hip hop? They talk about it all.
This isn’t Everything!
This list is just a sampling of what’s out there. It barely scratches the surface of all the talent that exists within the POC community, and should not (and cannot) be viewed as a definitive voice on this matter — that literally defeats the entire point.
I choose to focus on contemporary members of the POC community that have a social media presence, and still, I only was able to gather a mere fragment of everything that’s out there. There are so many types of lists that could be created — authors both alive and dead, musicians, athletes, politicians, scientists.
The list goes on.
If you have a person or a piece of content that I haven’t mentioned, then be sure to tell me below.
UPDATE (08/23/19): an earlier iteration of this article listed Shaun King. Recent events have caused me to question his inclusion on this list.
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