Every day I take a mid-day social happy hour. I fall into the thumb-stopping scroll of my social stream, hitting a like or a save while a quick chuckle moves across my face. That smile is the result of how everything I saw was inspired by or made by a black creator. Before you tell me it is the algorithm, I am on my social account for work, so I know it is an amalgamation of thoughts, keywords, and weird a** discovery requests I get feeding my algorithm. The truth is, I could not imagine a world without the collective of imaginative black creativity, especially not on social.

Black creativity and storytelling are the heartbeat of culture that permeates the mainstream and also lives vibrantly in subcultures. Without black storytelling, social media would not be what it is. Just ask the millions of people who tuned into “Who TF Did I Marry?” by @ReesaMTessa on TikTok, abandoning their weekend plans to learn what happened next in her saga.

Imagine a world without the vibrancy of black creativity. I’ll pause. It's like trying to picture a rainbow without its most vivid hues or a symphony missing its deepest bass notes. Lots of people on social may talk about a song, a post, or a dance but don’t know the origins or connectivity to its cultural importance.

More the while to credit, celebrate, co-create with, and compensate black creators appropriately because they are your social stream, even if they aren’t on your social stream. Transform the daily (or hourly) function of your scroll for enjoyment and inspiration into action using the four C’s.

Credit the Originators 

The TikTok dance choreography you are trying to learn the steps to may come across your feed from one of your favorite creators, but they might not be the ones who created it originally. Leaving it in the guise of many people to “assume” that this creator you are watching made it. We have all heard about the dances made by Jalaiah or Mya Nicole that only when called out by the social community do media, brands and other creators get put in the hot seat. All it takes is a little extra digging, a tag and an attribution. Creators, brands, media please do your homework.

All it takes is a little extra digging, a tag and an attribution.

Celebrate Black Creativity Everyday 

Black creativity is elevated to the mainstream and permeates our everyday lives on social. It doesn’t only live in February. In this industry, it is apparent how melanated brands’ social streams get around the beginning of the year and don’t keep with that same energy all year long.

Co-Create with Intention 

Identifying the right partners isn’t just a quick one-two. Intentionality is important to ensure that the creative partner and opportunity can work together to build that secret sauce that resonates with an audience. Provide your in-house and agency partners adequate time to identify partners who can spark their creativity and ultimately help your brand. 24 hours isn’t enough time (yelling it for everyone to hear). If you aren’t ready to move at the speed of culture, then that is ok, just please don’t work to reshape it for your needs. You will catch up!

Compensate, Compensate Equitably 

The title gets to the point. Black creatives need to be paid equitably and consummately to the ask, services, and value of what they are providing. Until the mix of brands, agencies, creatives, and management teams demand that compensation is made fairly and on time, we are going to be sitting in this limbo. So creatives, if they are nickeling and diming you, evaluate the opportunity seriously. It is important to know and stand up for your worth. Brands and agencies, do the right thing. There is a difference between negotiating and undermining someone’s value.

In essence, not having black creatives would be like trying to enjoy a feast with only half the ingredients. Black creatives bring fresh perspectives, challenge conventions, and inspire us to see the world through new eyes. So let's celebrate the invaluable contributions of black creatives not only in culture but especially on social. Ensuring that their voices continue to shape and inspire our world for generations to come because they make life infinitely more flavorful.

My social stream is black and yours is too (even if you may not know it).

Chanel Lake is an SVP on the Influencer Marketing team.