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February 1st marks the beginning of Black History Month in the USA. ๐Ÿ–ค

As a brand, we at MyPostcard are aware of our responsibility to use our platform to actively support the Black community. So one of the ways we want to celebrate Black History Month is by highlighting our favorite Black influencers and brands in the USA from our industry niches: Travel, family, DIY and interior. These creators are well worth the follow, trust me!

If you’re interested in discovering and shopping Black-owned brands, skip to the bottom.

By the way: If you’re wondering why it’s important to actively listen to, support and buy from Black communities, you should check out this document of resources we found on @soyouwanttotalkabout’s Instagram channel.

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16 Inspiring Black influencers to follow from the…

Following Black influencers shouldn’t be performative; it should be about opening your ears and listening to Black persons’ experiences of the world and affirming them. Just because we experience the world one way, it doesn’t mean everyone does.

So here are some great Black influencers from the…

… Creativity and interior niches

#1 @prettyrealblog

Two single beds decorated in a stylish interior
Copyright: Tiffany DeLangie / http://www.prettyrealblog.com/

Tiffany’s chic and modern home is sure to inspire the interior decorator within. The bonus? Tiffany focuses on affordable home design and DIY, so you don’t just have to sit there and long for a bedroom like this one, you can go right ahead!

This way to follow.

#2 @simplicityfordesigns

Another lady who knows her stuff when it comes to interior design, Gbeke also offer glimpses into her life as a wife, working mom and blogger. From DIY to playtime to home office decor inspiration – it’s all here.

#3 @thishouse5000

By an interior influencer, this view shows a modern sofa in the living room
Copyright: Elena Lohse / www.thishouse5000.com

Cat and plant mama Elena favors the classy boho style of home decor. Expect plants, clean lines and a bathroom that I, at least, am coveting bad.

Follow here!

#4 @grillodesigns

Medina’s abstract home focuses on patterns and and contrast held together by mustard undertones. She’s one of those people who simply has a knack for knowing which patterns and shapes will go together. Alongside snaps of her lovely home, she is a active supporter of self-love, inclusion and transparency.

By the way if you want to learn how to be more actively anti-racist and inclusive, read guest blogger, Pelumi’s article on how to become anti-racist and a true ally to Black people.

#5 @makinghomebase

A big fan of blue and white shapes and patterns, Chelsea shows you how to work your favorite patterns into your house interior. Chelsea believes that your house should reflect its people and you can see this in her feed, which shows off the love between herself, her husband and her kids.

#6 @damasklove

Amber is all bright colors, joy and of course, DIY and crafting. Her content is kid-friendly and with her guidance, even people who don’t consider themselves crafty by nature are able to get creative!

… Family, relationships and lifestyle niches

#7 @thegoandgrowfamily

Shavonne and her beautiful family are often going on mini-adventures across the USA, discovering nature – and all in great style and some beautiful hats.

#8 @carmenreneeblog

Wife and Mama, Carmen takes you on a journey through her impressive wardrobe and everyday family life. Her feed is pure fashion-inspiration.

#9 @itstashhaynes 

Tash, together with her husband, Ike, is a wedding photographer by day, a blogger and active member of the community by night, and a mother and wife all the time. She offers snapshots of her life, full of fun and happiness and, in safer times, also her experiences traveling as a family.

Even though most of us can’t travel at the moment, Tash has some tips for you on how to make a staycation feel like a vacation with family.

Follow her here!

#10 @abbysrollercoasterlife

Abby’s life is full of day or camping trips, thoughtfulness, and the family moments that matter. She talks openly about the lows and shares the highs, making her a good, positive and authentic addition to your feed.

#11 @trinitysierra

Youtuber and Instagrammer Trinity shares her experiences of life as a mom, a wife, a make-up fan, lifestyle as well as her faith as a Christian. Trinity speaks honestly about the hard bits of life but always finishes up with a dose of positive thinking.

#12 @daniellelickey

Self-proclaimed Disneyland fanatic + HP nerd, Danielle is all about lifestyle, love and family. Dancing, jogging, swimming and just having fun outings with her partner, son and dog – all this features heavily.

Give her a follow here.

#13 @missyhalle

Down to earth relationship talk, a sprinkling of politics and more recently some beautiful wedding pics. That’s what you’ll find and more on Melissa’s account.

Give her a follow here.

… Travel niche

#13 @hey_ciara

Ciara, a black solo travel influencer to follow, walks on the beach
Copyright: Ciara Johnson / www.heyciara.com

A solo traveler by nature who quit her job to travel the world, Ciara posts travel inspiration and guides from her memories for travel in 2021 (fingers crossed!). In what’s been a tough year for a traveler creator in particular, Ciara has talked honestly about the struggles involved – something we can all relate to – and how she considers her community something of an escape.

#14 @glographics

Glo’s account is motivating, progressive and educational. Her feed is interspersed with videos, beautiful photos and short bite-sized guides to interesting and important themes like, ‘What are the most racist countries?’ or ‘Things introverts wish you understood’. Glo’s been to around 80 countries in the last ten year and has massively gained perspective, experience and a wealth of beautiful photos.

This way for a follow.

#15 @thetravelingchild

Traveling influencer family stand on the beach together
Copyright: Monet Hambrick / thetravelingchild.co

Next up, a whole family of travels. The motto? If kids live there, then kids can travel there. They’re not traveling super far at the moment, but the Hambrick family are still posting family adventures, photography tips and regional trips in the USA.

Give the blog a read here!

#16 @wildginaa

Gina captures insanely beautiful, often eerie moments with nature along with the story or a related story behind it. This account is worth following for the photos alone, but Gina’s voice and stories behind it make it all the more persuasive.

#17 @irietoaurora

Black travel influencer Naomi sits on a jagged rock face with her dog
Copyright: Noami Grevemberg / www.irietoaurora.com

Adventurous and curious and resilient, Naomi lives the van-life on the go with her partner, Dustin and the adorable Amara the lap dog. Her posts support self-care, educate about racial bias and white privilege, and of course, share her experience of traveling across the country.

Black-owned brands to shop

By shopping Black-owned businesses, you’re actively helping to build up the Black communities which have been discriminated against for generations. This in turn helps in the long term to close the wealth gap between Black people in the USA (and overwhelmingly the wider world too) and white people. In more general terms, it leads to a more equal representation of Black people in society.

Here are the Black-owned brands our team likes:

Interior and creativity brands

@boleroadtextiles

Bolรฉ Road Textiles sells – you guessed it – textiles, and beautiful ones at that. If you’re looking to spruce up your interior, head here for cushions, bed spreads and more.

@lollylollyceramics

Discover clean, modern designs for your morning coffee. You’d better follow on Instagram too though, if you want to catch stocks before they sell out!

@plantkween

Christopher, or the plant kween lives through their plants. And even has a plant-insipired collection with tonlรฉ to satisfy all your zero-waste fashion cravings.

@harlemcandlecompany

Beautiful candle product scene from black-owned brand, Harlem Candle Company
Copyright: Teri Johnson / www.harlemcandlecompany.com/

Beautiful scents and beautiful styles. That’s what you’ll find in Teri Johnson’s Harlem Candle Company – a mix of fragrance, jazz and harlem!

Family and lifestyle brands

@braveandkindbooks

Brave and Kind Books curates inclusive stories for kids as well as running creative workshops and book clubs.

@littlelikeskids

These toys aren’t mass-produced, one-size-fits-all products. They’re lovingly and thoughtfully designed for the under-6 age kids based on the lives kids live now.

@kidochicago

A shop display of kids' products by the black-owned family brand, Kidochicago
Copyright: Keewa Nurullah / Kido

Kido focuses on representation and inclusivity in it’s inspiring selection of toys, books and outfits.

@puzzlehuddle

As a game for kids in their early stages, it’s so important that children are able to see diversity and representation in puzzles. That’s the gap in the market that Puzzle Huddle fills.

@lepetitorganic

Le Petit Organic sells quirky kids’ clothes up to age 8. The feel is vintage and the focus is handmade and sustainable. One for the future!

Travel brands

@airfordable – Book flights at a fraction of the price

Two women hug on a beach on a package holiday by Airfordable
Copyright: Ama Marfo / www.airfordable.com

@dipaways

For you perfect group or solo getaway, get it designed for you by dipaways. The special part of these trips is that they support small local communities at your destination.

@travelnoire

Travel Noire is aimed at millennials who love travel from the African Diaspora. It’s all about making travel inclusive and representative. The company can help you create and book a roadmap for your journey.

@noirbnb

A beautiful room available to book on NoirBnB, a black-owned travel business
Copyright: Stefan Grant / www.noirbnb.com

Noirbnb is aimed to improve the experience of travelers of color traveling to destinations around the world. It allows people to become BnB hosts or stay at places which feel like a home away from home. It originated as a way to fill the empty space when it came to serving Black people in the travel niche.

It’s not just the rest of the world that needs to change to start actively welcoming travelers from the African continent… Guest blogger, Fisayo, argues that travelers to Africa need to change their attitude and their assumptions. Here are the things you need to know about Africa and the 7 racist stereotypes that have to change.

@madeleatherco  

A jade green leather bag by black-owned lifestyle brand, Made Leather Co.
Copyright: Lenise Williams / www.madeleatherco.com

Made Leather Co. creates leather bags which are classic, fashionable and quality homemade products.

Final word

The heading here might be ‘final word’, but our work is a long way from done. We will keep doing our research, try to educate ourselves, hire Black creators and try to connect with Black-owned brands, 365 days a year. Feel free to drop feedback or ideas on what else we can do to improve – we always have an open ear for you.

If you have any Black influencers or Black-owned brands you love, let us know!

By Efia Sulter

Efia Sulter abroad smiling in yellow top
Efia Sulter is the founder of the Effy Talks Life brand as well as an author.

Racial microaggressions and implicit bias are rife in the travel space. 

With the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement due to the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other innocent Black people whose families are still seeking justice, comes a desperately needed change in times. As brands scramble to show their solidarity – one of the many areas that stands to be held accountable is the travel industry.

Not just in terms of the corporations who profit from Black customers and fail to advertise or include Black faces. But also those travellers who have benefited from a racist society that upholds White skin.

Black people travel too

Efia sits on the steps in a beautiful travel destination
Copyright: Efia Sulter / @EffyShowsLife

When I first started travelling solo I spent months researching. I felt that when I left the UK Iโ€™d got to a point where I was as ready as Iโ€™d ever be. When I actually got out there into the world I soon realised my preparations from White travel bloggers and friends would only take me so far. That was the first time I truly became aware that when it came to travel you couldnโ€™t send a Black girl and a White girl off on their adventures and expect them to be treated equally.

Because, you see, while you might be used to seeing your face in movies, travel magazines and on press trips. Our experiences simply aren’t the same. 

What are racial microaggressions?

While the spitting, disgusted looks or refusal of service is one thing to deal with, the other is much more insidious. When people think of racism they think of obscenities they would never dare to utter, or white hoods marching on American soil. However, itโ€™s the racial microaggressions, the seemingly small incidents that happen on an everyday basis that make us acutely aware wherever we go that there will be someone who thinks we donโ€™t belong. 

If youโ€™re unsure, whether youโ€™ve been using racial microaggressions when you speak to Black travellers please carefully read and understand whatโ€™s wrong with the following statements. Even if you yourself donโ€™t use them you will still be in a better position to educate those that do. 

Why? Because every slightly uncomfortable conversation you have, is one less tiring conversation for us. 

Racial microaggressions you need to stop saying:

Efia stands with a suitcase disproving at leat one implicit racial microaggression
Copyright: Efia Sulter / @EffyShowsLife

#1: Where are you REALLY from?

As a Black traveller there are few racial microaggressions more frustrating to hear in a conversation that โ€œBut where are you REALLY from?โ€ The idea of not being believed is so deeply laced within our conversations that most times, when I answer โ€œWhere are you from?โ€, I hold my breath and wait for the follow up question. The question that probes for more information to explain why, if Iโ€™m truly from Scotland, do I look soโ€ฆ Black? Iโ€™ve even been called a liar, which is extremely hurtful.

Instead say: Where are you visiting from? Add no further questions that indicate the first answer wasnโ€™t what you expected.

#2: How do you know itโ€™s because youโ€™re Black?

These days itโ€™s more surprising if I DONโ€™T get stopped for a seemingly random search while going through an airport. So when Black people tell you something happened because they are Black – donโ€™t gaslight them. We donโ€™t make up our experiences for sympathy. We share our lived, and often painful, experiences so that others can learn and do better. Itโ€™s insulting to assume we donโ€™t know what racism feels like. 

While White travellers may have unknowingly been benefiting from a system that oppresses us, we canโ€™t help but be hyper aware, hyper vigilant when weโ€™re travelling. Because for something to go wrong? Well, we donโ€™t know what could happen. 

Instead say: I canโ€™t imagine what that must feel like. Iโ€™m sorry that you had to experience that. If you canโ€™t relate to the experience it doesnโ€™t mean it didnโ€™t happen. Acknowledge the situation.

#3: Hey, youโ€™re Black, Iโ€™ve always wonderedโ€ฆ

Black people are not a substitute for Google. Iโ€™ve definitely travelled to many places where Iโ€™ve been the resident Black person on hand to question and it makes me extremely uncomfortable. Itโ€™s not our job to educate White people about racism, the N word or our hair. Sharing our own experiences can often bring up painful memories, not to mention generational trauma.

Instead say: Nothing! Google is free.

#4: Where did you learn to speak English?

Or โ€œHow come your English is so good!โ€ Both of these racial microaggressions are patronising and assume that English isnโ€™t the first language when in most cases it is. Even when it isnโ€™t someoneโ€™s first language it puts people on the spot. Again, itโ€™s that feeling of being ‘othered’. Like you donโ€™t belong. Itโ€™s not a compliment because it only stands to make that person hyper aware of their differences.

Instead say: Itโ€™s nice to meet you. A nice easy conversation starter that doesnโ€™t involve race.

#5: Youโ€™re so exotic

Weโ€™re not animals to be observed at a zoo or mysterious creatures to be collected or marvelled at. Saying that Black people are exotic only stands to dehumanise us. Additionally, when you say exotic you imply that the โ€˜normalโ€™ standard of beauty is non-Black.

Instead say: Nothing! There is no good way to say this. If you think a Black person is attractive donโ€™t make the compliment about race. If you wouldnโ€™t say โ€œI love your white skinโ€ donโ€™t say the opposite.

Final thoughts on racial microaggressions

Efia stands in the snow smiling
Copyright: Efia Sulter / @EffyShowsLife

This is not an exhaustive list. But itโ€™s a few of many more. It doesnโ€™t matter if your intention isnโ€™t malicious, because to be on the other side of these remarks is draining.

While these racial microaggressions wonโ€™t stop us from travelling, itโ€™s always one extra thing to be aware of. Or a sour note on an otherwise incredible trip. Perhaps reading this post has made you uncomfortable for a moment – but we have to sit with this discomfort for life. 

That being said Iโ€™m not sharing these experiences to shame you. But instead to invite you to look at where you may hold implicit biases.  Itโ€™s my hope that when we do go back to travelling this beautiful world of ours we can all do so with our eyes and our minds open.

Remember we are all connected. So if one person is suffering – we are all suffering. If you want to be an ally to Black travellers continue to do the anti-racist work both on and offline. It may be uncomfortable, confrontational and cause you to see things in a different light.

But if we want to move forward we have no choice other than to see things with the lights firmly switched on. 

About the author

Efia Sulter is a wellness and travel blogger and author of the ebook, Girl, Solo – A Modern Guide To Travelling Alone

She grew up in Scotland and lives overseas in Melbourne, Australia.

She is deeply passionate about empowering young women to fill every moment with boundless courage. Her brand Effy Talks Life (on Instagram @effyshowslife) reflects these values by seeking to inspire millennial women to explore the world and live life on their own terms. 

Read more of Efiaโ€™s work on her blog.

More from the #BLM guest post series

This July inspiring black content creators are taking over the MyPostcard blog to talk about race and discrimination in travel.

Jump into our first two articles below or keep an eye out for next weeks post by Fisayo Olayinka-Bello on the topic of racist stereotypes we need to change in African tourism.