Social media’s influence has continued to grow and has allowed creators across the internet to amass millions of followers across multiple platforms.
Content creators have not only become some of the most popular people among millennials and Gen-Zers, but they have also become some of the wealthiest people in the world, making hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
Forbes recently announced the Top Creators List, ranking the highest-earning and most influential social media influencers across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and other platforms. Out of the 50 people on the list, only nine were Black. Here are those creators.
Currently the most followed person on TikTok with 149 million followers, Lame earned a total of $10 million in 2021. Across YouTube, Instagram and TikTok he has over 230 million followers. Known for his comedic videos, Lame signed a deal with Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange in July, inked a deal with soccer club PSG and fashion company Hugo Boss.
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Everything you need to know about phones, computers, headphones or anything new in tech, Brownlee is the guy to go to. His popular YouTube channel posts reviews about new gadgets in tech, but also includes interviews with some of the most powerful people in the world including Barack Obama, Kobe Bryant, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and many others. He has a total of 21.3 million followers across all of his platforms and earned $6.5 million in 2021.
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Known as KSI on the internet, Olatunji is a British YouTuber who has moonlighted as a rapper and boxer. He got his start on YouTube commenting on FIFA video games. He later went on to cofound restaurant chain Sides and the Vodka brand XIX. Olatunji also owns a promotional called Misfits Boxing. He has a total following of 45 million and earned $10 million in 2021.
Thompson got his start on Vine, a now non-existent social media platform, creating comedic videos. He later took his skills over to Instagram and now TikTok. Along with his hilarious content, he also created sponsored content for brands like Marc Jacobs, Moncler and YSL Beauty. He has a total following of 9.5 million and earned $2.5 million in 2021.
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Originally a viral star on YouTube with her show Baited With Ziwe, Fumudoh has taken her internet fame to the big screen with her late-night show on Showtime, Ziwe; where she hilariously interviews various guests. She has a total following of one million and earned $2.5 million in 2021.
The creator of the popular TikTok dance Renegade, Harmon was one of the first people to bring TikTok to mainstream popularity. While some people benefited more than her from the dance she created, she’s still had immense success thanks to her choreography skills. She has huge corporate sponsors including Netflix, Levi’s and Coca-Cola. She has 3.5 million total followers and earned $1 million in 2021.
Hines is for the kids. Known for questioning cute kids at the daycare he co-owns with his parents, Hines has gained a massive following thanks to his positive and uplifting content that will put a smile on anyone’s face. He’s expanded to questioning celebrities on the red carpet such as Keke Palmer and Bia. His corporate partners include McDonald’s, Capitol One and Fashion Nova. He has nine million followers and earned $1.5 in 2021
Jessay Martin from the Old Gays
A fourth of the oldest collab house on the internet, the 68-year-old Jessay Martin along with the other members who create content about being old and gay. They’ve partnered with huge brands like Lay’s Netflix and Oreos. They have 8.1 million followers and earned $1 million in 2021.
Like many TikTok stars, Majimbo gained popularity in 2020 during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. Born and raised in Kenya, she’s a hilarious comedian on TikTok who has partnered with Bumble, Beats By Dre and Maison Valentino. She has 3.8 million total followers and earned $500,000 in 2021.
Why are there so few Black creators on this list?
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Out of the 50 creators on the list, only 9 of them are Black. Obviously, there are many more Black content creators who are doing amazing things on social media platforms but are not making nearly the same amount of money as some of the non-Black creators. One of the reasons is that enough corporations do not invest in Black creators.
Another reason is that Black creators are not given credit for the trends or ideas they create. A Black content creator can choreograph a viral dance, but another person will benefit financially from it. This happened when Jalaiah Harmon created the renegade dance, but it was popularized by Charli D’Amelio.
How can it be changed?
Give credit to creators! TikTok and Instagram both announced new initiatives this year to give credit to Black creators on their platforms. Black TikTok creators have even gone on strike to ensure their presence is felt. There are so many Black content creators across the internet, put them at the forefront!