In June, Snap announced that its 523 talent incubator — which had launched the previous December — was about to expand. The parent company of Snapchat said it would launch a Black Creator Accelerator that would provide $10,000 per month to 25 recipients.
Three months later, Snap has revealed the first class of Black creators that will benefit from that financial boon. As part of their membership in the Accelerator, those videomakers of color will also receive mentorship, learning opportunities, and complementary tech.
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The 25 awardees are all based in the United States. Some of them ply their trades in the most-watched content categories on the internet. Fashion influencers Kai Michelle Scates (pictured above) and Walé Oyerinde will take Snap’s money, as will family creators Nita Creekmore and Sasha Williams. Chefs Keshia Bryan and Daven Gates will bring their recipes to the Black Creator Accelerator as well.
Other Accelerator participants are bringing their eclectic interests to Snapchat. Afro-Futurist filmmaker Anatola Araba will use the app’s support to find new connections between art and tech, while Kivonshe Williams will grow her career as a professional plant mom. Snap has also provided support to creators who are at various stages of their careers. Gamer Whitney Destiny Singleton has established herself as the self-proclaimed “queen of Fortnite,” while Mikhael Warith-Muhammad is providing his point-of-view as a college student.
The $10,000 monthly stipends will be the most tangible benefit of the Black Creator Accelerator, but the participants will also receive tutelage and equipment from the program’s sponsors: Google Pixel, UNCMMN, and Westbrook Media. All of the selected creators will be outfitted with Pixel Pro 7 devices, which feature a “Quick Tap to Snap” option.
As Snap incubates the careers of Black creators, it is also dropping some other related programs. The Yellow accelerator, which supported five batches of startups, is being discontinued. It is a casualty of Snap’s latest round of layoffs, in which “approximately 20%” of the company’s workforce received pink slips. By staying committed to Black talent even as it shutters other talent initiatives, Snap is taking a similar path to YouTube, which has carried on its Black Voices programming despite cuts to its originals division.
Here, via Snap, is the complete first class for the Black Creator Accelerator:
Anatola Araba (New York, NY) – A futurist on a mission to create digital content that builds more equitable, sustainable and inspired futures through film, visual art and emerging technology. She recently created the award-winning 3D animated short film in the Afro-Futurist genre, “Afro Algorithms,” which explores A.I. and bias. Her work has been shown at the MoMA, Lincoln Center, Mozilla Festival, and more.
Keshia Bryan (Atlanta, GA) – A food content creator, also known as Meallionaire, that brings both her Southern and Jamaican roots to the kitchen. Many of her dishes represent a perfect blend of her personal taste and unique culture. She loves to combine her love for food and music to create magic.
Nita Creekmore (Loganville, GA) – A married mother of four who started her profile Love. Teach. Bless. in 2015. Nita taught for thirteen years before becoming an Elementary School Instructional Coach. As a Black creator of Creole descent, Nita shares educational content that reflects her passion for books about the beauty of diverse people, hearing their stories, and learning from other races and cultures.
Tyra Dixon (Chicopee, MA) – A wardrobe stylist and entrepreneur who creates content that inspires others to be confident and practice self-love. As a result of her passion for amplifying the work of up-and-coming creatives, Tyra opened District 3 Studios, a community and shared-space studio that offers various resources and network opportunities for creatives.
Kendra Ezeama (Providence, RI) – A content creator and college student that captures and shares her experience as a Black athlete and double major at an Ivy League university. When she is not competing in track and field or pursuing degrees in Cybersecurity and Literary Arts, she is very involved in residential life, Black organizations on campus, and writing.
Daven Gates (Stafford, VA) – A food content creator and active service member in the US military. Daven shares his passion for eating and cooking by creating foodie content of a wide variety of meals and recipes. Daven is a married father of a young son who he loves to teach in the kitchen and believes his purpose in life is to bring people together through food.
Yadira Goodwin (Columbia, SC) – A wife, mother and creator that curates content focused on marriage, family and a positive mindset. In 2020, Yadira and her husband Jerome started sharing content on their TheGoodwinWay profile as a way to bring people happiness and inspiration. Yadira and her family are showing how they are breaking generational curses in health, wealth and happiness as a professional millennial couple raising their young son, Cairo.
Tonya Hampton (Virginia Beach, VA) – A dental hygienist by trade who loves curating content around Formula 1 racing and trading cards. She recently co-founded a podcast called “The Apex Takeover,” which centers around interviewing the unsung heroes of F1, and co-hosts Live F1 Watch Alongs on Social Audio apps. Her passion is to introduce the F1 community to a younger and more diverse population. She is dedicated to establishing the representation of media curated by Black women as the “Standard” in sports broadcasting and content creation.
Garrison Hayes (Nashville, TN) – A creator that makes educational content at the intersection of history, entertainment and culture. Garrison creates documentary-style historical explainers, travel content highlighting Black-owned brands and businesses, and comedic educational skits.
Danielle Houston (Charlotte, NC) – An actress, dancer, musician, singer, model and professional mermaid performer. Danielle is passionate about creating more space for POC in fantasy entertainment and other niche spaces. She loves folklore, mythology, and Sci-fi and she creates fantasy-based, mermaid/fairy content that everyone can enjoy.
Nia Ivy (St Peters, MO) – A comedy content creator that recently started creating short form “POV” content but has been filming short movies and skits for the last eight years. She is always trying to create characters that reflect her unique point of view. She hopes to inspire others to pursue their own dreams.
Liza (Los Angeles, CA) – Commonly known as just Liza [pronounced “lee-za”], she is a an Ethiopian-Canadian singer-songwriter and creator that brings dynamic range to neo-soul, alternating between moments of hushed intimacy, delicate introspection and climactic catharsis. While working as a registered nurse and clinical researcher, she recorded and released her EP DONE IS DONE. Liza shared her experience creating the project by taking her followers on an intimate journey of the process.
Jordan & Elliot Looney (Oakland, CA and St Paul, MN) – Two brothers who create art and content that motivate and inspire positive change. The brothers launched The Z1, an art production lab where they distribute their art and collaborate with other artists and businesses.
Skylar Mosley (Dover, PA) – A fitness content creator who is passionate about helping people achieve a healthy lifestyle. Before developing a love for fitness, Skylar grew up spending a lot of time on computers, which led him to a career in the IT industry.
Chef Ameera Muhammad (Los Angeles, CA) – Creates content is centered around food and travel experiences that provide elevation for the mind, body and spirit. She provides her followers with “Tools for Transformation,” recipes and services that help improve overall well-being. Chef Ameera often shares first hand accounts of healing and engages with her audience through live cooking classes, coaching sessions and sound bowl sessions.
Walé Oyerinde (New York, NY) – A digital creator and visual artist that founded the digital fashion and wearable NFT brand, The Atklas. After ten years of creating editorial content for magazines and social media, Walé is looking forward to the future of digital fashion and AR technology as a new medium of creative expression and storytelling.
Hasanah & Uswaa Sabree (Bronx, NY) – Also known as Haswaa, they are two Black Muslim sisters who create content based on being young, modern Muslim women. The sisters aim to challenge stereotypes of Muslim women by showing their true selves as young trendy New Yorkers who talk about fashion and cooking, and perform funny skits. They want to encourage other Muslim girls and women to be confident in their religion and faith while still feeling in tune with today’s trends.
Kai Michelle Scates (Arlington, TX) – A plus-size fashion influencer and lifestyle content creator. She typically shares OOTD and GRWM fashion and style content but recently added skincare to her platform. She started competing in beauty pageants at five years old and discovered fashion blogging as a teen.
Whitney Destiny Singleton (Buffalo, NY) – A video game streamer and content creator. She is the self proclaimed Queen of Fortnite and is known for her electric red hair and screaming the word “clout.” She has a Yorkie named Holly and is married to her high school sweetheart.
Tiffany Smith (Emmaus, PA) – A plus-size model, blogger and content creator that has dedicated her platform to empowering women and promoting body positivity through her own self-love journey. Her content features a combination of fashion tips, Black love, wellness goals, “Champagne tastes on a Discount Wine Budget” tips, best friend vibes and more.
Suni Solomon (Los Angeles, CA) – Also known as Suni MF, she is an artist, songwriter, actress and creator whose content is based on music and comedy. She can be found wearing her signature yellow and is known for her stage presence and powerful and catchy lyrics. Suni has co-written for artists like Keke Palmer, FloMilli and Sukihanna and recently appeared on Issa Rae and HBO Max’s Rap Sh*t.
Mikhael Warith-Muhammad (Los Angeles, CA) – A content creator and college student majoring is Cinema Television with a minor in Sociology. Mikhael created “The College Tour,” a YouTube docu-series that includes stunning campus drone shots edited between honest student interviews. The series offers prospective students a virtual campus tour of US colleges and universities and provides a more realistic perspective of campus life.
Kivonshe Williams (San Antonio, TX) – A content creator that shares her love of plants and uses plant care as a way to promote mental health and self care. Kivonshe started as a makeup content creator but following the pandemic has been able to evolve her content to reflect what’s most important to her – mental well-being.
Sasha Williams (Tamarac, FL) – A mom and content creator that turned her love for fashion into a full blown career. In 2018 she launched her popular fashion blog Simply Sasha Fierce, which quickly expanded to include beauty, lifestyle and travel content. Sasha loves to share her life with her followers and what it’s like to be a content creator and a full-time working mother to a teenage son.
Ashley Whitfield (Sacramento, CA) – A content creator that has built an engaged online community by sharing her perspective as a Black, queer woman in America. Through humor and light-heartedness she strives to help people feel seen and heard, while also providing an escape from life’s stress.. She creates upbeat and positive videos on various topics from movies and shows to funny story-time and discussions of hot topics within her communities.