5 Things About Shutting Up and Doing The Work

This piece was inspired by Alexia Cincy and her tweet: “one thing im applying is to shut up about it and just do the work.”

As we’re winding down to the end of the year/New Year it’s going to be really easy (read: really tempting because everyone else is doing it) to broadcast your plans to the world. And while we’d never encourage you to completely keep everything to yourself, sometimes, our execution gets lost in all our explaining.

The thing is, talking, complaining, or daydreaming about doing the work is not the same as doing the actual work. No matter how much you tweet about it, if you’re not doing the work, you won’t make any progress on your goals and dreams.

Here’s 5 things to keep in mind about shutting up and doing the work:

  1. It costs you nothing. It’s absolutely free.

  2. It takes the pressure off of you.

Announcements come with an audience. And audiences can vary - whether it’s people you’re friends with, people you went to school with, people you work with, people who could hire you - you never know who is watching you and why. But having an extra set of eyes on you, even if it’s because you shared it during a late night Twitter thread, can add weight to your emotions. So if something happens or you don’t follow through, not only are you hard on yourself for not getting it done, you’re also worried about what other people will think, apologizing constantly for not delivering, ultimately making yourself feel like crap.

Why set yourself up like that?

3. It saves you energy. Use it for when you’re doing the work.

4. There’s no audience involved.

Don’t you love telling your friends and peers about an idea and they gas you up? Then, once they gas you up, you want to tell everyone! The group chat, coworkers, family, baes - you see the comments, the likes, the saves, and you’re feeling great about your idea. The support feels amazing but guess what?

The work will STILL be there.

Which leads us to our final point.  

5. It gives you the space to trust yourself (more).

It’s normal to ask everyone else if they like your ideas but if it goes unchecked, that can easily evolve into a another cool way to ask for permission. The only way you’re going to get better at anything is by consistently doing it. When you consistently do the work, you learn about what works for you, how you should work, when you should work, and which part of your work to focus on at the given moment, etc. All of those little quirky things that you pick up help you to learn more about yourself. Simply put, learning leads to trust.

You can either trust in your ability to give empty words or you can trust in your ability to get the job done, when it’s necessary.

Which one will you choose?

Small Business Saturday Deal: Better Together Small Business Advertising Program

When you’re building a business, you have to be the lead creative strategist, the social media manager, the accountant, tech support, the new business specialist, etc - the list goes on and on. We get it. And we want to help. We understand that as a small business owner, every single dollar counts. That's why, with our network of over 50K, we want to offer up our platform in a very intentional way for small businesses and brands.

  • The Better Together Small Business Advertising Program is a month long advertising program for small brands and businesses to utilize the #blkcreatives network. It runs from the 5th of one month to the 5th of the next month.

  • Great for digital and physical businesses and brands.

  • A combination of social media marketing and newsletter marketing. Not only will your business be shared on all of our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) but it will also be featured on our website.

  • Consistency is key with marketing, so you'll receive weekly promotion on our engaging, fun, and informative channels.

  • Everyone wins: we get to continue to support our communities while connecting with impactful causes, you get to share your work and your mission to increase your bottom line and our audience of smart, insightful, informed, and impactful Creatives get more access to brands, products and services and that will improve their quality of life and bring them joy.

The cost for this monthly program is $200 but in honor of Small Business Saturday, we’re accepting slots for December AND January for $100. Get the full break down of the program HERE and enter your email below to apply. DEADLINE TO APPLY: 12/1.

Click the pic to check out August’s Businesses of The Month. This was our pilot of the program.

Click the pic to check out August’s Businesses of The Month. This was our pilot of the program.

New & Black & on Netflix - November 2018

Thanks to the good folks over at Netflix’s Strong Black Lead, we have what’s new, Black and on Netflix for you to watch this month. Take a look.

Avail. 11/1/18


In filmmaker Akin Omotoso's VAYA, the title is a phrase spoken in South African townships meaning “to go.” VAYA takes viewers along on a journey of three young South Africans who travel away from their rural homes on a train bound for Johannesburg. Stirring and suspenseful, the intertwining stories of these naive strangers as they struggle to survive culminates in an explosive moment not soon forgotten. Based on real accounts, VAYA made its World Premiere at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and garnered Mr. Omotoso the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Director.

Avail. 11/2/18

A Netflix Film.

The Holiday Calendar-- NETFLIX FILM

In this fun, lighthearted holiday film starring Kat Graham and Quincy Brown, a talented photographer is stuck in a dead-end job and inherits an antique Advent calendar that may be predicting the future -- and pointing her toward love.

Avail. 11/9/18


This emotional docudrama tells the stories of Medal of Honor recipients from U.S. military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam and more. Premiering in time for Veteran’s Day, this docudrama explains the life of Edward Carter Jr.,  a career noncommissioned officer for the United States Army and one of the only African American recipients of the Medal of Honor during World War II.


Westside offers an unscripted and deeply personal glimpse into the journeys of nine young L.A.-based musicians as they follow their dreams. Each episode sheds light on their creative processes and personal struggles, interspersing cinema verité-style documentary footage with beautifully produced music videos featuring original songs.

A Netflix Original.

Avail. 11/16/18

Prince of Peoria-- NETFLIX ORIGINAL
When an easygoing 13-year-old prince goes incognito as a U.S. exchange student, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with a fastidious overachiever. This new series has a Coming to America vibe for the younger set, and stars up-and-comer Theodore Barnes as Teddy.

Avail. 11/20/18


Produced by Smokey Robinson, this is a beautiful animated series about an Imaginative boy named Ben who transforms his city by bringing colorful street art to life, armed with a magic paintbrush -- and the classic sounds of Motown.


The Final Table is a global culinary competition show featuring the world’s most talented chefs fighting for a spot at the elite, Final Table made up of the greatest chefs from around the globe. The series features 12 teams of two chefs from around the world cooking the national dishes of Mexico, Spain, England, Brazil, France, Japan, the U.S., India and Italy. Each episode focuses on a different country and its cuisine, with celebrity ambassadors, food critics and the country’s greatest chef eliminating teams until the finale. In that last episode, only one of our competing chefs will win a place at the Final Table, joining the nine legendary culinary icons -- Enrique Olvera (Mexico), Andoni Aduriz (Spain), Clare Smyth (UK),  Helena Rizzo (Brazil), Vineet Bhatia (India), Grant Achatz (US), Carlo Cracco (Italy), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan) and Anne-Sophie Pic (France). The series will be presented by Andrew Knowlton, James Beard Award-winning Writer and Editor at Large, Bon Appétit. Created and exec produced by Robin Ashbrook & Yasmin Shackleton. The production company is theoldschool.

Trevor Noah Netfllix Special

A Netflix Original.

Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia-- NETFLIX ORIGINAL

Trevor Noah gets out from behind the "Daily Show" desk and takes the stage for a stand-up special that touches on racism, immigration, camping and more.

3 questions to keep with you for your September Goals

From the desk of our Founder, Melissa Kimble.


Because I want some additional self accountability, I'm trying a new framework for my September goals. Starting with the theme = intentions, and then questions that help keep me on track.

Here at #blkcreatives, our personal theme for this month is: A Fresh Perspective.

And to follow that theme, we're committing this month to making better choices. I can't say that I always make the rights ones but what I do know, is that overtime what we see or don't see in our lives is a result of a series of decisions we've made.

And to be real, I want better for my life. Not to say that I'm not grateful for my life but I do want to improve and boost my overall joy, reduce my anxiety, and consider the possibilities in my life instead of always focusing on the problems.

Here are the questions we're using to navigate through September. Take away or add to them, what you will.

What am I missing out on when I procrastinate?

There's a tendency to focus on what we are putting off but what are the side effect of procrastination that we don't consider up front? If I don't do a specific task when it needs to be done, that sucks up the time doing what I really want to do.

And I want to do a lot of shit, let me tell ya.

Why am I saying yes when I really want to say no?

The word no creates boundaries around how we use our energy. We know that. So why do I keep agreeing to things if it's not something that I already know I don't want to do. I'm sure I can save a ton of time if I hit a smooth no upfront and in order to do that, I've got to get to the root. Is it people pleasing? Worried that better won't come? I want to be a better steward of my time, we don't have as much of it as we think we do.

What are my commitments?

We can only do so much in a day, a week, a month, etc and sometimes we do so much, that we're really doing nothing at all. For me, my finances as a freelance writer and business owner, are at the top of my list to get in order. One of my current goals is to create an emergency fund of 2K. Which means that I have to commit to a budget, seeking help, and not blowing money on eating out all of the time. It may not work each time - I LOVE eating out - but if I'm reminded of my commitments, it'll be easier to go home and make my own nachos instead of hitting up a Taco Tuesday situation.

If I want a fresh perspective, I have to start with making better choices and these three questions will give me an opportunity to slow down, reassess and create options that over time, will help me with my goals.

Pray for patience, pleases. What questions are you asking yourself this month? Tweet us and let us know.

[Tweet "ready to do something new this September? here's a few questions from @blkcreatives that can help you get started."]

[Happy Black Business Month!] Better Together: Our August 2018 Businesses of The Month

Better Together blkcreatives August Black Business Month

Better Together blkcreatives August Black Business Month

William Stitt

August is Black Business Month and what better way to kick off our first installment of our Better Together Small Business Advertising Program. We decided to create a monthly advertising situation for small businesses to respect their small business budgets. We all need some help spreading the word about the work that we do and with our platform of over 50K smart, insightful, and innovative Creatives (projected to reach 60K by the end of the year!) we wanted to create a simple, strategic, and effective way to support the communities. In this way, we all win. Meet this month's featured businesses below. (If you're interested in joining us next month, click here for more info.)

Ivy's Tea

Ivy's Tea Co. is a pop culture and Hip-Hop inspired holistic health brand and E-commerce Teahouse. They have herbal tea and herb-infused sweeteners for the culture. With Ivy's Tea Co. teas, they believe that adulting is easier when you're in your best condition - that starts with getting the nutrients your body needs to perform well. Drinking teas and other herbal infusions are easy ways to nourish your body with the regenerative minerals they need to do just that. Their new #TrapTea Subscription Box comes with 5 products, including teas, honeys, other infused sweeteners, and tea accessories and enough tea to last through that period.

Website - Instagram - Twitter - Facebook

Little Fish Accounting

Little Fish Accounting is ran by Keila Hill-Trawick, CPA, MBA an innovative and driven strategic business advisor who partners with freelancers, solopreneurs, and small businesses to plan and reach their financial goals. After spending over a decade working in finance and accounting in both the government and private sector (Home Depot, Georgia-Pacific, UPS, CNN/Turner Broadcasting, Comcast, and various Federal agencies), Keila decided to launch Little Fish Accounting to serve as a trusted partner in financial and tax planning to drive business results and growth. Keila holds a BBA in Accounting from Georgia State University, an MBA from Mercer University, and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant.

WebsiteFacebook - Instagram

[Tweet "Congrats to @blkcreatives' August 2018 Businesses of The Month! Support black businesses!"]

Vision Space NYC

Vision Space NYC is a creative studio & intimate event space in the heartbeat of the city, Times Square.

Website - Instagram

'Tha Reality Is' Podcast

Created by Anthony Roberts, Tha Reality Is podcast (where filtering becomes extinct!is one dynamic of an up-and-coming Dallas based media company. The podcast is dedicated to those who are determined to think outside the box, for those who see the world as it’s supposed to be and not what man and society have made of it. It is their our goal to give a voice to those who have been silenced and push the envelope of mainstream media.

Website - Twitter - Facebook - Instagram

[Tweet "Congrats to @blkcreatives' August 2018 Businesses of The Month! Support black businesses!"]

A Salute to Black Women's Equal Pay Day

Did you know that today, August 7, 2018, is Black Women's Equal Pay Day? Here's a few facts on what this is so important from Create & Cultivate. If black women were paid equally:

💰The average Black woman would earn almost $870,000 more in the course of her career. 🍞Each woman’s extra annual earnings would pay for more than 3️⃣years of groceries.

👩🏿Families would get the support they need. More than 8️⃣0️⃣% of black women are the main breadwinners for their households.

Inspired by today's #BlackWomensEqualPay Twitter Chat with Create & Cultivate, Tribe, and 21Ninety, here are women who inspire us to speak up for what we want.

Myleik Teele

"I’m clear on the “quality cap” when it comes to the things that I produce. I know that if I try to accommodate too many, I compromise the quality of what I’m doing.  Many disagree with this approach to business because it leaves money on the table but that’s not what I’m about.” READ HER #blkcreatives INTERVIEW HERE.

Tracy G


"With people – when it comes to networking – they’re always looking beyond their reach and then feel like they have so many miles ahead in front of them between their goal and where they are. But if you just look at the resources around you, you won’t miss anything. Sometimes people are asking for a dollar and there are four quarters on the floor." READ HER #blkcreatives INTERVIEW HERE.

Tonya Rapley-Flash

Tonya Rapley #blkcreatives chat

Tonya Rapley #blkcreatives chat

“Focus on solutions. Focus on gratitude and everything that you have working in your advantage. Understand that as a creative you are not limited to artistic expressions of creativity. Get creative with ways to generate more money. You can wallow in sorrow or get to creating solutions, both take energy and it’s up to you to decide which one you want to put your energy into.” READ HER #blkcreatives INTERVIEW HERE.

Dominique Broadway

“It will never matter how much money you actually make if you do not manage it well. This is why it is beyond vital for #blkcreatives to put effort into learning how to effectively manage their money so they are not always living paycheck to paycheck or gig to gig, and instead can create a lifestyle where money is the tool to help you live your ideal life instead of being your biggest stressor.” READ HER #blkcreatives INTERVIEW HERE

Who are some of your favorite Black women to follow for money, career, and salary advice or insight? Tweet us and let us know!

The August 2018 Netflix Strong Black Lead Watchlist

Thanks to the good folks over at Strong Black Lead, we've got the full line up of new and Black and on Netflix this August.

Avail. 8/1/18



Once in a Lifetime Sessions with TLC

One of the most successful female groups in music history, TLC performs in concert while taking a look back at their tumultuous history.

Avail. 8/3/18



Marching Orders-- NETFLIX ORIGINAL

Basically Drumline IRL. Follow the Bethune-Cookman University Marching Wildcats as they fight to keep their spots on the field, memorize routines, balance their academic careers, and maintain their social lives.

Avail. 8/5/18



Paid in Full

A young man from Harlem, forced to cope with the 1980s drug scene, builds an illegal empire, only to have a crisis of conscience. This old school favorite features an all-star cast including Mekhi Phifer, Regina Hall and Wood Harris!

Avail. 8/10/18



All About the Washingtons-- NETFLIX ORIGINAL

Black love and Black family is at an all time high in this hilarious scripted comedy about one couple’s attempts at balancing work, romance and family chaos. Starring Hip-hop icon Rev. Run stars opposite wife Justine.




We deal with a lot of struggles already, but Zion Clark truly doesn’t let anything get him down. Born without legs and stuck in foster care for years, teenager Zion Clark hopes to overcome his circumstances and become a competitive wrestler.

Avail. 8/24/18

The After Party-- NETFLIX FILM

When an aspiring rapper (KYLE) goes viral for the wrong reasons, he thinks his career is sunk. But a wild party gives him one more chance to make it right. This hilarious film is a great Friday night flick to watch with friends -- look out for the multiple cameos including Teyana Taylor, DMX, and more!


When a teenage couple runs away to be together, the extraordinary gift they possess unleashes powerful forces intent on dividing them forever.

Avail. 8/31/18


The Comedy Lineup: Part 2-- NETFLIX ORIGINAL

The second volume of this knee slapping collection of 15-min short stand-up specials, features up-and-coming black comics like Janelle James and Josh Johnson. It’s a beautiful thing that these two are getting a global stage of 125 million members!

An Alternative To LinkTree Links On Instagram

Okay, so today is the day where you woke up, felt great about your content plan for the day, tried to copy and paste your LinkTree link into your Instagram bio and it didn't work. Breathe, we know it's frustrating. But the reality of it is this: Social media focused apps and services are at the mercy of the platforms they're connected to and the social media platform can decide at any time who has access to what because they control the how. In case you're unfamiliar with LinkTree, (up until now) it was a free tool for optimising your Instagram traffic. You would get one bio link to house all the content you’re driving followers to. Many content creators, bloggers and outlets have used this tool within the past year to create a home for specific content they wanted to share with their Instagram audience.



[Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash]

But whether you use LinkTree or not, we have an alternative that can benefit your work, whether you're building a business, a brand, or both.

Your website. 

Create a specific page on your website that will act as your "Instagram landing page". (As an example, ours is blkcreatives.com/instagram). On this page you can include:

  • A run down of who you are or what you do and how to work with you

  • Top content from your website

  • Exclusive content that only your Instagram audience gets access to (because they follow you on Instagram!)

  • A CTA (call-to-action) to subscribe to your newsletter

  • A list of resources under a specific theme (money, chicken wings, best travel sites, etc)

  • Anything you want, it's your damn website.

The benefits of utilizing your website to house an Instagram specific link:

  • Your website receives all of the traffic from Instagram instead of your LinkTree account. If you're a content creator or business owner, getting eyes on your work and your offerings always works in your favor. Studying

  • Not only does your website receive the traffic but this can also help users spend more time on your website, giving them more time to wander.

  • No need to post 'link in bio' again because you're link won't change. You can adjust the content on your dedicated page as much as you need to, whenever you want to.

  • You own the content on your website. So if something happens to the bio link again, you always have access to your content and don't have to fuss with scrambling for your page.

  • Data. Every website has data to show you where your traffic is coming from. If your IG link is a page from your website, you'll be able to make informed decisions about what content works well with your audience and what doesn't.

But I don't have a website. What about me?

Cool. You can use sites like About.Me, or Contently (if you're a writer, this is a GREAT platform to showcase your work). If you're active on YouTube, you can use the link to your channel. The intention of using a specific link for your Instagram page is to be able to control what your audience sees next, once they make the decision to click. Use that as an opportunity for them to learn more about you and your work.

Got any feedback for us? Tweet us, find us on Instagram, or join us on Facebook to let us know how you're doing.

[Portfolio] African cuisine made accessible through this subscription service

Welcome to our 'Portfolio' series. This series features sponsored content from brands and companies to show us inside their creative processes on a particular project. We want this insight to prompt you to really think about your own individual systems and processes and how you approach your work. Meet Kemet Worldwide, a Chicago-based subscription box service featuring African cuisines, that launched early last year. In their interview with ChicagoInno (written by our friend Tatiana Walk-Morris!) the service shared their mission to connect consumers with African culture through food, and support charities that uplift African communities. Take your dining experiences to a new level with Kemet Worldwide.


How did you come up with the idea for this particular project?

I started cooking Nigerian food with my mother at a young age. Growing up in a Nigerian household was my biggest inspiration in creating this product because I love my culture and wanted to spread it to the masses.


Why did you want to complete this project?

There aren’t many services that cater towards African cuisine and I wanted to give the cuisine the respect it deserves by highlighting the various foods that come from Africa. I hope that each person who tries our box gains an appreciation for a new culture, which inspires them to learn more about Africa and our rich culture.


[Tweet "Meet @kemetworldwide, a Chicago-based subscription box service featuring African cuisines."]


How did you plan out your work for this process?

I specifically chart out what goals need to be completed daily on a whiteboard. I draw everything out because it helps me visualize what I’m doing.


How did you stay organized during this process?

I use a combination of writing thing downs on paper and Google Calendar to stay organized. When ideas start to flow, I capture them via Evernote. Google’s entire suite of apps like Gmail and Drive helped me keep everything in a central location.


What were some of the challenges you faced during this process and how did you overcome them?

The most challenging part is product procurement for specific countries. We’re working to overcome it by developing partnerships with local African grocers in Chicago to find the specific ingredients.


How will this project impact your bottom line and how do you see it making an impact on your business as a whole?

This project will have a positive impact on our bottom line and business, because we’re the only subscription box focusing on bringing African culture mainstream, it gives us a unique advantage by giving our subscribers a cultural perspective on these dishes that they would otherwise not experience.

Check out the video below for a little behind the scenes fun we had while unboxing their product. Video shot by Vo Universal, subscribe to his YouTube channel to show your support.

Try out their first box, the Nigerian box, on their site now. Follow the company on Twitter and Instagram and share your favorite African recipes!

Are you a small business interested in working with #blkcreatives to promote your product or service? Email us at work@blkcreatives.com

No Cable? No Problem. Here's How To Watch Those Irresistible Shows on The OWN Network

No cable? That's not a problem. We're learning that being money conscious (remember, we're trying not to get over the spirit of broke) is more about how to keep more of your money as opposed to completely cutting out what you enjoy. One of the first slashes we may usually falls in line with entertainment, but we've found a way to watch our new favorite shows. We're HYPE for Love Is___ premiering on OWN TV this Tuesday, June 19th at 9pm. Fromaward-winning, legendary producers Mara Brock Akil (Girlfriends,BeingMaryJane,TheGame) and Salim Akil(BlackLightning), this series is set primarily in 1990s LosAngeles against the backdrop of BlackHollywood and follows Nuri (MicheleWeaver) and Yasir (Will Catlett),a couple from seemingly opposite worlds, as they chase their dreams and learn to follow their hearts. Watch the trailer below.

Even if you don't have the OWN Network (or even a TV), we're watching the show with Philo - a live-TV streaming service. All you need is a high-speed internet connection, an SMS-enabled mobile phone number, and a cell phone, TV or computer as the service works on desktop and through their mobile app. This streaming service has been one of the few services we've found that streams OWN so when we need our Queen Sugar or Super Soul Sunday fix, this is where we head.

There are no contracts, no commitments and you can cancel at any time and there's also channels like HGTV, BET, VH1, Paramount and MTV2. Want to give it a try? Sign up HERE to start your free trial AND get $5 off your first month. Packages start at just $16 per month.

[Editor's Note/Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, not in partnership with Philo.]

Why You Should Credit Artists and Photographers on Social Media

photographer credit on social media

photographer credit on social media

Photo Credit: Luca Bravo

Nothing is more irritating to us than seeing a dope, captivating photo on a large platform with over 15,000 likes and the source of the photo is unknown. The Internet has created unlimited opportunities for creatives, artists and photographers alike to make a substantial living.

It's been reported that as of September 2017, there are 800 million monthly active users on Instagram. For some, social media is a form of entertainment or empowerment but for others, it's a part of their sales funnel. Before you go rip a photo from someone's page to curate your finely crafted feed, some of our favorite photographers share why not crediting the creator is bigger than just a tag.

Because they work really hard on their sh*t!

credit photographers #blkcreatives

credit photographers #blkcreatives

“WE WORK HARD ON OUR SHIT AND WE DESERVE IT! (LOL) On a serious note, the audience of the person posting the photo/work may not know of the creator but like the work. In turn, this can lead to new eyes on your work and maybe future jobs and/or recommendations. Its happened for me on more than one occasion.

These days photographers pay close attention who they work with. If their work is posted with no credit, 13 times out of 10 you will see the artist/photographer comment stating they are the ones who did it. So a little comment searching can get you that info.”

Fred Daniels is a photographer who’s worked with major brands like Iman Shumpert, Evan Turner, Big10 Network, SLAM MAGAZINE + adidas Basketball. Learn more about his work here.

Because social media is not just entertainment (for them)...

credit photographers #blkcreatives Kim Thomas

credit photographers #blkcreatives Kim Thomas

“With social media being such a huge marketing and advertising tool right now, crediting/sourcing what you post helps to expand that creative’s reach, and could potential lead to work for them. I can’t count how many new client referrals I’ve received thanks to a client tagging me.

Many times, you can do a reverse image search on google and it may come up, especially if you originally found it through Pinterest and the images link winds up being a dud. For a lot of photogs, their info may be embedded into the photo’s meta data and will show if you’ve saved it to your desktop. Finally, you can always ask. I’ve seen people ask their following if they know the original source of an image so that they can credit properly, so there are many different ways to properly credit your sources.

Kim is is a lifestyle blogger + visual content creator. Learn more about her work here.

Because they are artists, and they're sensitive about their...

credit photographers #blkcreatives Dee Williams

credit photographers #blkcreatives Dee Williams

“For me, it is important to credit photographers on social media because it shows appreciation of someone’s work and intellectual property. It is out of respect to source ownership of anything published that doesn’t belong to you. Especially if the person/publication is large. That post can easily land us new opportunities. Absolutely one of my biggest pet peeves is seeing my work posted with out credit.

Use google image search to find the image source. If you still can’t find the image source include where you found the photos or “please tag artist” in your copy. There will always be someone who knows were the photo comes from. Once you find the artist, edit the copy or repost the photo with correct credits. There are way too many brands becoming popular from posting other people’s work without credit.”

Dee is a photographer and social media manager, capturer of color. Learn more about her work here.

Because they're recording our history...

credit photographers Joshua Kissi #blkcreatives

credit photographers Joshua Kissi #blkcreatives

"It's important to credit photographers and artists on social media because as the world changes it's important to note and reference the things we deem important. I think people don't realize that what we're seeing yesterday, today, and tomorrow is a part of history. If we don't document it we lose the importance of it all."

Joshua Kissi is a Creative Director & Photographer and Co-founder of TONL, a diverse stock photography and the Street Etiquette, a Content and Creative Agency.

Because it fuels their professional and personal growth...

credit photographers #blkcreatives Alexandria Wilson

credit photographers #blkcreatives Alexandria Wilson

"Not only are many of us extremely passionate about creating content - it's also how we make a living. Sharing and promoting on social media opens so many doors for creatives like myself, and it's truly saddening when I see artwork or professional photography floating around without giving proper credit to the creators. I'm always flattered when a brand shares my work, but it doesn't do much for my own growth if they don't even tag me. Several of my current clients found me through Instagram! It's probably just an afterthought for the average social media user, but we really have to start giving credit where it's due. Because bills are due. Besides the potential financial gains, these works of art come from our hearts. Attribution is such a simple way to show an artist that you support their mission and their craft.

I know it can be hard, and seemingly impossible, to trace uncredited work back to its owner. Sometimes, I'll drop a photo or file into Google's reverse image search (on desktop, not mobile.) No joke, I go to Google Images then drag and drop a photo into the search bar. It'll come up with results that are either identical or similar to the file. It doesn't always find what I'm looking for, but it's worth a shot and it has worked in the past. Other than that, I'd just leave a comment on the source photo and see if anyone knows who the artist or photographer is."

Alexandria Wilson is a Freelance photographer, journalist, and Multidisciplinary Creative. Learn more about her work here.

Because it may be their big break...

credit photographers Kenneth St. George #blkcreatives

credit photographers Kenneth St. George #blkcreatives

"I’d say that it’s important to credit photographers because in my viewpoint, we are always one photo away from our lives and careers changing for the better. One iconic photo can lead to a lifetime of opportunity and if you aren’t being properly credited you could miss out on said opportunity. On top of the fact that producing quality imagery is a true art and it takes time and energy to produce the art we deem viewable to the world."

Kenneth St. George is a photographer and visual storyteller. Find out more about his work here.

Because there's a smarter way...

credit photographers Danielle A Scruggs #blkcreatives

credit photographers Danielle A Scruggs #blkcreatives

"If you want to be truly informative to your audience, tell them where you sourced your information from. If I want to find out more about the artist and see more of their work, I have no way of doing that if the artist isn’t credited.

It’s important to credit and source artists and photographers because the awareness that comes from social media can open up opportunities for that creative. If a creative director or photo editor sees something they like but has no way of knowing who the artist is, that artist loses out an opportunity for a paid gig, to speak on a panel, to be included in a residency and so on and so forth. It also helps from a citation standpoint.

Also, sourcing the artist helps that artist in their own career. Crediting the artist ensures that if a creative director or photo editor has an opportunity for a paid assignment, to speak on a panel or a residency (or any number of things) they will know how to get in contact with that creative. And it’s just good practice to credit people for their labor.

If you come across great art and don’t know who it is, your best bet is reverse google image search. Either paste the URL or drag the image into the search bar and you will be able to find the source. It also helps to reach out to the artist and ask for their permission before positing their work as well. TinEYE is another resource I have used to source art.

Danielle A. Scruggs is a Photographer and Photo Editor at The Undefeated and is also the founder of #blackwomendirectors. Learn more about her work here.

A #blkcreatives Tip

If you're a photographer or artist who's work has been used and you haven't received credit, find the Senior Social Media Manager or Social Media Producer of the publication or brand by doing a search on LinkedIn or Twitter. Reach out via Twitter, LinkedIn or email. (Most social media managers are active on Twitter - here's an example of our Founder reaching out to someone)

Use the hashtag #blkcreatives to share your own creative business tips and insights. Join the conversation on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook.

A Growing List Of Black Mental Health Resources

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on EBONY.com, the author and Founder of #blkcreatives, has decided to continue this list here.

We know that opening up about mental health issues can save a life. While the stigma around the issue can often be swept under the rug in our communities, we are proud to know that there are institutions, organizations and individuals who are committed to helping us with this internal battle.

In honor of#MinorityMentalHealth Month, we’ve complied a list of Black owned and focused mental health resources.

[Interested in having your practice or offering added to the list? Email Melissa – melissa@blkcreatives.com, Sub: Mental Health Resource]


Dr. Eliza Belle – A Black licensed psychologist working in administration in a state psychiatric hospital as well as the owner of a private clinical practice in Birmingham, Alabama. Working to erase the negative stigma of mental illness (especially in the Black community) is her life’s passion, and she has committed to helping those in need to heal and grow.


Family Paths – (formerly Parental Stress Service) A non-profit organization of mental health professionals and dedicated volunteers that provides a number of mental health and supportive services to low income, multi-stressed individuals and families in Alameda County of the San Francisco Bay Area. Services include a 24-hour Parent Support Hotline, a Foster Parent Advice Line, CalWORKs Case Management, Positive Parenting Classes, and Family Yoga. They also provide counseling for children, adolescents, adults and families.

DMV (District Of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia)

AAKOMA (African American Knowledge Optimized for Mindfully Healthy Adolescents) – Addresses the depression and other mental health needs of African American and youth of color by developing and implementing rigorous, culturally relevant, patient centered, community-engaged research and clinical care. Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble is the Director of The AAKOMA Project and is also the Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Georgetown University Medical Center.

Harvesting Hope, LLC– A youth and family services program sowing seeds of hope in the community.  It works with a local high school to provide mentoring and peer leadership skills to the next generation of leaders and providing community based training opportunities to local youth and families in partnership with local community agencies.

SMR Counseling Services, Burtonsville, MD – SMR serves the needs of those who desire professional therapy outside traditional appointment hours and settings. Offices are located in Burtonsville, Maryland; Waldorf, Maryland; and Washington, D.C. The practice also serves as a training ground for those who desire to enter the field of counseling.

Synergy Wellness Therapeutic Services – Dr. Deidra A. Sorrell is a licensed professional counselor with 17 years of experience as a school psychologist in the DC public school system. She currently serve children, adults and families.

TherapyWorks by Angela Hill LLC – Angela has over 18 years experience in the field of counseling and therapy. Here passion is to support, assist, and empower individuals and families to live their best lives and have access to all community resources.


Coach Debbie Motivates – A focus on Existentialism, Art Therapy, Mindfulness, Infant Mental Health, Adverse Childhood Experiences, Epigenetics, and raising awareness to decrease stigma in our communities.

Florida Social Solutions – Founded in Orlando by Zeta Connor and her fiancé,  a Christian couple who not only believes in the power of God, and prayer, but also upholds a firm belief that with determination, the impossible CAN become possible. It provides clinical and case management services for individuals that struggle to gain self-sufficiency due to manifesting mental health disorders.


Heal With Crystal – Dr. Crystal Jones serves to hold space for transformative processes. In birth, she holds space as a holistic doula. In healing, she serves as an intuitive chiropractic healer. In transitions, she serves as an agent for intentional manifestation.


Changing Perspectives – A multidisciplinary behavioral health care practice centered on the evaluation of mental disorders, diagnostics, and preventative health care services from a multicultural perspective. Their mission is to help clients become a better version of themselves through empathy, understanding, and holistic mental health care.

Thriving with Baby – A new family support community ran by Nicole Woodcox Bolden M.S.W and her husband. Nicole is a social worker specializing in perinatal mental health (i.e Postpartum depression & Anxiety) and family coaching.


Small Talk Counseling & Consulting, LLC – The mission of Small Talk Counseling & Consulting Services is to provide quality therapeutic, educational, and social support services to individual adults, couples, families, and organizations through genuine, interpersonal and collaborative relationships and detailed personalized care.

New York

Counseling Space – A social work practice that aims to improve the quality of life for individuals  and communities who struggle with mental health conditions. Founded by Leslie M. Garcia, who has over 15 years of experience, it specializes in culturally aware and culturally competent-based services.

The Black Psychiatrists of Greater New York & Associates – A multi-cultural organization that seeks to expand access to psychiatric care for people of African descent and all people who are under-served.

North Carolina

SOLAY Counseling – Founded by Dr. Kamala Uzzell, is a private mental health practice with offices in two cities in North Carolina. One focus of the practice is providing accessible services for persons of color.  Dr. Uzzell is a licensed professional counselor supervisor and adjunct professor of counseling and psychology with 17 years of professional therapy experience.


Healing Hearts Counseling Center – An innovative client-centered counseling treatment for individuals who are in need of a safe place to heal. Its mental health professionals have extensive experience and have received hands on training  treating a diverse spectrum of issues including complex trauma, sex addiction & intimacy issues, love addiction, depression & other mood disorders, anxiety, grief and loss.


Finding The Foundation – Finding the Foundation was founded by Alisha Woodall, a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor with years of experience in client support. Her experience has exposed her to a broad selection of people, including adolescents and juveniles, adults, couples, as well as family systems and people suffering from addictions.

Online Resources

Dr. Joy-black-mental-health-resources

Dr. Joy-black-mental-health-resources

Therapy For Black Girl's Therapy Directory with Resources for Black Women. Created byDr. Joy Harden Bradford, Therapy for Black Girls is an online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls. Check out their podcast HERE.

Unapologetically Us – Unapologetically Us, launched in 2014is a lifestyle brand and online community designed for Black women. In this digital space, our platform is to responsibly inform, foster creativity and engage in thoughtful dialogue.

Educational Materials, Books and Podcasts

A Fight Worth Finishing – Written by mental health advocate and self help book author Jasmin Pierre, this book is based on her experiences with major depressive disorder and suicide, This two part series is written to encourage others to never give up, no matter the adversity and to always keep fighting till the finish.

Alice Berry is an artist and clinical counselor who specializes in the mental health challenges that artists and creatives face. She authored a study about African American artists and mental health, found here.

Black Disabled Woman Syllabus –  A living document that lists imperative information and resources about the Black disabled woman’s experience to educate, inform, and empower the public about the plight of this triple minority group including the areas of mental health and stigma.

Black Families In Therapy: Understanding the African American Experience

Highwater Podcast – The Artist’s Guide To Mental Health episode and Poet and Mental Health Advocate Bassey Ikpi #NoShameDay episode.

Relish Culinary Therapy – A blog founded by Kiara Whack that teaches people how to preserve your mental stability by implementing proper holistic nutrition. Recipes, food news, and other information about how to use food as medicine so we don’t have to frequent the doctor is present.

Rivers Are Coming – A classic compilation of essays and poems on healing from emotional wounds inflicted by depression and trauma, and celebrating the survival of being lost and discovering ones ability to live wholeheartedly. Author Minaa B. uses the river as a metaphor to solicit change, and extends an invitation to welcome the power of uncertainty into the lives of people so that we can be introduced to love, hope and healing, and to progress in an upward trajectory.

Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales Of Epic Humiliation by Aisha Tyler

The Siwe Project – A global non-profit started by Bassey Ikpi dedicated to promoting mental health awareness throughout the global black community. The goal of the organization is to widen the public dialogue regarding the lived experiences of people of African Descent with mental illness. By providing opportunities for dialogue and the uplifting of new narratives and discourse, The Siwe Project aims to encourage more people to seek treatment without shame.

[Interested in having your practice or offering added to the list? Email Melissa – melissa@blkcreatives.com, Sub: Mental Health Resource]

Trying To Get Your Money Right? Here Are 30+ Financial Resources Created By #blkcreatives

Whether you're trying to attack your limiting beliefs on money, get your student loans together, working on a raise or learning about investing, these #blkcreatives will help you get your money right.



Rent Track - Experian is now working with RentTrack to give renters an easy way to pay their rent and for those rent payments to show up on their credit report. (Note: We're not affiliated with this program in anyway but wanted to share this resource. Many of us are renters and every little bit counts, right?)

Activate Increase - Vonne Williams is an International Profit and Growth Coach, Inspirational Speaker, Tax Pro, Chronic Entrepreneur.

Adam Tolliveroffers comprehensive planning in the areas of life insurance, investments and retirement planning with New York Life. He is licensed and serving in 19 states nationwide, and currently serves as the Chief Ambassador in Greater Atlanta for the $50 Billion African American Community Empowerment Plan.

Al Pickett offers coaching on how to profit from the financial markets, predominately currencies, on a consistent basis.

Angela M. Moore, CFP®, CRPC®, CFEI - Financial Consultant at Charles Schwab

BAUCE Mag - A lifestyle site for the self-made woman. We create and curate content that helps ambitious women from multicultural backgrounds build their empires, achieve financial freedom, and look good while doing it.

Black Market Exchange - The #1 urban investment education site for millennials and aspiring investors that have been underserved.

BREAUX Capital - The first fintech startup and financial wellness tribe for Black Male Millennials. Where capital meets community.

Clever Girl Finance - A media platform that empowers and motivates women to take charge of their finances and lay a solid financial foundation for their future. The Clever Girl Finance Shop featuresThe Clever Girl Finance life planner, business planner, eBooks, financial worksheets & workbooks.

CreditHero - Founded by Nicole Sanchez, this app helps you improve your credit so that you can reach your financial goals.

*Crenshaw And Clark Financial - Tax, Accounting & Financial Planning in Crenshaw, CA by a CAU Alum.


Want to start saving money immediately? Every little bit helps. That's why we believe in the power of Digit! Learn more here.

Dominique Brown - A licensed financial advisor and REALTOR® who helps individuals and small businesses overcome their financial roadblocks to financial freedom.

Empify - Founded in 2013, was created to change the way people perceive themselves and the role of money in their lives. The org pours belief back into communities through financial education, inspiration, and implementation.

Faith And Finance - A certified Financial Educator with a passion for financial literacy.

Focused Spender - Kamilah is a Financial Manager by day and a Financial Coach/🎥YouTuber by night - debt free and building wealth.

Know Money Inc. exists to create money-savvy young adults across South Carolina. We provide financial education and entrepreneurship training to empower tomorrow's leaders to make sound financial decisions today.

Marcus Evan is a DC based Financial Planner.

Miss Diva Dollars - A blog about one woman's journey to being debt free and giving financial tips that have helped her along the way. She's also looking to get feedback from women about investing.

My Finances with Fran - A recent graduate of Eastern Illinois University who is an accountant for a Fortune 50 company. Since graduating, she has increased her credit score by 127 points, eliminated thousands of dollars in credit card debt while successfully living on 50% of her net income.

My Money Mogul - A personal finance expert with a passion to use her expertise to help other's become moguls over their money.

New Essence Enterprises, LLC - Provides Business Management, Accounting, Tax, and Insurance services to businesses, organizations, and individuals.

Radicle - An online collaborative investment company that believes with a little guidance, anyone can achieve their financial dreams.

Refined Currency provides information to women on finance and personal finance. Refined Currency believes that women should be in the conversation about finance just as much as men.

Start Young Financial Group - Latasha Kinnard is the Chief Freedom Builder at Start Young Financial Group and the #1 Amazon bestselling author of 20-Something & Rich.

Student Loan 411 - A consulting and advisory services firm that specializes in student loan debt management.

Tara Jones - A Financial Coach, Educator and creator of Your Pretty Pennies with Tara Jones (YPP for short). Tara helps women become financially stable to build wealth and better lives.

Tela Holcomb - A Trading and Investment Coach, that can teach you how to break free of your 9 to 5, create a monthly income and build a financial legacy through trading and investing in the stock market.

The Budgetnista - Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche is an award-winning teacher of financial empowerment and is quickly becoming America's favorite, personal financial educator.

The Finance Bar -  A personal finance suite and mobile hub bridging the gap between individuals and financial wellness.

The Fly Financial -  Based out of New York, New York; strives to equip young professionals with financial education power to build wealth and maintain it. Founder Roxanne Duquesnay is living her dream of assisting the 95%, or middle class, with the opportunity to become part of the 5%.

The Key Resource - On a mission to change the perception of what a Real Estate Investor is supposed to look like by encouraging and empowering millennials to invest in Real Estate.

Timil Jones - An entrepreneur, mother and real estate investor with a passion for helping women build wealth for themselves and their families.

Tisa L. Silver - An educator, philanthropist, and the award-winning author of The Time Value of Life, with a passion for inspiring others to become lifelong learners and community servants. Tisa is the current Director of Financial Education and Wellness at University of Maryland, Baltimore.


, a for-purpose, holistic crowdfunding platform

and community organization 

founded by millennial women of color

, empowers and supports underrepresented millennial entrepreneurs & visionaries through crowdfunding, community partnerships, and small business education.

Wealth Noir

- A site dedicated to help you go from just earning an income to building real wealth. Launching this summer, Wealth Noir will provide articles, reviews, tips & tricks, and tools to improve your financial literacy.

Wealthy Money, helps travelers, nomad, journeyers and expats create wealth holistically and make money doing what they love. We provide the emotional, psychological, spiritual and practical tools - written content, eCourses and retreats - for fellow adventurers to live the life they truly want, see the world, become debt free, save for retirement and start building an investment portfolio.

Young Yet Wise with Candice Marie - Your personal finance friend that wants you to flourish this year.

Your Financial Stylist - Carrie Pink is a financial lifestyle blogger, finance coach/consultant, speaker, and mom of five who loves teaching women like you how to blur the lines between frugal and fabulous in your closets, wallets, and everyday lives.

Pitching Editors? Here's How To Get Prepared

LaToya "Toi" Cross is an experienced storyteller and editor.  Today, Toi shares some valuable insight for writers on preparing your pitches for editors.

LaToya Cross pitching editors #blkcreatives

LaToya Cross pitching editors #blkcreatives

It’s not an easy task, but it’s a necessary one. We’re in such a creative space of socio-politics, activism and innovation, and honestly, who doesn’t want to get their message or product out to the masses. For the writer who has the vision but not-so-much the tools needed to see it soar into fruition, don’t trip.  That’s where I come in. In this quick guide, I’ll break down the steps to follow when pitching an editor. Who am I to tell you the moves? Let’s just say I have a bit of experience in this area.

Having to sell your idea in a sweet, concise letter to an editor is hella nerve wrecking but if you’re about good results, you better get to putting in that action. Here are a few key notes when initiating dialogue with an editor.

  • Editors are always looking for fresh voices and refreshing perspectives. There are a million ideas floating out there, choose one (*insert Swizz Beatz voice “On to the next one”) or three or however many and tweak that bad boy with your unique approach. Think about what will make your angle different. Do some digging around your topic and jot down what will make your stance/interview pop.

  • Dig Deeper: Think visually too! Since the digital space is dominating, what multimedia elements could further illustrate your story?

If you’re introducing something totally new, be sure that it matches the tone and readership of the publication you’re looking to pitch. Which brings us to point dos.

.@TeenVogue IS LOOKING FOR FRESH VOICES TO FEATURE AS FREELANCE WRITERS. Pls send pitches+writing samples to Melanie_Mignucci@condenast.com

— Elaine Welteroth (@ElaineWelteroth) May 6, 2017

Looking for more writing opps? Follow/Like our Facebook page!

Know the publication.  As a former writer and editor of a national publication with a very direct demographic, you’d be surprised at  how many pitches I received that failed to identify with the core of our content focus and audience.  Your pitch should align with the culture of the publication, so this is where research comes into play.  It is important to know the pub’s tone,  nature of their content, and core readership base.  

Dig Deeper: A good way to uncode the outlet’s magic, is tapping into the platform’s social media pages.  How do they connect with readers and convey messaging? What kind of conversations are being stirred in their comment sections? Does feedback differ on specific accounts - i.e. Are voices on their IG more laid-back than readers’ opinions  on their FaceBook or Twitter account?  

Read the website and/or magazine.  Go beyond the homepage and study the topics being covered and how they are covered, not only to learn their style, but to also make sure you’re not pitching an idea or individual (celebrity, public figure etc.) that was recently featured.  Remember the key word here is 'fresh' -- a refreshing perspective.

 Don’t be lazy. If you’re pitching your story to multiple publications, addressing the WRONG one in your email  is an ultimate no-no. Yes, this has happened numerous times and the pitch or note gets dismissed quickly. This not only shows that your “copy and paste” game is weak, it shows that you didn’t take the time to personalize your message to properly fit the media outlet. Therefore, any authenticity that may have initially existed, has taken flight. This also goes for spelling and grammar within your email.  Misspelling someone’s name, may come as human error, but that’s another reason as to why you can’t bypass proofreading your copy before hitting that “send” button.  If you don’t care about the presentation of your work, then why should anyone else?  

Ok, so you’ve done the pre-game work. Now, it’s time to put it all together and curate a bomb and creative pitch letter.  Keep it detailed, but brief.  Offer a brief introduction stating who you are and why you’re reaching out to the publication and specific editor . Be sure that the focus of your piece is clear. And don’t shy away from showing some personality.  

Dig Deeper: Tone plays heavy in the email-chain, so make sure that you’re exuding the right energy and your article idea is mapped out: potential sources; if it’s an op-Ed, be sure your argument/perspective is clear.

Also, provide links to previous work. If  you’re just entering the writing field and have no clips to share, I’d suggest sharing a creative writing piece or providing a sample intro to the idea you’re pitching.

Happy pitching! It’s a hustle, but it pays to dream proactively.  

LaToya "Toi" Cross is an experienced storyteller and editor who produces content to share, learn & analyze the creative, social & psychological world that surround us all. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter.

Our Duty, Their Greatness: Coretta Scott King

“I want people to know that I was committed to leaving an eternal flame, built on love, that would never be extinguished. I wanted this flame to touch lives, communities, and nations. I wanted it to be an urgent call to community and public service. My story is a freedom song from within my soul. It is a guide to discovery, a vision of how even the worst pain and heartaches can be channeled into human monuments, impenetrable and everlasting.” - Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King blkcreatives

Coretta Scott King blkcreatives

Here at #blkcreatives, we believe in not just sharing our stories, but also stories from our ancestors. Being Black and creative in this country, didn't just start with the rise of the Internet, we've been creating a way out of no way for centuries. We've featured nods to greats like Harold Washington and  Muhammad Ali on our Instagram feed and now we want to take it a step further with our new feature 'Our Duty, Their Legacy'.

Why the focus on those that came before us?

Because they sacrificed and fought for us to be where we are now, and that should be honored. It's our responsibility to continue to build together and make real change as homage to them.

Today would have been Coretta Scott King's 90th birthday. Our Founder, Melissa Kimble wrote about her legacy for EBONY Magazine:

Even in today’s times, Black women’s contributions can tend to be overlooked. The most dangerous part about this particular form of erasure is that it doesn’t give us a full picture of who we are and where we’re headed. If we’re not careful, it can undo our progress. Released just one day after #MLKDay, a holiday whose existence was catapulted by King herself, the pioneer gives us a powerful inside look into her world and her life.

Read the full story here and purchase her book below!

Coretta Scott King book

Coretta Scott King book

[#blkcreatives Chat Guest Post] When Should I Work For Free?

Before we take a dive into Monday night's #blkcreatives Twitter chat on Freelance Life, guest Tatiana Walk-Morris takes a look at one of the most controversial topics in our industry: working for free. Her blog, The Freelance Beat explores the triumphs and challenges that freelance journalists encounter in their early and mid-careers. Her post 'Questions To Ask Before Working For Fee' tackles an issue that we've all faced at some point in our careers.

#blkcreatives-chat-Tatiana Walk-Morris

Guest Post by Tatiana Walk-Morris

The media business, meaning journalism, film, radio, television and the like, thrives off of free work. Don’t believe me? Look around. From unpaid interns to bloggers to using citizen journalists’ photos and videos on social media for free, the media business has used people who provide free photos, stories, audio, videos and so on in their content production, sometimes in exchange for “credit” or “exposure” but other times not.

As a freelancer, I think of my bottom line as though I am a publisher. If I can’t monetize the journalism I produce, I can’t pay for my office (i.e. my apartment/home office), my supplies, or anything else needed to report and write quality stories. Therefore, I’m adamantly opposed to working for free, because—like everyone else, particularly the same people who ask people to work for free—I need money to support myself.

I can’t tell you whether to work for free, but I can tell you that your time and your skills have value. And when one outlet or client won’t pay, another will. If someone approaches you for free work, here are the things you need to consider:

  1. Can you actually afford it? The ability to pay for something and the ability to afford it are two different concepts. Paying for something simply means you have the funds to cover an expense, but affording something is being able to cover an expense without screwing up the rest of your finances.

Read the full blog post HERE and join us Monday for our next #blkcreatives Twitter chat!

Question: Should '4/20 Pics' Be Shared On Social Media?

Most consider today a cultural holiday - 4/20, the day set aside for special recreational activities. As creatives we take different approaches to finding inspiration or getting ourselves in the mindset to create.  Some approaches are traditional and some....well are not so traditional and even considered illegal in some states. We're all for creative expression but in reality, there ARE some practices that are frowned upon when you're trying to move up in the professional world. And every part of your life doesn't need to be shared on social media.

Is this something that people are negatively over analyzing or should we keep these things private? Should you share your 4/20 Celebration pics?

We're a big believer in not telling you what's right or wrong for you own life - it's up to you to decide. One thing we can't ignore is that perception IS everything and publicly participating in cult classics such as 4/20 has it's pros and cons - so let's open up the floor for dialogue.

Connect with us on Twitter to share your thoughts and check out a few Black owned cannabis brands that we follow.



EstroHaze, founded by Sirita Wright, Safon Floyd, and Kali Wilder is a multi-media platform that provides cannabis business, lifestyle, and career resources tailored to women of color that's set to officially launch this year. Learn more about them here.

Marley Natural

Marley Natural 4/20

Marley Natural is the official cannabis brand of Bob Marley. Each of their offerings is a direct reflection of the Marley ethos that integrates nature’s goodness with a belief in the positive potential of herb. As agents of change, the company promotes positivity, connectivity, and personal transformation. Learn more about the brand here.


As 4/20 Rolls Around, It’s High Time We Had Sensible Marijuana Policy via EBONY


Even though both Blacks and Whites use marijuana at similar rates, weed arrests (on average 750,000 per annum) accounted for nearly half of all drug arrests each year.  Not only that but African Americans are much more likely than Whites to be stopped and frisked, arrested, prosecuted and incarcerated based on drug law violations. These higher rates have nothing to do with increased use or sales of drugs in our communities, but are attributable rather to law enforcement honing specifically in on communities of color in urban areas. Read more at EBONY.

Jay Z: ‘The War on Drugs Is an Epic Fail’ via The New York Times


Why are white men poised to get rich doing the same thing African-Americans have been going to prison for? Here's the story behind the video by asha badele for The New York Times.

The Reality of Diversity and The Pepsi Reminder for #blkcreatives

We already know that diversity is a hot button topic in the creative field, especially when it comes to media, tech and design. This is an issue that is consistent and while it's easy to talk about it, we'd like to do the work of uncovering solutions. Of course, we can't fix the industry pains in one swoop but one thing we can focus on? Ourselves.

Since the Red Lobster fail around Beyonce's formation, we've been aware that positioning ourselves is more important than waiting on others to put us in place. The issue that we're finding, is that when we DO get the opportunities to speak up and out (outside of Twitter), we don't. Chasity Cooper reminds us that this shouldn't be the case. In her piece on Pepsi's latest ad fail, cousin Chas highlights the brand's missteps while prompting us to be accountable for self:

I can guess that there was probably one (maybe two) black ad or public relations executives present during the brainstorming stage of this project. Unfortunately because there continues to be a lack of our voices in positions of management at creative agencies and major corporations, here we are. This is so much bigger than diversity and inclusion, but it speaks to the necessity of adequate representation when it comes to marketing and advertising to communities of color. My fellow #blkcreatives - let this be a lesson to us all. If something doesn’t sit right with us in the planning meeting, it’s not going to sit right with our peers who have to watch/read/listen to the end result. If you see something, please don't be afraid to say something. 

And there you have it. While it may be easy to shrink when you're the only person of color in the room, show up as your FULL self.

[Tweet "Being the only POC in the room, is not grounds for you to shrink #blkcreatives."]

Read Chasity's full article here.

The (Ever-Growing) List of Books That You Should Have

Looking to step your productivity, personal development or business acumen? It starts with a book. Here's a (growing) list of books by Black leaders that you should read. (Have books you want to add to this list? Send us a tweet.)

Autobiographies, Fiction + Memoirs

A Deeper Love Inside: The Porsche Santiaga Story (Sequel To The Coldest Winter Ever) by Sister Souljah. But it here.

Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells. Buy ithere.

Bliss by Danyel Smith. Buy it here and (BONUS!) read our interview with her here



Buck: A Memoir by MK Asante. Buy it here

To Be Young Gifted & Black by Lorraine Hansberry. Buy it here

Twenties Unscripted: A Journey of Womanhood, Writing and Relavitiy by Tyece Wilkins. Buy it here.

Activity Books To Ease Your Mind

I Love My Hair: A Coloring Book of Braids, Coils, and Doodle Dos by Andrea Pippins. Buy it here.

Writing the Layers: A Self-Discovery Workbook by GG Renee. Buy it here.

Business Advice From Those Who Understand Your Fight

Building Atlanta: How I Broke Through Segregation to Launch a Biz Empire by Herman J. Russell. Buy it here.

Confidence Your Secret Weapon: A Guide to Building Confidence by Ashley Korin McLean. Buy it here.

Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness: A Young Entreprenuer’s Guide To Thinking & Being Great by Anthony Frasier. Buy it here and (BONUS!) read an excerpt from the book here. You're welcome!



Get Your Life! The Transforming Power of Turning Fate Into Fortune by Kareem Taylor. Buy it here and (BONUS!) check out our reviewhere.



How to Succeed in Business Without Being White: Straight Talk on Making It in America by Earl Graves (founder of Black Enterprise) Buy ithere

Make It Happen: The Hip-Hop Generation Guide to Success byKevin Liles. Buy it here.

Succeeding Against The Odds: The Inspiring Autobiography Of One Of America's Wealthiest Entrepreneurs by John H. Johnson (founder of EBONY and JET Magazine). Buy it here and (BONUS) read excerpts from the book by our Founder here. 

Think and Grow Rich: A BLACK Choice by Dennis Kimbro. Buy it here

Community Driven Work

This Ain’t Chicago: Race, Class, & Regional Identity in the Post-Soul South by Zandria Robinson. Buy it here.

When You're Ready To Get Real With Relationships (Either with someone else or yourself)

A Woman’s Quest To Self Love by Amber Janae. Buy it here.

Black Seeds: The Poetry and Reflections of Tariq Toure by Tariq Toure. Buy it here.

Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole. Buy it here

Dear Love: A love letter to you by Ashley M. Coleman. Buy it hereand (BONUS!) read her amazing advice to writers here.



Oxygen by AsiahMae. Buy it here.

Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom by Queen Latifah. Buy it here.

SO SWEET: A Sugar Baby Novella by Rebekah Weatherspoon. Buy it here.

Words from a Wanderer by Alex Elle. Buy it here and (BONUS!) read our interview with her here.



Have books you want to suggest or add to the list? Tweet us

10 Mentalities That Will Keep Creatives Broke

"Being broke" is not just a monetary position, it is a mindset. Everything that we create in our lives begins in the mind. Where we are and where we are headed is all shaped by the story we tell ourselves every day. Let's get unstuck by attacking the schools of thought that keep us stagnant.

10. You equate your value and your worth with money.

Now money is important but it's our perspective of it that can make or break us. Yes you may not have a lot of money at the moment but guess what? That doesn't mean you're not smart. That doesn't mean that things won't change. It doesn't mean that you're not a good person. It doesn't mean that you don't deserve to get what you want. It is a tool. And whether you have a small amount of tools or a large amount, you ALWAYS have something to work with. Even if it's just $5 there are things you can do to move yourself forward.  

9. You don't take yourself seriously.

You use words like 'aspiring' or 'trying' or 'thinking' instead of defining who you are, doing the work that fulfills that role and creating a plan that will help you execute. If you don't position yourself as someone to be taken seriously, why should anyone else? We set the intention of who we are before anyone else. 

[Tweet "We set the intention of who we are before anyone else. #blkcreatives"]

8. You consume someone else's information in place of taking the time to learn yourself.

The amazing thing about the Internet is that you can find information on ANYTHING you want to do. But the problem arises when we begin to step over what we know and replace that with an someone's insight. This can dampen our intuition. You have your own unique set of experiences that have taught you valuable pieces of insight about yourself and the world around you. Go back and think about your toughest times - what did they reveal to you? Acquiring knowledge is great but acquiring knowledge about who you are - your strengths and your weaknesses and how you operate can help you make the best decisions for YOU and your journey. 

7. You don't believe in yourself.

And because you don't believe that you can live the life you want to live, you release the power you have over your life. Talent and skillset will only get you so far. It's what you think about yourself that determines if you can sustain it. Those thoughts create accountability for the life you want to shape for yourself. Without any accountability, you lose out on owning your worth. And like Erica once told us on Twitter, "Success equals responsibility." 

[Tweet "success = responsibility - @Twelve45_ #blkcreatives"]

6. You spend so much time cheering on and investing in others, that you neglect to do the same for yourself.

As a result of that, you're drained, you're not making time to restore yourself and you're neglecting your needs. It's great to be supportive of others - in fact that's what we're about - but if you do at at the expense of losing yourself, you are already defeated. Your dreams need ALL of your energy, all of your mind, body and spirit to manifest. 

5. You think that where you are in your life right now is based on lack instead of timing.

"I don't have this amount of money because I didn't pick the right major in college." "I can't grow my business because I don't have any money." "I never have enough time to do what I really want to do." Sound familiar? If you're constantly thinking of what you do NOT have how are you going to make the best out of what you do have? For his recent feature on Complex Hustle, Julian Mitchell shared that "what you produce will always outweigh what's on your resume." That means you don't have to waste thinking about "what's missing" because all that matters is the work that you create. Work with your head down, knowing that everything happens when it's supposed to.

[Tweet "You have to trust the timing of your life. #blkcreatives"]

4. You don't ask for help nor do you express yourself. 

How are we supposed to know that you want to write a book if you're never writing anything? How are we supposed to know that you're looking for a new job if you never tell anyone? You'd be surprised at how simple, yet effective it is to speak about what you desire out loud. Talking about your work and sharing it on your personal platform makes you an expert at your ideas and opens up the doors for opportunities and collaborations. But that can only happen if you're vocal about them. Whether it's about love, opportunities, or money, this 'playing small' mindset doesn't serve you. If you don't do this, ask yourself right now, why am I afraid to say something? 

3. You seek validation externally. 

There's no amount of praise that will fulfill you, if you don't find that fulfillment within yourself. The challenge with letting other people, employers, lovers, and friends, validate you and what you stand for is that when they have to leave or the experience has to come to an end, what will you do? Success is often an internal effort. No one can achieve it for you, you have to define that level and reach it by your own actions. Your support system needs something to support. Don't confuse that principle by thinking that you need approval from any one or anything to be who you are called to be.

2. You underestimate the time it takes to become successful and quit on yourself too early. 

Change doesn't happen all of a sudden. It's your DAILY commitment to growth that makes a difference. You can't rush the process because every part of the process serves a purpose (whether we like it or not). So you think that one month, or several months or even several years means that you will automatically be successful but it takes time: Time to know yourself, time to test our ideas and projects, time to build connections and time spent actually working (not thinking, or planning) that will take you to the next level. That 10,000 hours theory is not a joke. In case you haven't read it yet, this book by Malcolm Gladwell breaks down it down for you. Entitlement won’t win the war but execution will.

1. You spend more time talking yourself out of something instead of doing the actual work.

When you begin to think all of the reasons why you shouldn't do something or why you can't do something, combat those thoughts with what you're capable of. What's in you is greater than anything you can face, just take the first step. 

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