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.

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."]

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 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

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.

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

— 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.

[#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

The Non-Negotiable Conversation All Creatives Must Have

As a Creator, you're most valuable tool in your arsenal is protecting your energy. While many of us can create just for the sake of creating out of love, love doesn't ensure that you're financially taken care of. 
[Tweet "Love doesn't ensure that you're financially taken care of."]
In your initial conversation before working on any project or experience, you MUST bring up the aspect of compensation. Even if the project or opportunity is something that you're doing for free (which, if we're honest, can sometimes happens) both parties should be clear on what each is gaining from this exchange. 
It's best to always be vocal about what you're willing to do and not do when discussing the scope of work. Nothing drains you more than spending time - you're most important resource - on a project and not being compensated because you neglected to speak up about it. It's just better to NOT assume these things: 
[Tweet "Reminder: Time is your most important resource. #blkcreatives"]
  • Don't assume that someone is going to pay you, make your demands clear from the start. 
  • Don't assume that because your intentions are good and you do great work, that people will want to pay you.
  • Don't assume that because you've worked with someone before or have a relationship with them, they already know your compensation rules. 
  • Don't assume that people know your situation or circumstances and want to monetarily provide help - it's not anyone's job to take care of you. Compensation is your responsibility. 
  • Don't assume that because you're offering something new (whether it's a new service, new project or you're on a new path altogether) that people will pay for it. 
Think about how much we like free stuff. It's important to remember that no matter what level you're at professionally, you are offering up VALUE each and every time you enter into an agreement. 
RESOURCE: Check out Sakita Holley's #hashtagsandstilettos podcast episode on Negotiation.