I am so excited to share something so powerful with you all right now! You all know I love sticking to lighthearted and positive content but today I cannot stress how important it is to dive deep into our current issues. To do this I have enlisted the help of one of my favorite bloggers, Tayla Santos of @taylasnts, to share with you all her experiences over the past few days, from just chaos to silver linings! I have asked her to answer a few questions below as a way to help raise awareness and educate us all on what is happening and what we can do!
What is your mission in the influencer industry and how long have you been growing your personal brand?
I’ve been blogging for a few years now and I am all about transparency. On my platform, I strive to communicate the realest, most true version of who I am, all while sharing aesthetic OOTD’s, remaining open about my faith, and any other topics I feel strongly about along the way.
I’ve always wanted to be part of the fashion community, it’s been my dream! However, I didn’t know exactly how, or where, I fit in! I, for sure, wanted to share my own personal style and life story. I thought blogging was a great way to make my mini mark under this huge umbrella industry of fashion.
Fashion was my dream, but there is so much more to me that I want to share and document. Scrolling through my blog and Instagram you will find things from my personal walk with God, all the way down to the crazy/ goofy moments in my day to day life!
Can you tell me of specific ways you personally have been marginalized in content creation and social media before this past week?
**sighs** I knew this question would be here somewhere haha.
This industry can really be a pain in the ‘you know what’! I always felt like there wasn’t enough diversity in the “Style Blogger” Industry. There was always that tiny bit of resentment any time I’d find myself scrolling on the Explore page on instagram and only see white faces. Yeah, the posts were in my fashion niche, but nobody looked like me! Where are my Brown girls at!? I would search the hashtags looking for more brown/black bloggers to follow but I could have sworn Instagram was hiding them from me.
I would reach out to brands to work with them after some friends would tell me they just got a great collab with them and I would quickly get the “we aren’t taking any collaborations at the moment” reply. Like seriously? -.- ok. You can’t help feel like the only reason you aren’t getting these jobs is BECAUSE the color of your skin. Then you go to the brands instagram feed and it’s all confirmed when there isn’t a single POC featured on their page.
The first collaborative style page I followed (and I bet if you are a style lover on instagram, you follow them too) was @americanstyle. It was like a mini goal of mine to be posted on there one day. Then I realized…they don’t post Girls of Color on there at all. I called them out on it today **shoulder shrug** well see what happens lol. (even sent them a few of my fave Black style bloggers lol)
What, exactly, do you believe are the short-term goals (as opposed to the long term goals) of the current riots alongside the #BlackLivesMatter movement?
First off, I want to say that I do not stand with the riots. I am ALL FOR the protests and delivering a clear and concise message. However, I will never be one to stand behind violence and destruction. With this being said, I do understand the message these rioters believe they are sending. They are trying to shed light on the fact that this is THEIR community just as much as it is our white neighbors. Black people built this country so I think that by Looting and rioting, they are sending out that reminder.
The peaceful protests are POWERFUL! I went to one myself and was moved in so many ways. The Black community has a voice that needs to be heard. There is so much power behind coming together and delivering ONE strong message. The hate in this world is going to tear us apart if we don’t take action.
I stand with BLACK LIVES MATTER 100%. I saw something on Instagram the other day that said something like ‘when a house is on fire, you don’t see the fire department hosing down the rest of the neighborhood. You see them helping the house that is on fire!’. Our Black communities are on fire and we need to help them! Remember that phrase “WWJD” (what would Jesus do)? I think Luke 15 answers that for us.
Luke 15: 3-7 :
“3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
The Black community is hurting right now, so our job is to help heal them so they are treated as equals with the remaining 99. Jesus loves us all the same people! My first source for any research I do, is the bible! Goes right back to that phrase when we were younger…WWJD (what would Jesus do). He is not happy with the divide that has been going on for years. I can guarantee that.
Tell us about some of the ways these events are affecting you or the people you know.
This is a heavy question for me because I feel like I am affected in multiple ways during this time. If you follow me on instagram, you know that my father is an officer and I do come from a family of police officers and law enforcement. I did not choose to be black, the same way I did not choose to be born into a family of law enforcement.
Watching the news and seeing my family members on the front lines, knowing they also stand with their black brothers and sisters is so tough. It’s been long and endless nights in my household right now as protests, rioting and looting carries on throughout the streets in my city. It’s scary. We have people fighting for all different things during this time and it’s hard because these protests are not just asking for one thing anymore.
You have some who are demanding justice for George Floyd, some who are at war against cops and want to abolish law enforcement, and some who are trying to bring down systemic racism all together. I feel like we need to focus on one, like Systemic racism, and strategically and effectively protest that! Everyone should be treated equally and yes we do need to reevaluate our system and make some changes. I 100% agree. Our judicial system is messed up and it disgusts me on so many different levels. However, we need to really focus on how we can make that extremely clear to the people who are so so blind to it.
What is something positive you have seen in the past week that will hopefully push us in the right direction?
I’m such a silver lining type of gal lol. I always look for the positives so i’m really glad you asked this because it really allows me to pause and reflect on the past couple days. With everything that’s going on, people are finally starting to notice that there is not enough black representation on social media and the blogger industry. Over the past 3 or 4 days, my account has been shared on many many different platforms and in under a week, I have gained over 7k followers.
What’s crazy about that to me is that back in May, I prayed to God and asked him that “if it is his will for me to be in this industry, that he show me a clear sign”. Now I know you’re not supposed to reason with God, but the fact that not only did he allow me to reach my goal of 6k, but more than DOUBLED that number?! Thats crazy!! Ephesians 3:20 says it loud and clear “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
I know this may seem so stupid to some of the people readign this, but its so true. God has a plan for absolutely every one of his children. What the enemy intends for evil, God used for good. So much more is yet to be done and we WILL see a difference!! I have faith.
You are among a number of black content creators who have grown tremendously in recent days due to the many profile shares across instagram. Do you see this as the start to a permanent change for equality of recognition on social media platforms? How might this change not only the average news feed but also influencer industry consumerism?
To be totally honest, I’m 100% grateful for the growth this past week, but I really dont think this will change too much in the industry right away. I really pray it sticks and brands start to diversify their campaigns and marketing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it just dies back down and dwindles out again.
However, I do feel more comfortable calling brands out now. Haha I got a little bit of fire under my bum now lol. I believe I have every right to work with each and every brand that my fellow white bloggers are working with.
What are some of your preferred resources for news updates or donations during this time?
When it comes to what organizations I’m suggesting to donate to, I did some research into ones that may not be donated to as much. I know there are tons of them circulating instagram and twitter, so I researched some other smaller ones that could use a little extra love. Some are in Boston, but that’s only because I live here and I’ve been doing research to see how I can help locally.
http://www.wearemrrc.com/ – raising money to help rebuild the communities and businesses that were destroyed during looting and rioting.
https://yeskids.org/ – Inspires and challenges youth from low income families with physical and mental activities that foster life-long respect for self, others, and the environment.
https://blacklivesmatterboston.org/ – this organization works to organize and build Black power in Boston by supporting new Black leaders, creating a network where Black people feel empowered, and igniting communities to end state-sanctioned violence against Black people
This is a link with a bunch of other organizations where you can donate as well! Don’t be afraid to do your own research as well. Type in things like “how can i support the ‘Black lives matter’ movement in (insert city here).”
What are the best ways for people to help when they cannot afford to donate?
Raise your voice! Speak for those who have been speaking for themselves for years and aren’t being heard. Check in with your black friends and neighbors. Be there to listen to them and ask THEM what they need. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s ok to post something about the Black lives Matter movement and share posts. Be ok with being corrected when you are wrong. It’s ok for a black person to correct you and to educate you on something you do not know enough about. Be open for change and be willing to accept the change that’s coming….because it IS coming!
[Adelia here] Can I just say how AMAZING all this is – the promise for growth and real change for these beautiful souls. Thank you so much Tayla for being an amazing figure for content creators and consumers alike, and for the readers who made it this far, THANK YOU for supporting her voice and hearing what she has to say!
A & T