If you’ve spent some time scrolling through Instagram or Twitter, you’ve probably stumbled across the hashtag #BlackGirlMagic and wondered what it meant. Well, it all started back in 2013 when feminist writer CaShawn Thompson started using the hashtag to highlight the achievements and overall awesomeness of black women.
“I say ‘magic’ because it’s something that people don’t always understand,” Thompson said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “Sometimes our accomplishments might seem to come out of thin air, because a lot of times, the only people supporting us are other black women.”
Since then, #BlackGirlMagic has turned into a movement, complete with merch and celebrity support from the likes of Amandla Stenberg and Solange Knowles. In keeping with the spirit of #BlackGirlMagic and celebrating dope, inspirational black women, we thought we’d put our own spin on it by highlighting some black, female-identifying Patreon creators who are making waves right on this very platform.
Today, Issa Rae is a bonafide star with a successful HBO show (that she produces, writes, and stars in), Golden Globe and Emmy nominations, and a best-selling book under her belt. However, she first gained popularity with her web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, which was supported in part by her Patreon membership business. Today, Issa Rae Productions leverages Patreon to put on networking events and help other talented creators make great content via her COLOR CREATIVE initiative.
Like many women, Sassy Latte contains multitudes. She’s a body and sex-positive feminist, a mother and an activist. She’s also a creator, using Patreon a platform to “facilitate open discussions about socio-politics in safe spaces juxtaposed against dope ass selfies.”
If that’s not a mic drop of a profile description, we don’t know what is. In addition to her “undying love and gratitude,” Sassy Latte patrons get access to her videos, vlogs, discussion polls and more – but you do need to be 18+ to subscribe to her work. You can also get a feel for her style and creative vision on her gorgeous (and also NSFW) Instagram at @sassy_latte.
N.K. Jemisin is an award-winning author of science fiction, fantasy novels and short stories. She’s so badass, “award-winning” is almost selling her short. In 2018, she became the first author to win three Hugos in a row for her Broken Earth series of novels. You can check out more of her work here.
When Jemisin started her Patreon, she had a full-time job and a writing career and was struggling to balance the two. Now, thanks to her patrons, she’s been able to quit her day job and live her best life as a full-time writer.
Layla Saad is a widely read writer, a globally sought speaker and a popular podcast host. As a black Muslim woman, much of her work explores the intersections of race, spirituality, feminism and leadership. “My work is driven by a powerful desire to become a ‘good ancestor’; to live and work in ways that leave a legacy of healing and liberation for those who will come after I am gone,” she explains on her Patreon page.
Through the support of her patrons, Saad has been able to bring on a professional producer and transcription service for her podcast, provide donations to financially insecure women and gender-non-conforming folks, and pursue her writing and other creative endeavours full-time.
When it comes to diversity, the video game industry gets a failing grade. In fact, a recent study from the International Game Developers Association found that 74% of workers are cis males, 61% are white/Caucasian/European and 81% are heterosexual.
Tanya DePass is trying to change that. She started her non-profit, I Need Diverse Games, to lift up the underrepresented people in gaming by highlighting their work, helping them attend conventions and conferences, and speaking at conventions on issues of diversity. If you support her work on Patreon, you can gain early access to articles, choose topics for video blog posts and more.
By day, Shay Stewart-Boulet is a self-described “non-profit admin extraordinaire," heading up the oldest continuously running anti-racist organization in the United States, Community Change Inc. By night, she’s the digital creator behind Black Girl in Maine, an award-winning creative enterprise that includes a digital space for in-depth discussions on racism and white supremacy, a blog and public talks. Her Patreon membership business has helped her to grow and sustain her business; allowing her to bring on paid freelance writers and cover the costs of her recently launched podcast, “You Don’t Know the Half”.
Nerds of Prey podcast started as a labor of love for its creators, Shannon, Cameron, Lauren and Mel – four black women with a passion for all things nerdy. Since 2016, the four have been bringing their audience a fresh perspective on comics, gaming, anime, movies, television, cosplay, and more on a biweekly basis.
Today, they’re looking to take their brand to new heights. In the future, they hope to create more content and add paid contributors to the team. They’re also looking to travel to more conventions, produce merchandise, and even host events. And thanks to Patreon, they’re getting close to achieving their goals.
Mikki Kendall is a prolific writer, diversity consultant and “occasional feminist” whose work covers a wide of topics including media representation, police brutality, food insecurity and other issues impacting marginalized people. Her fiction writing has shown up in comics, books and even on television.
Currently, she’s working on a pretty dope project: a feminist comic book history of women's rights, from the ancient world to modern times. In the future, she plans to launch a monthly fiction podcast and publish an annual book of collected stories. P.S. if you become a patron of hers, you’ll get sneak peeks of the artwork for her upcoming book, as well as access to recipes, flash fiction and other kinds of content.
QueerWOC: The Podcast started as a Tumblr page back in 2013. Now it has grown into a community space for lesbians, bisexual, queer and trans women of color to come together and celebrate their “lives, loves, and laughs”.
Hosted by Money and Nikeeta, a family therapist and community organizer respectively, the two hope to leverage Patreon to sustain the podcast and also grow the brand by producing merchandise and hosting in-person meetups.
With the success of Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” and “Us”, black horror has been thrust into the spotlight. While his name has become almost synonymous with the genre, there’s plenty of other black writers out there who are creating incredible work.
That’s where NIGHTLIGHT comes in. This podcast features horror written exclusively by black authors. They use Patreon to raise money to pay the writers and voice actors who bring the work to life.
From film to fiction, podcasts to socio-political vlogs, these are just a few of the many incredible black women producing amazing projects and platforms. And with the support of Patreon and their communities of supporters, they’ve been able to turn their creative endeavours into sustainable businesses and ultimately, put a little more #BlackGirlMagic into the world.