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Creative AF: The Reason Black Influencers Are Paid 35% Less Than Their Counterparts

By Sabrina Lynch

  • Black Influencers are typically paid 35% less than their white counterparts
  • The influencer marketing sector was worth $9.7B in 2020, and is expected to grow to $15B by 2022

The pay gap between white influencers and BIPOC alone is an unmerited 29%, and there is no reason for this discrepancy beyond tokenism that suited the corporate agenda in 2020. Additionally, no business seeks to be labelled as ‘siding’ with social media platforms who are practicing shadow banning of non-white creators. Black creators know their gravitas, and yet are continually having their value undermined, leading to them to cancel the same social media platforms who are dependent on their content to fuel growth with the influencer marketing sector expected to reach $15 billion by 2022.

Why This Matters:Influencers have quickly become a cornerstone of sales strategies, evidenced by marketers’ plans to increase their social media spend more than any other marketing channel. Last year in the wake of Black Live Matters resurgence, Black creators were able to charge brands $1,773 per sponsored post, a 1,375% increase compared to the average price of $129 they were charging beforehand. Black influencers feel that race has contributed to a constant barrage of offers that are way  below market value, typically carrying a 35% discrepancy in payment. To add insult to injury, creatives of Color are not even being presented with fees that can be negotiated, but instead offered products or gifts as part of a contra-deal. 

Moreover, consumers are flocking in droves to the content Black, Asian and Hispanic creators are developing. The private and public sector see the results including successful videos, photos and reels made for organizations creating real impact and remarkable digital performance. Offering minuscule fees to creatives of color paired with biased content strategy utilized by large social media platforms appears to be the new way to introduce a more civilized, downplayed version of suppression. 

Situational Awareness: Given the racial unrest and fight for equality the country has endured over the past 24 months, complacency in paying BIPOC creators who are driving profits for blue chip businesses is unjustified and unforgivable. A line has been crossed in digital marketing by contracts that actively undervalue the word of Black creators who are filling in the creative void. For this very reason, creators of Color  are launching enterprises that protect their creative IPs, such as Logitech that secures copyrights for movement and Rarible who partnered with Adobe to fight misattribution of non-fungible tokens (NFT).

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