The influencer marketing industry has grown to become a billion dollar industry today and it’s shifted the way individuals are informed and persuaded about their purchases. Social media is integrated into our daily lives and has transformed how we consume news, marketing, entertainment and content. No matter how big or small the business, all companies have realized the importance of investing in influencer marketing. Ebonee Davis, the well-known model/activist who has built a community of 400K+ followers across social platforms, recently spoke about the harsh reality that Black content creators experience after losing a five-figure brand deal for creating content that she knew would connect with her audience.
The post in question pictures Davis in a full Theophilio SS22 look (Look 27) and it was captioned, “My nigga took these”. Although the company associated with the brand deal has not been disclosed, Davis clarified that it wasn’t Theophilio, but it may be one of the fashion retailers that sell the Jamaican-owned brand’s clothes. If you’re familiar with the Theophilio’s brand aesthetic, you understand that the designs are meant to empower the wearer and ultimately, make you feel sexy.
After receiving a phone call from her agent that informed Davis about the withdrawn brand deal, she created a video explaining the experience to her audience. Being outspoken on her platforms and keeping it real is not something out of the ordinary for Davis, it’s actually one of the ways she has grown her engaging community, so it made sense that she did not allow this occurrence to silence her – she stayed true to herself by sharing.
Davis explained that there were no creative guidelines or constrictions on what she could post for the personalized content that the brand reached out to commission Davis for. However, after seeing Davis’ post, the brand deemed the pictures as inappropriate and proceeded to withdraw the paid agreement.
Beginning with the caption, Davis breaks down the intentions of her post in the video, “When I read that caption, I read a playful articulation of the love I have for my man. It’s been generally agreed upon by the Black community for decades that the ‘N’ word isn’t derogatory, it’s a term of endearment.” She continued to elaborate on the pictures, “I see a Black girl living her best life having fun. There’s nothing inappropriate about it to me – especially not in the world we live in today”
Although Davis may be one of the few that choose to speak out and share, this is unfortunately an experience that many Black content creators face. Companies often want access to the communities of Black content creators, but they also want creators’ to cater to their terms of professionalism and ultimately, dilute their Blackness.
“You want access to my audience – which is mostly Black women – without actually having a full appreciation for Black culture,” Davis said in her video. “We don’t have to separate who we are in order to please these companies. We don’t have to erase or hide any aspect of our personalities to get these bags.”