All Articles Tagged "Instagram"

Jay Z Joins Instagram, Posts Tribute To Michael Jackson

August 30th, 2015 - By Ashley Monaé
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Brooklyn emcee and all-around business man, Jay Z, has finally given in and succumbed to yet another social media app. Back in 2010, he surprised all by creating a Twitter account, and just yesterday (Aug. 29) he joined the popular photo sharing app, Instagram.

Going by the username “HovSince96,” Mr. Carter’s first post honored the life of Michael Jackson on what would’ve been his 57th birthday. And while many of us thought this day would never come, he wanted to be sure everyone knew he wouldn’t been snapping pics for the ‘gram on the regular and flooding timelines, captioning the post: “Happy Birthday to the King! This may be my first and last post.”

As of today, Jay Z has already accumulated 96.1k followers. And in the words of Hov himself, “Grand opening, grand closing.”

Keep It On The Hush: 15 Celebrities Who Unsuccessfully Used Direct Message For Hookups

August 24th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Kevin hart and mike epps throwing punchlines


Mike Epps isn’t the only one who has been caught with his hand in the direct message cookie jar. These celebrities have also been caught using social media to try and hook up with people. Have you ever received a celebrity DM?

Stars Who Say They Read Everything You Write–Even The Mean Stuff

August 17th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: ABC

Image Source: ABC

When it comes to megastars, most of us assume that managers handle their accounts. But these celebrities on social media want us to know that they read everything we write — and sometimes it hurts!

Will Authentic Representation Ever Be Achieved For Black People In The Digital Media Age?

August 13th, 2015 - By Chelcee Johns
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Kenneth Wiggins,

On a recent visit to The Studio Museum of Harlem, I was introduced to famed photographer Lorraine O’ Grady’s captivating work. O’Grady’s images had me beaming with Black girl pride as they stood as gentle affirmations and reminded me just how important it is for African Americans to depict and tell our own stories.

In the days of rampant cultural appropriation, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the continual Black death at the hands of police the simple act of seeing oneself authentically, beautifully, and righteously depicted became therapeutic.


Lorraine O’Grady Art Is. . . (Girl Pointing) 1983/2009 Chromogenic digital prints 20h x 16w in Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York © 2015 Lorraine O’Grady/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York

O’Grady’s “Art Is…” exhibit featured photos from the artist’s 1983 street performance where O’Grady and her team took to the streets of Harlem dressed in all white holding gold picture frames against their community.


Lorraine O’Grady Art Is… (Framing Cop) 1983/2009 Chromogenic digital prints 16h x 20w in Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York © 2015 Lorraine O’Grady/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York

“The performance much like Lorraine O’Grady’s practice was meant to confront and challenge assumptions around race and accessibility…” read the description of the exhibit.


Lorraine O’Grady Art Is. . . (Girlfriends Times Two) 1983/2009 Chromogenic digital prints 16h x 20w in Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York © 2015 Lorraine O’Grady/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York

O’Grady’s goal to portray her community authentically and challenge stereotypical depictions of Black life is one we are still aiming to achieve decades later. As the use of social media, smart phones and the web grows, so should the racial depictions seen across these platforms.

In July, writer Morgan Jerkins wrote a piece titled “The Quiet Racism of Instagram Filters” where she showed just how far back racism has been embedded into American photography. Older cameras from the 1950s often focused on depicting white beauty by calibrating skin tones using a white model – no matter the image. One of the largest camera companies, Kodak, did not change the calibration technique of their cameras until candy and furniture companies complained they could not shoot their dark chocolate and brown furniture.

Jerkins argues the same calibration technique is true for platforms such as Instagram today. Instagram’s filters often mute dark skin tones while highlighting lighter features.  Is it time the photo-sharing platform updated its filters? Jerkins thinks so.

Screen shot 2015-08-04 at 11.19.10 AM

Left: photo with Instagram Reyes filter. Right: original photo – Chelcee Johns

However, the issue of authentic representation does not only fall on sites such as Instagram. For instance, take Apple’s recent move to create a more diverse line of the ever-popular emojis. The social media sphere rejoiced this April as the new smiley faces appeared. It was as if Dr.King’s dream of inclusion had finally trickled down to Apple and, well, we were hype. No more banana-colored skin, we were now all hues of coco.

Screen shot 2015-08-04 at 11.30.40 AM

But, what about the hair? Or authentic facial structures? Does it take African Americans creating our own images in order to get it right? App company Oju Africa thinks so as they were the first company to create a line of Black emojis.

“It’s very important for us, as a small African company, to make it known to the world that we were the first to do it,” Alpesh Patel, Oju Africa’s Ugandan-born chief executive told CNN speaking of the need for more authentic representation.



Most recently, a stock image company has emerged to bring authentic depictions of Black life to the web. For years, ShutterStock has been the go-to place for online magazines and bloggers alike to find the images they need. But the photo-site does not always have the best images and searches often come back null and void. I once searched for African American museums and yet a picture of three hooded men in all white appeared — the Ku Klux Klan — not exactly what I was searching for.

The new stock images site,, launched its beta stage last week with the tagline ‘Reinventing the Black medium.’


Kenneth Wiggins,

“The benefit of using BlackStock is clear, better representation is needed throughout the digital media space. By focusing on respect, authenticity and culture, we’ve built a platform that presents Black culture in a genuine light — leaving the generic visuals and offensive propaganda to the other sites,” states the site.

Is this the route more businesses will have to take in order to produce authentic portrayals of Black life across our computer and cell phone screens? Or should more mainstream companies such as Shutterstock, Instagram and Apple be more authentically inclusive?


Toilet Shots? When Bad Instagram Ideas Happen To Good Celebs

July 27th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Bad Instagram Ideas

Image Source: Instagram

When you post hundreds of photos for millions of followers, you’re sure to make a mistake and share something NO ONE wants to see. These are good celebrities who had really bad Instagram ideas.

For The Young Yogis, Cardio Killers And CrossFit Queens: Black Female Fitness Gurus To Follow On Instagram

July 21st, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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I find that following fitness gurus on Instagram has greatly motivated me in ways I didn’t think possible. When I’m on the couch and planning to spend my night watching Netflix and eating junk food, I look on Instagram and see one of my faves going hard in the gym. That makes me think to myself: “I think I’ll do a workout video real quick.” Watching other people on their fitness journeys keeps me on track with my own. And while any woman killing it on the health and wellness tip is worth following, I prefer to follow women who look like me: Black and curvy. So in case you’re looking for motivation as you try to shed some pounds and get both physically and mentally fit, these are the Black female fitness gurus you need to follow.

Lana Ector: @lanagem

Lana and her mother Ellen Ector, the brains and beauties behind the “Black Girls Workout Too” DVD, have been motivating people for years. Lana is a certified trainer and nutritionist who believes that every woman should and can have killer abs and glutes. She works her clients to the bone and makes us want to get it right and keep it tight.

Are You Validated By The Amount Of Instagram “Likes” You Get?

July 20th, 2015 - By Ashley Monaé
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What happened to the days when women aspired to be more than just Instagram models, the side pieces of ballplayers, and strippers with fake assets? A world where everything, including your meals, wasn’t a photo opp? A time when Instagram followers and likes didn’t mean a damn thing? When we weren’t seeking attention and validation of our looks and opinions on social media?

Ah, yes. That time has long passed. Instead, we’re stuck watching people make careers out of taking scandalous pictures (and promoting waist trainers on the side).

At the beginning of the year, I was invited to a private listening party in preparation for the release of Jazmine Sullivan’s album, Reality Show. Contrary to the title, Sullivan’s reality turned out to be empowering, refreshing and thought-provoking. In particular, her song “Mascara” caught my attention. It called out the hidden truths of many of today’s modern women and a lot of societal baggage that no one wants to claim.

But I’m calling it how I see it. Being raised in the home of the best strip clubs and the thickest chicks in America, I always had a different outlook on society’s current obsession with ass and showing it off. It wasn’t a commodity or a meal ticket (for most at least) where I was from. It was the norm. In Atlanta, a back side that looked like Kim Kardashian’s enhanced derrière was genetic and/or the result of hard work on the StairMaster at LA Fitness. It wasn’t the consequence of a mixture of caulk and other ungodly and toxic ingredients some seek out in basements and back alleys. I didn’t see the need for a waist trainer to crush my organs either just to have a banging midsection. And Instagram wasn’t a full-time job for me. It was a social outlet where I shared personal and creative photos with friends, family, and like-minded individuals. It wasn’t where I used my body as a sexual object and snapped promiscuous selfies because I was thirst-trapping for likes and competing with the next chick.

But what damage could a silly social media app really do? We all have our vices, but Instagram can be an ugly addiction. How many times a day do you pick up your phone to snap a seductive selfie or check how many likes your photo has received? And God forbid the number of likes isn’t to your liking (no pun intended), then the photo might be deleted or reposted during “peak” hours. Somehow, the app has turned into a place where people seek approval from their peers and strangers alike. I’ve seen my own friends get trapped into that destructive world firsthand. One day you post a photo in a slightly snug dress, the next you’re trying to find the right angle to play up your assets, and it instantly attracts plenty more likes than any of your other photos. In that instance, you somehow feel validated and better about yourself as your phone becomes flooded with “oohs” and “ahhs” and a bunch of thirsty dudes hopping in your direct messages. As childish as living your life out on social media for the approval of others sounds, we all know someone who subscribes to such foolery. It may even be you.

By all means, I’m not looking to offend or shame anyone because everyone is free to live their lives according to how they see fit. I just personally refuse to seek out validation in an Instagram like. I have other plans for my life than living out my every move on the ‘gram for the viewing pleasure of others. Ultimately, social media has become a conflicting confidence booster. But I’m a smart, well-spoken woman, and highly capable of wooing any man without showing T&A to millions of strangers. However, it seems some of us have yet to unlock our worth sans Instagram.


Dead Wid Laugh: The Funniest West Indian Instagram Stars

July 10th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

If you haven’t seen these hilarious West Indian Instagram stars, you’re in for a treat. #DWL (aka, “dead wid laugh”)

Rihanna Used Instagram To Cast Her Accomplices In “BBHMM” Video

July 7th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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In order to cast her henchwomen for her acclaimed “BBHMM” video, Rihanna took to Instagram to find the perfect accomplices to work alongside her.

Three months ago she was wowed by a selfie taken by Sanam better known under her @TrustMeDaddy Instagram alias. Rih began to follow the Indian beauty and sent her a direct message saying, “Hey, I have this idea I want to run by you. I think you’re so f*cking rare. Let me know if you’re interested.”

Afterward, the production company who produced the BBHMM video contacted Sanam to confirm casting. Before she knew it, Sanam was flown out to Los Angeles to star in Rihanna’s first co-directed music video.

In an interview with VICE, Sanam shared what it was like working on set and how she plans to use the exposure she received from the video to help with her art career.

VICE: You posted an Instagram snapshot of Rihanna following your account a few months ago. What happened between Rihanna following you on Instagram three months ago, to Rihanna casting you as her co-star in her new video?

Sanam:  I went to work, and I got a DM from her on Instagram. She was like, “Hey, I have this idea I want to run by you. I think you’re so fucking rare. Let me know if you’re interested.” I had no idea what she was talking about. I was just freaking out, because Rihanna is messaging me on Instagram, telling me that she thinks I’m cool. Then I got another message from someone who works for the production company that made the video, and they were like, “We want to put you in Rihanna’s video! Send us an email or give us a call.” At first, I was just like, This can’t be real. This is really weird. I don’t know about this. But I ended up getting in touch with the guy who messaged me and it was all legit. I spent my entire day at work going back and forth talking to them. At the end of the day, they were like, “We just got the confirmation from Rih: We want to cast you, and we want to fly you out tomorrow.” And I flew down there the next day. She followed me on Instagram on a Wednesday night, and then I was in LA on Friday morning. It was crazy.

VICE: It’s already a pretty iconic video. How did they describe the concept to you?

Sanam: For the first few days, I had a general idea of what was going to happen. We’re going to be kidnapping this person and you guys are going to be her henchmen and you just have to be really tough. I think the term they used was “bad b*tch.” When they told me more about the video, I was like, Holy shit. Knowing Rih, I knew this shit was going to be super controversial.

VICE: What was she like in person?

Sanam: She’s so sweet. She was showering us with compliments. She is so fucking real and down-to-earth, which is the corniest thing to say about a famous person, but she really is. When we were down there, the first day I met her, I was like, “How did you find me?” She was like, “I saw you on my Explore page.” She saw that picture of me where I was wearing my nath and my tika. She was like, “I just thought you were so cool, and I was like, I don’t know if I should message her or not. I don’t know if she’s going to be down.” I’m just sitting there, like, “Are you crazy? How could you be nervous to message me?”


To read Sanam’s entire interview, click here.

Further proof that a good IG account can get you a job.

Celebrity Instagram Scandals That Will Make You A Follower

July 6th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Is it just me, or are the celebrities who can be a bit too much the best ones to follow on Instagram? From nude photos to sharing sext messages accidentally, these celebrities have scandalized Instagram (all while keeping their followers entertained).