February 2022

Redefining Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

As we envision the future of the creator economy, the future of diverse storytellers, the future of content marketing, we must remind ourselves that focusing on inclusive creators during marketing moments doesn’t make a brand more diverse or inclusive. In fact, it reminds the community at-large that brands are more concerned with checking boxes, rather than truly collaborating with creators.

Imagine a world where brands actually partnered with creators and wanted them to engage authentically with a particular product or experience, and then share that with their community — rather than commercialize their influence in order to hit metrics that are a constant moving targets. Let’s be honest, in a world forever changed by a global pandemic, we’re all doing the best we can with what we got!

Looking ahead: March and its focus on women and their incredible sacrifices and contributions, especially to the influencer marketing industry, ushers in a new season — a season of change I hope lasts longer than a quarter, longer than a year, or longer than the attention span of brands who constantly deny creators a fair and equitable society.

Is a place where creators are fairly compensated and allowed creative freedom a far-off "nirvana" we can only dream about? Will great content return to the forefront? Will platforms allow creators that make them popular to be just that, creative? Imagine a truly equitable, kind creator economy. Here's to the creators! Your voice and influence matter!


Ernest “EJ” James, Sr. Vice President of Special Projects

What's The Deal? Produced By Digital Brand Architects

On Jan. 26, DBA kicked off its new social series, “What’s The Deal?” which cuts to the chase in answering some of the most-asked questions about creators and content. Session #1 featured insiders DBA co-founder/CEO Raina Penchansky, president Vanessa Flaherty and SVP special projects EJ James, each who offered their takes on redefining “influencer culture.” For tips on establishing a marketable POV, growing community and turning your brand into a business, click here.

What’s The Deal? Produced by DBA is back next week on Wednesday, 2/23 at 11:30am EST. For our second session, Director of Brand Partnerships, Nya-Gabriella Parchment will chat on Instagram Live with industry vet Amber Fillerup Clark about how she continues to evolve, diversify across platforms and expand her digital footprint with not one but two successful businesses: Dae Hair and BFB Hair. If you have questions on how to sustain a successful career in content, send us an email info@thedigitalbrandarchitects.com!

DBA Celebrates:
Black Creators Making History

Tenicka Boyd

Tenicka Boyd is a Manhattan-based creator living a colorful life and inspiring others with her luxury fashion, travel and lifestyle content. Previously, she spent over 15 years in nonprofit, serving on the leadership teams of organizations including the ACLU and racial justice organization Color Of Change. With a master’s degree in public policy, Tenicka served in the Obama administration before fostering an online community of over 500k people looking to her for advice on living a purpose-driven life.

Kier Gaines

Kier Gaines is a licensed therapist who uses his platform to speak to the importance of mental health awareness. As a father of two, he’s also known to offer relatable parenting advice and his views on fatherhood — both of which adhere to his overall mission of showcasing non-traditional love, marriage and millennial family life through comedic, authentic and thought-provoking digital content.

JaLisa Vaughn-Jefferson

JaLisa Vaughn-Jefferson is a Dallas-based mother of two children who’s built a following for keeping it real. Whether by offering a behind-the-scenes look inside her busy lifestyle or sharing her favorite beauty/fashion finds, JaLisa knows exactly how to keep fans engaged. Passionate about inspiring others to see and know their worth, JaLisa routinely uses her platform in advocating for pay equity, especially as it relates to Black women and other marginalized communities.

Achieng Agutu

The Confidence Queen, Achieng Agutu, is a multi-faceted visual storyteller and content creator who uses her inspiring style and strong voice to encourage others to live life unapologetically. Achieng’s vibrant personality and unique flair has been credited in helping shape powerful narratives around identity, culture, womanhood and beauty as evidenced in her appearances in several brand campaigns and status as a sought-after panelist/motivational speaker.

Jasmine Crockett

Jasmine Crockett is an interior designer who has built a presence through her personal social media accounts and popular Joy Meets Home brand. Jasmine began her design adventures through her own home, finding ways to renovate and add value on a budget before sharing them online. Maintaining an audience of 220k followers, she enjoys inspiring others to maintain well-lived and well-styled lives.

Wanda Mulzac

Wanda Mulzac is a family and lifestyle talent who quickly grew an audience after vulnerably speaking to her story of infertility before welcoming twins through IVF. Every step of the way, Wanda’s audience has been invited along her family’s journey which she continues to share today. As the founder of the Blossom Movement, Wanda maintains a mission of fostering community among modern women rooted in faith, passion and purpose.

Terrell & Jarius Joseph

Terrell and Jarius are millennial gay dads raising their two darling toddlers in Atlanta, GA. Through their uplifting content, they strive to build an inclusive narrative of the phrase “modern family” — all while breaking stigmas and stereotypes around same-sex parenting. As a married couple, their unconventional journey continues to be a beacon of hope for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Coco & Kaye Bassey

Coco and Kaye Bassey are Nigerian-American sisters whose roots in Canada, the Czech Republic and Germany continue to inspire their work as dynamic beauty, fashion and lifestyle creators. Both have developed a unique zest for life and an unparalleled eye for creativity, which they showcase to a combined online community of nearly 500k followers. Social activism remains a key priority, with Kaye supporting organizations like The Conscious Kid and The Lunch Box Fund while Coco routinely advocates for social education by hosting back-to-school giveaways.

Hawa Hassan

Hawa Hassan is dynamic chef, cookbook author, TV personality on Food Network and entrepreneur. She’s the founder and CEO of Basbaas Sauce, a popular line of condiments inspired by her home country of Somalia. Her first cookbook-meets-travelogue, In Bibi’s Kitchen, shares recipes and stories from grandmothers — or “bibis” — in eight African countries bordering the Indian Ocean. Hawa likes to think of herself as just a Somali girl who grew up in kitchens, who has learned the power of communal connection through food in the many worlds she’s inhabited.

Robert Lucas

Fan-favorite cake artist Robert Lucas, a.k.a The Sweet Impact, began baking as a hobby that was fueled by curiosity back in 2019. Since then, he has amassed a growing audience of nearly 3.4M followers — each who enjoy watching his fantastical creations take form. From unicorns and huge ice cream cones to Nike Air Jordans and Harry Potter-themed busts, Robert tackles and masters any idea that comes his way — all while sharing the process (including fun bloopers) online.

DBA Mentor Program

The Digital Brand Architects’ mentorship program was created in 2021 to provide knowledge and tangible skill sets to Black micro-influencers in order to assist them in growing their online businesses to propel their digital careers, while helping to amplify their unique voices. As a trusted leader in the digital marketing, talent management and communications space, DBA continues its overall mission to level-set the playing field for all creatives to ensure an equitable industry and is excited to continue servicing the Black creative community with the continuation and announcement of its second mentorship cohort launching May 2022. If you’re interested in getting involved, please email info@thedigitalbrandarchitects.com!

DBA Celebrates: Women Leading The Way

Next month will commemorate the annual celebration of women and the vital role they’ve held in pushing our society forward. DBA talent — including Blair Imani, Deanna Dunn, Yasmin Maya and Oyin Edogi — are groundbreakers in and of their own right, having mastered the art that is inspiring massive communities to live and lead exemplary lives both on and offline. To view more talent, please click here.

Brand Partnerships & Launches

DBA Talent x Pinterest TV

Kellie Brown’s month-long Pinterest TV series, Home Decor Homies, is all about having fun with home decor. Featuring a host of special guests, each episode incorporates her love of vintage styling and thrifting with new releases dropping every Tuesday in February at 5pm PT.

Probably This and their two month-long Pinterest TV series covers everything home-making — from design, DIY and entertaining to help viewers create a home they adore. New episodes debut February-March on Tuesdays at 5:30pm PT.

Tenicka Boyd’s month-long Pinterest TV series, Black Future & Fashion Influence, inspires viewers to invite color into their life and wardrobe. Releasing on Tuesdays in February at 5:30pm PT, each episode sheds light on fashion trends led by Black content creators — plus today’s top Black luxury designers.

Kier Gaines x Quickbooks

Quickbooks tapped Kier Gaines to share his expertise on building a financially healthy, Black-owned business. The panel was hosted in conjunction with actress Tracee Ellis Ross.

Manny Mua x Benefit Cosmetics

Manny Mua has been announced as a Benefit Cosmetics “Brow Search” coach for 2022. In this role, he’ll help cultivate new talent, bringing today’s beauty stars to the forefront — each who have a shot at the competition’s grand prize: $50,000!

Earthy Andy x NB Pure

Andy launched her second product, Methyl B-12 supplement, in her line of health and wellness products with NB Pure. The product is a follow-up to her popular Plant Powered Protein, which debuted in September 2021.

Food Heaven x Google

Jessica Jones and Wendy Lopez of Food Heaven led a fireside chat during a meeting at Google to discuss health and nutrition in the Black community. They dove into topics ranging from health at every size to intuitive eating to celebrating Black history through food.

Shut The Kale Up x West Elm

Wellness expert Jeannette Ogden interviewed with West Elm, sharing her best advice on how to set your home up for a work/life balance grounded in healthy habits.

Upcoming Events

Mother, wife and New York Times best-selling author Katherine Schwarzenegger is an aficionado on all things “Before, During & After Baby.” So much so that she launched an Instagram Live series titled as such, which features candid interviews with other parents and experts including Hunter McGrady, Jessica Alba, Tan France, Dr. Sara Reardon, Lea Michele and dozens more. To keep up with the latest BDA Baby episodes and resources shared, subscribe to Katherine’s newsletter here and tune in every Thursday at 12pm PST.

Industry News

DBA x The Hollywood Reporter

The Hollywood Reporter shared the latest on Vanessa Flaherty’s appointment as DBA’s new president. “Vanessa is likely one of the most dynamic and strategic leaders in the influencer world period,” DBA CEO Raina Penchansky told the publication. “She has personally represented some of the most prolific creators for over a decade and continues to be a force in the evolution of the creator economy.”

Simply Cyn x Harper's Bazaar

A few scrolls through Cynthia Andrew’s Instagram feed offers a glimpse inside her colorful life and her 100-year-old Brooklyn brownstone. For the full home tour, the avid traveler, attorney and twin mom showed Harper’s Bazaar around — all while sharing helpful tips on DIYing furniture, sourcing priceless decor and creating extra storage.

Catie Li x InStyle

InStyle covered the limited-edition release of Catie Li’s Amazon The Drop collection. “Growing up as a curvy girl, I always struggled to find clothing that was on trend with a perfect fit,” Catie says. “For this collection, I really wanted to provide pieces that would last in your closet for a lifetime.”

Dear Media:
New Shows & Highlights

My Last Meal with Alisa Reynolds

Host Alisa Reynolds candidly interviews celebrities and other prominent guests, asking questions about meaningful meals they’ve had in hopes of uncovering what they’d eat for their last dish on earth — and why.

Scheananigans with
Scheana Shay

Scheana Shay welcomes listeners into her real life on new show “Scheananigans.” Regularly co-hosted by her fiancé Brock Davies, Scheana shares informative, entertaining and sometimes outrageous conversations covering topics like reality tv, pop culture, parenting and more.

Millennial Made with Rod

Grab your HitClips and get ready to pop all your collars — The internet’s coworker, Rod, is here to banish your burnout and take us back to a time before we knew what seasonal affective disorder was. Back when Britney ruled the airwaves and emo wasn’t a phase, “Millennial Made” is the one-stop-shop for your pop culture news and TBTs.

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