They create content on the most varied topics: beauty, feminism, music, finance, culture, meditation, lifestyle, behavior. But black creators and influencers are only invited to participate in events and campaigns that deal with raciality and related themes. This was one of the findings of “A Portrait of Black Creators in Brazil”, the first Brazilian survey of the influence market with a racial profile
Conducted by YouPix, a digital platform created 14 years ago to discuss the culture of the internet, Sharp, Squid, “Mundo Negro” and Black Influence, the survey revealed, for example, that although the category “house and construction” appears in the 3rd place of the ranking of subjects most explored by black influencers, it is responsible for the lowest number of hires. On the other hand, “social impact”, which is in 11th position, appears in 2nd place in the list of most searched topics.
“The survey confirmed some things that we already suspected,” says Bia Granja, one of the founders of YouPix and a specialist in digital influence. She reports that the situation has been worse, and that in the past four years the issue has been addressed more strongly - although the reality is still far ideal. To get an idea of the disparity, of the 760 breeders who participated in the survey across Brazil, 57% are white, 22% are brown, 17% are black, 3% are yellow and 1% are indigenous.
The specialist recalls that, at the beginning of influence marketing, in the mid-2000s, black characters were not even considered for work with the brands. Then, in a second wave - the one we are experiencing now -, they started to be remembered when the themes were related to activism. Bia defends an immediate entry into the third phase. “They need to be called on to talk about what they have the authority to say and not just pretense. And this diversity of styles has to be expressed in the topics covered. ”
Another factor that proves this gap is the difference in remuneration. When comparing the average of the minimum and maximum values that creators received in campaigns, there is a great disparity between the amounts disbursed. The average maximum value received by a black creator is R $ 1,626.83, while the average received by a white influencer is R $ 4,181.01. The difference is more than 50% lower than the survey average. When asked if they had ever received less in any campaign, even though they had the same range of followers and similar engagement with another recruited influencer, 38% of black influencers answered yes. “Money has the power to support racist structures or not. We need to talk about it: it circulates and how. It is not just about giving visibility to these professionals in November, in the month of black awareness. ”
Although we live in a country the majority of the population is black - 56% -, Bia attributed to structural racism the fact that the first person considered for any campaign was white. “We are in a moment of responsibility and accountability. If companies do not understand that they have responsibility for deconstructing these structures, they will be held responsible. If you don't want to do it out of altruism, do it for the business. Otherwise, they will be canceled. In addition, research has already proven that different groups internally increase the profitability of companies, after all, we buy those who represent us ”, he says. In short, it is a question of survival.
THE ROLE OF PLATFORMS
The process of deconstructing traditionally racist structures described by Bia Granja, as well as the change in the current ecosystem of online content producers in Brazil, goes through a review of the positioning of companies that control the environments creators and influencers emerge and develop.
The largest platforms of videos and podcasts are free and offer, in theory, the possibility of creating and publishing content by anyone. The reality, however, is different: the channels with the highest ratings in Brazil are mostly run by white people - Konrad Dantas' KondZilla is part of the list of notable exceptions, having reached 60 million subscribers on YouTube this week - or they are the result of partnerships between platforms and large media groups.
“There was a myth, that the internet would bring people a different communication power than traditional media, but what we see is that who has more structure to have a recording with more technical quality, more knowledge about entertainment production and script, it gets better - so the people who own this space first are the white people ”, says Ale Santos, professor of fantastic entertainment at ESPM, author and podcaster in“ Infiltrados no Cast ”, a name that alludes to the film“ Infiltrados na Klan ” , by Spike Lee, and reinforces the fact that it is a program led by a black man, infiltrated in a predominantly white context.
The lack of diversity in the community of creators in a country the majority of the population is black needs to be questioned, according to Santos, as there are many issues that can be addressed the perspective of blackness. In addition, the specialist points out other problems associated with this lack of representativeness:
"The fact that there are few blacks in this reality may mean that blacks are not consuming the content - which we do not know, as the platforms do not disclose the numbers - and that there is a structural difficulty in the country that prevents blacks producing content" , he points out, referring to challenges that include technology, but also encompass aspects such as conditions to dedicate to creation.
According to Santos, part of the platforms already recognizes the problem caused by algorithmic discrimination, which reproduces the inequality seen in society, and looking for ways to turn the situation around: “In addition to giving recognition and support with structure to enhance these voices, some companies are questioning the rules they use to make content stand out ”, points out the podcaster.
The Spotify audio streaming platform has taken concrete steps to stimulate the emergence and growth of black creators in Brazil and address some structural problems. The company announced this week SoundUp, an acceleration program for aspiring podcasters underrepresented origins through
training, workshops and support. Through the program, participants will receive a recorder, computer, headphones and internet access.
According to Javier Piñol, director of Spotify Studios for Latin America, the program is one of the actions of the platform to make the audio industry more inclusive and egalitarian: “What we want with this program is to create a space for new talents, voices, podcasting stories and perspectives ”, he points out. Spotify also plans to launch Anchor features in Brazil soon, a company it acquired in 2019 and simplifies the publication, distribution and monetization of audio programs.
In addition to the acceleration initiative, the company extended the programming with black voices to its 300 million Spotify users during Black Out Tuesday and, over 24 hours, generated a 30-fold increase in the number of visitors to the hub dedicated to movement.
"These are difficult problems to solve and, although there are no easy answers or quick solutions, Spotify is supportive of the black community and is dedicated to promoting lasting social changes," says Piñol.
YouTube has also moved to respond to the need for greater diversity among its successful creators. According to the head of development of content partnerships of the platform for Latin America, Bibiana Leite, the openness and capillarity of YouTube allows the black community to express its identity, while helping other people to learn about racism and social injustice at the point of view of those who feel these experiences on the skin.
"YouTube helps create a support and education network that transcends the boundaries of the black community," points out Bibiana, who is currently based in California, and was the first black woman hired by Google in Brazil in 2006.
Recent initiatives announced by YouTube to expand and develop artists and content creators include a $ 100 million multi-year global fund. According to Bibiana, the company will soon announce plans for how part of this budget will be used in Brazil.
In other recent actions to stimulate the development of content producers, the company held classes for creators and the YouTube Social Impact Lab, an initiative to help non-profit organizations learn YouTube strategies, the Instituto de Mulheres Negras Geledés was one of the participants .
“We know that there is more work to do, and that is why we continue to examine how our policies and products are working for everyone, including the black community, and we seek to find possible loopholes,” says Bibiana, stressing that the platform also seeks to ensure that users , black artists and content creators can share their stories and be protected hateful and intimidating content.
For Ale Santos, recognizing black creators who are already active is also important, as these people act as bridges with others who are currently not heard. This expands the possibilities for inclusion, dialogue and collective intelligence production.
“We are in a country there is a group of people who are silenced, who do not participate in important discussions on the internet, and are very impacted by open TV. Through peripheral or interior creators, like me, you start to connect with these people and they also start to identify with the content and enter the platforms ”, he points out.
In addition, Santos highlights the commercial opportunity and recalls that, although these content platforms are huge, they still have a lot of growth potential: “Twitter, for example, has a little over 40 million users in a country of 210 million of people, so we are talking about a scenario of considerable exclusion. When black creators arrive and produce, they also bring audiences to the platforms ”, he points out
According to the podcaster, increasing the number of black creators and influencers also contributes to addressing a great challenge, which is the starting point for those who are not yet in this universe: “At the same time, we have the problem of being few in the production of content , this also creates what we call the blue ocean: there are many opportunities for any black creator to establish themselves and gain relevance. Not only is it worth starting, it is necessary to start.