Black content creators on social media are calling out the disparity between the gifts and perks they receive as compared to their white counterparts.
Antoni Bumba is a lifestyle creator with nearly 1 million followers on TikTok, NBC News reports. After deciding to share an apartment with a fellow content creator in New York City, the roomies decided to reach out to PR companies to receive free items they could generate new content around.
After they both sent emails to the same company asking for “PR packages,” Bumba’s roommate, who is white with fewer followers received a package of free goods while she was told the company was at capacity for “gifting.”
“As far as it goes for those free ops, you gotta know people, and you gotta know [white] people,” Bumba said.
Bumba has become one of the many Black content creators who are raising attention around the disparities in influencer marketing. There are a growing number of TikTok videos calling out the inequity in gifting influencers of color.
Black content creators are saying they’re working twice as hard as their white counterparts to create content around desirable products. Since they’re not getting them for free, creators are having to buy the products themselves, which only adds to the constantly growing wealth gap between Black and white communities.
TikToker Victoria Paris posted a video explaining how some people in PR companies are white and have implicit bias where they don’t realize they’re gravitating toward gifting the creators who look like them rather than someone more diverse.
Paris says the PR companies “don’t understand that, like, when you give to people who look just like you, you’re leaving out a lot of people who don’t look like you or you’re creating…a disadvantage.”
Darius Hall responded to Paris’ video and detailed how he accumulated debt trying to keep up with influencer marketing products he didn’t receive for free.
“People don’t realize that getting PR is a very essential tool, especially within this industry,” Hall said. “Some of the products that people want me to review or want me to talk about, it’s a little expensive, and sometimes I ain’t got the coins for that.”
Bumba and others continue to use TikTok to advocate for more equality in the gifting space.
“I want to see, like, these creators that I’ve been watching—these Black creators, these queer creators, these Hispanic creators, these Asian creators—get more opportunities,” she said. “And I want to see that in 2023.”