Influencer Marketing Expert Advised Companies on Being Better Allies
Jacques Bastien, founder and CEO of Shade, an influencer marketing company for people of color, shared tips on how brands could offer better support for the Black communities in an interview with Business Insider.
Bastien emphasized that during this time of civil protests, companies should avoid using formulaic messages when they choose to be vocal supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. “A lot of companies will come out and say kumbaya messages of 'We'll get through this together.' That is not the message here. The issue is we're dying. We're tired. We're sick,” Bastien said.
Instead, the founder of Shade urged companies who want to support the movement to take a stance and be bold with their speech. Bastien praised brands like Nike and Ben & Jerry’s, who have taken bold stances against racial inequality and tried to incorporate inclusivity as part of their brand image.
Moreover, Bastien recommended brands and influencers to listen to the Black community and educate themselves on topics of the history of racism in the U.S. and the situation about police brutality.
“That's the whole purpose behind the Black Lives Matter movement: We just want to matter. We're not trying to be better than anybody else. Just give us the same level of that everybody else gets,” he said.
Meanwhile, the entrepreneur encouraged African American influencers to speak out against racist behaviors they have witnessed and to speak their truth. He praised influencer Jackie Aina, who on Wednesday shared on Instagram her observation that companies make public relations statements while having exclusively white leadership boards.
“My advice to black and brown influencers is don't be afraid to speak your truth,” Batien said. “Be vulnerable and be comfortable with yourself to let the world know you're angry. That discomfort would potentially force these brands, and some of their followers, to also be uncomfortable and maybe force themselves to go and get educated.”