Today we're thrilled to announce the recipients of the MACRO x TikTok Black Creatives Grant, a first of its kind grant at TikTok uniquely developed to invest in and support Black creators and artists on TikTok.
The MACRO x TikTok Black Creatives Grant is a continuation of the TikTok for Black Creatives creator incubator program, where TikTok and MACRO identified 101 creators and artists across an array of content categories — including Arts, Entertainment, Music, Education, Food, Beauty, and more — and provided them with career-building resources to help them succeed on TikTok (and beyond).
Each creator in the TikTok for Black Creatives program had the opportunity to pitch TikTok and MACRO an idea for their dream creative project, whether it be in the form of a book, movie, TV show, radio show, or another content medium. As part of the grant, 10 creators have been selected to receive $50,000 each and personalized coaching from MACRO to help bring their pitch to life.
“Our aim is to ensure Black creatives and artists have the resources they need to reach new heights in their careers and spearhead innovation in their respective industries,” said Kudzi Chikumbu, Director of Creator Community at TikTok. “We are thrilled to partner with MACRO to continue this important work of supporting creators and making their dreams come true.”
"We were blown away by the talent and the drive of these creators. MACRO is so proud to partner with TikTok and play a part in their journey. I look forward to continuing to work alongside them in their future endeavors," said Stacey Walker King, Chief Brand Officer, MACRO.
We're excited to introduce the cohort of grant recipients below:
- @byvegalia, Vegalia Jean-Pierre (Minneapolis, MN) - Vegalia is a multidisciplinary artist that specializes in photography, illustration and product design. The events of 2020 — the Black Lives Matter movement, the pandemic, TikTok exploding as one of the largest media platforms, etc. — led to her newfound purpose. It is now her personal mission to create tools, products and educational materials that can increase positive representation for the Black community as well as create opportunities for artists. In the past 6 months, she has created and launched a hugely popular set of digital brushes that replicate Black hair textures (braids, curls, locs, twists, and beyond). The digital brushes went viral, garnering millions of views and thousands of sales solely from the promotion on platforms like TikTok.
- @dadlifejason, Jason Linton (Altus, Ok) - Jason Linton is the adoptive father of three children that uses his platform to promote positive messages of fatherhood and positivity. As an interracial couple, he and his wife Patience use their platform to advocate for kindness, positivity and inclusion. Singing naturally and through the talkbox, Jason uses music to share family moments of fun and tenderness — his goal is to make everyone feel a part of the family moments.
- @darlene_octavia, Darlene Octavia (Lake Wales, FL) - Darlene is a Vegan food and lifestyle blogger originally from London, U.K. with a background in music and theatre. She has amassed almost 250,000 loyal followers on TikTok who love her easy, delicious and nutritious recipes aimed specifically at people who are new to the Vegan lifestyle or those who just want to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets.
- @espdaniella, Carlynn Greene (Desoto, TX) - Carlynn Greene is an education influencer and journalist with a primary focus on financial literacy for higher education, career development, and academic tips for student success. Having won 25+ scholarships for herself, she has helped students from the U.S. and abroad win over $1.4 million in scholarships for themselves through her videos on YouTube and Tiktok, as well as personalized services, her self-published book (The Scholarship Algorithm), and an online video course. In the future she wants to work for the U.S. Department of Education, proposing legislation to make higher education more financially accessible.
- @felleanimated, Lynnell Jones Jr. (Garden Grove, CA) - Felle is a digital illustrator and animator based in Orange County, California. He creates content on TikTok showcasing his artistic view on trends, music, and pop culture. He aims to inspire all to pursue creativity and embrace who they are, and has recently seen massive success as an animation content creator for his comedic pop culture hot takes. Felle has surpassed over 900,000 followers on TikTok and has viewers eagerly watching and sharing his animations about funny skits, video games, world views, and so much more.
- @graceorsomething, Grace Hayes (Reno, NV) - Grace Hayes is a multifaceted performance artist from Reno, Nevada. Hayes is a comedic songwriter, producer, poet, musician, model, actress, American Idol alumni, TEDx speaker, and internationally viral content creator who strives to make videos that inspire viewers on TikTok.
- @joelbervell, Joel Bervell (Snohomish, WA) - Joel Bervell is a Ghanaian-American third year medical student at Washington State University, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. In 2017, Joel graduated from Yale University, where he earned a degree in Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology. He is committed to fighting health disparities in medicine through education and regularly shares insights on racial disparities and biases in healthcare on his TikTok. Joel was also recently featured as a "Changemaker" on TikTok's Discover List.
- @livenaturallylove, Denise Francis (Yonkers, NY) - Denise Francis is a self-love coach, researcher, TEDx speaker, and Founder and CEO of The Self Love Organization INC. She started The Self Love Organization INC in 2017 to bridge the gap between Self Love & Mental Health for Women of Color. Denise has been on her self love journey for 10 years, researching Self Love for seven years and teaching for four years. She is currently a NYU Graduate Student, where she will become the first woman to receive a masters with the concentration of Self Love, Self Therapy & The Black Mental Health Experience.
- @lonnieiiv, Lonnie Marts (Jacksonville, FL) - Lonnie Marts is a 26-year-old full-time digital creator that is best known for his comedic sketches about God and angels. He has amassed over 2.3 million TikTok followers and is well known for his series of videos where he impersonates God and Gabriel planning the creation of all living things. Lonnie prides himself on sharing family friendly humor that can put a smile on almost anyone's face. He has also started his own production company, Marts Media LLC, which aims to tell stories around adventure and relationships.
- @singkirbysing, KIRBY (Los Angeles, CA) - KIRBY is the incredibly talented writer behind “FourFiveSeconds” by Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney, “Tell Me You Love Me” by Demi Lovato, “Die With You” by Beyoncé, “Only One” by Kanye West and Paul McCartney, “Break Your Heart Right Back” by Ariana Grande, and more. On January 31, 2020, the rising, Memphis-bred artist released her debut EP “Sis," a 7-track EP produced by Homer Steinweiss and The Menahan Street Band of Amy Winehouse's famous album "Back To Black." With this project KIRBY puts her own spin on nostalgic soul, using live instrumentation and melodic prowess to blend contemporary and nostalgia. The project has been met with widespread acclaim, earning her a spot on NPR’s Tiny Desk (6/11/20), three separate usages in this season of HBO’s series “Insecure” and over 17 million streams across streaming platforms in only seven months.
We're committed to supporting Black creators on and off of TikTok and are immensely proud of all 101 creators that participated in this year's TikTok for Black Creatives program. We are so excited to see the 10 recipients of the MACRO x TikTok Black Creatives Grant thrive and flourish in their upcoming endeavors.