If you follow @BlackWifeLife on Instagram, I am almost positive that you follow @TheBlackBachelorette as well. This page full of beautiful melanin was one of the first #BlackLove pages I followed. Seeing beautiful images of Black women getting engaged and having epic bachelorette parties brought a smile to my face. Sending my girls images of matching bachelorette outfits before I even had a fiancé was a usual thing for me.
When I first started curating images for @BlackWifeLife I looked to Portia’s creation as inspiration. Hey, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Not only did Portia’s amazing content inspire me, but it pushed me to be different. The @TheBlackBlackBachelorette and @BlackWifeLife are not new ideas, but the way we do it is what makes it special and unique to us.
Portia the mastermind behind this community of 101k+ Black Bachelorette lovers, but she also is a social media manager, strategist, and coach. We randomly connected via LinkedIn when I posted about the launch of this website. Who knows how long we were LinkedIn friends. The world is so small.
And now, here we are. I am excited to share with you who is behind one of our favorite pages to follow. Everyone, meet Portia Obeng, the face behind @TheBlackBachelorette.
Jemia: What was your very first social media platform you used?
Portia: I’m pretty sure I had a BlackPlanet account in high school, but I don’t remember using it much. I really first remember using Facebook when I got to college. This was when Facebook was first rolling out and still only open to college students. That’s right, Facebook used to be just for college students and its rollout was very elitist. Most of the schools that had access to Facebook were ivy leagues and top-tier schools. Times have surely changed.
What attracted you to social media in the beginning?
I accidentally got into social media! I worked in the corporate office of a prominent national retailer, and it was the worst job ever, so I left without a new job in place, in the height of the 2009 recession. Ignorance was so bliss at the time because I didn’t realize that there was a recession because all of my friends were employed, and my parents had jobs. So, I thought to myself, “I’ll move back home with my parents and hustle until I find a new job.” It took me about three months to find a job at a small non-profit managing their Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. I didn’t have any real prior experience, but by God’s grace, I got the job! This was WAY back in the day before Instagram, TikTok, or Pinterest.
What have you seen change over the years with social media?
Social media has evolved into its own beast. People are often surprised to hear that I don’t actually spend a lot of time on my personal social media accounts. In fact, that’s what I try to teach people, a little goes a long way on many of these platforms.
Learn how to use social media, don’t let it use you. It can be a powerful tool to help you improve your life, improve the lives of others, and make meaningful change. But on the flip side, it can be an all-consuming tool that drags you into rabbit holes, leaves you arguing with people you don’t know and will never meet, and comparing yourself to other people when the only competition in your life is the person you were the day before.
All that to say, I am very excited to see the way Black people have taken social media and used it to start changing the Black narrative. The representation of the diversity within the diaspora is so beautiful to see! But, I’m also very saddened by the way some people talk to each other on social media, and how lies and propaganda are spread.
How did you start/begin your social media coaching/training business?
I started my current business because I am tired of being in racist and sexist environments, and I want to help Black people find ways to get out of these spaces and still have access to money-making opportunities. Eight out of 10 times, Black people are in spaces that aren’t safe; we experience racial violence in the form of micro and macroaggressions; implicit and explicit racism, and straight-up trifling behavior. There are plenty of studies that show this to be true, and it’s time we create our own spaces.
How did you land your first client?
I can’t even remember, I’ve been at it for so long. I’m pretty sure I got my first client from me emailing someone a pitch. I used to email people pitches all the time! Now, most of my clients come from word-of-mouth and referrals.
Where did the idea/inspiration for @TheBlackBachelorette come from?
I started The Black Bachelorette at a time when there was pretty much no representation of Black women getting married on mainstream accounts like The Knot and Wedding Wire. This was also during the time when those bias “research studies” were reporting that Black women don’t get married. LIES, LIES, LIES! The data was heavily skewed because it looked at women under 35. The percentage of Black women who are married significantly increases after 35. So, I wanted to create a safe and positive space to show the real stories of Black women and marriage.
You’ve kept your identity a secret for some time, why?
When I first started The Black Bachelorette; Instagram was nothing like it is today. There weren’t as many people using it to build personal brands, so I didn’t see the value-add in being in the front of the brand at the time. But, maybe now, it’s time to shine 🙂
This is just the tip of the iceberg with creative Portia Obeng. Learn more about her and get some behind the scenes scoop on @TheBlackBachelorette during our partner IG LIVE session on Wednesday, September 16 @ 7p ET! She also might drop some social media tips for everyone! Gotta join to find out.