15 Charleston Black bloggers to follow on social media | Charleston Scene

Charleston is paradise for bloggers and Instagram influencers looking to share tips on the culinary scene, fashion, arts, beauty and lifestyle, all while snapping gorgeous photos among gorgeous scenery. 

Yet, the blogosphere has traditionally skewed toward white voices. 

“When we started, there were not many people of color in the blogger world,” said local beverage blog duo The Cocktail Bandits. “Blogging was looked at as a ‘rich white kid’ thing. Being Black women, raised in the South, we never saw carefree Black women who enjoy luxury. That is still quite rare.”

Get a weekly list of tips on pop-ups, last minute tickets and little-known experiences hand-selected by our newsroom in your inbox each Thursday.

This full-time South Carolina blogger is owning the title of 'Black Southern Belle'

While the statistics are almost certainly shifting, the money for Black bloggers and social media activists is not quite there yet.

According to a new Instagram account called Influencer Pay Gap that is exposing inequality, brands and companies are far more likely to shell out dollars to white influencers than people of color who are on Instagram or in the blogosphere. 

“The biggest challenge is being compensated for my work,” offered local fashion and lifestyle blogger Zaria Brown (“A Dose of Fab”). “I cannot tell you how many times a big brand has reached out to me for a collaboration and claimed that compensating me wasn’t in the budget. It’s a huge disappointment to see a white blogger flourish just because of her follower count or image when I can provide just as much value.”

And that “value” is growing. There are quite a few interesting Black bloggers right here in the Holy City who you might want to follow on the ‘Gram. I reached out to 15 of them to chat about what inspires them, why they think it’s important that their voices are heard and what challenges they’ve faced. 

megan pinckney.jpg

Megan Pinckney. Julia D’Agostino/@juliadags/Provided

Megan Pinckney, Shades of Pinck

Megan Pinckney 29, was born and raised on James Island. Her blog Shades of Pinck is a Southern Belle’s guide to styling your travel, entertainment and self.

Why did you decide to start a blog and what do you like about blogging?

My blog started back in 2014 during a snowstorm. I had recently gained an influx of followers after competing as Miss South Carolina USA and had been telling myself I needed to keep them “engaged.” Whether it’s the summer dresses I love, or what restaurant has the best view, I love being someone anyone can rely on for an honest opinion.

As a Black blogger, how important is it for your voice to be represented in media/online? 

The content we all consume should be representative of the community around us. Black voices are here, have been here and deserve to be heard. And for the first time in my lifetime, I hear far more than just the Black community demanding diversity.

Do you think you run into more challenges than your contemporary white bloggers? 

I think oftentimes brands feel like they only have to fill one seat with a person of color, and when they do, they consider the job done. But I don’t think a brand would ever limit themselves with the number of white people they’d include.

Do you feel compelled to write about Black issues in your blog or do you feel free to write about whatever subject you choose? 

I choose content and topics based on my personal experiences, which as a Black woman, is going to include issues that face the Black community too. I’ve never been one to shy away from expressing my opinion on things that matter.

Website: shadesofpinck.com

Instagram: @shadesofpinck

cocktail bandits 1.jpg

The Cocktail Bandits. Provided

Jonhnny Caldwell and Taneka Reaves, The Cocktail Bandits

Johnny Caldwell and Tenaka Reaves, both 34, blog about Charleston’s food+bev and hospitality scene from a “feminine, urban perspective.” They’re The Cocktail Bandits and authors of “Holy Spirits! Charleston’s Culture through Cocktails.”

On getting your start:

We decided to start our Instagram in 2013. We just posted pictures and small captions of what we were drinking. People enjoyed it and wanted more content, so we started the blog to cover our beverage adventures in more depth.

On representation: 

Being Black women, raised in the South, we never saw carefree Black women who enjoy luxury. That is still quite rare. There aren’t many women of color in the booze world. There aren’t many women of color in hospitality unless they’re the “help.” That’s why we started our brand. That’s why we made sure our logo was a Black woman with big hair, and that’s why we have connected with Black women in beverages around the world. 

On challenges: 

When we started, there were not many people of color in the blogger world. Blogging was looked at as a “rich white kid” thing. Even with our following and resume, we still have to prove our value. 

On choosing issues: 

We don’t feel compelled to write about Black issues; that’s our life. We definitely write about our opportunities and lifestyle, but it is always coming from an intersectional lens.

Website: cocktailbandits.com

Instagram: @cocktailbandits

Charleston hospitality bloggers The Cocktail Bandits release new book 'Holy Spirits!'


Ireana Nathan. Morningstarrpix/Provided

Ireana Nathan, XOXO I Joelle

Ireana Nathan, 29, is a kindergarten teacher assistant by day and blogger by night. Her blog XOXO I Joelle focuses on positivity, motivation, fashion and beauty. 

On getting your start: 

I love fashion and I was looking to showcase my style and tips on styling clothes as a plus-size woman. Back in 2016, I felt that there wasn’t a voice for plus-size women here in Charleston and in the blogging community in Charleston. 

On representation:

I’ll start by saying this representation matters! I don’t think businesses and brands understand how important this is, even though its 2020.

On challenges: 

There have been so many events I’ve attended where being the only Black woman or one of the only Black women there would bother me. I think you could call it cherry-picking or meeting the quota for the event. 

On choosing issues: 

Whatever I’m feeling or passionate about — that’s what I write about. Sometimes, I feel that people think my voice doesn’t matter because I don’t speak on Black issues. But I know where I stand. My blog is my take on being a Black woman, period!

Website: xoxoijoelle.com

Instagram: @xoxoijoelle

a dose of fab.jpg

Zaria Brown. Provided

Zaria Brown, A Dose of Fab

Zaria Brown, 27, is from Gaffney and has a lifestyle and fashion blog called A Dose of Fab, that gives style tips and is also tracking her experience as a COVID-19 bride. 

On getting your start: 

I started my blog in 2015 to share my looks with female students at USC. I rarely wore sweats to class, and I often got asked where I shopped; I wanted to provide young women who had a similar sense of style an online stop to find wardrobe pieces at an affordable price. It’s nice to have that online sisterhood.

On representation:

Black bloggers bring a unique voice in media. When you leave us out, you leave out creativity.

On challenges: 

Of course! The biggest challenge is being compensated for my work. I cannot tell you how many times a big brand has reached out to me for a collaboration and claimed that compensating me wasn’t in the budget. It’s a huge disappointment to see a white blogger flourish just because of her follower count or image when I can provide just as much value.

On choosing issues: 

While I do feel free to write about any subject, I think it’s important to keep in mind I’m never not writing as a Black woman. My opinions, thoughts and blog posts are indicative of that. 

Website: adoseoffab.com

Instagram: @adoseoffab

jai jones.jpeg

Jai Jones. Miguel Buencamino/Holy City Handcraft/Provided

Jai Jones, Jai Eats

Jai Jones, 32, is originally from Spartanburg but has lived in Charleston most of his life. He’s a creative director, and his blog Jai Eats highlights his favorite places to eat and drink in Charleston and the stories of the people behind it all. 

On getting your start: 

I started the blog back in 2017 and chose to focus on the culinary world since, at that time, Charleston was in the midst of becoming more widely recognized as a food destination. I really love sharing stories and being a resource for people to find new places to dine or drink. I love when someone discovers a favorite burger spot or cocktail bar in town that becomes a new favorite for them. 

On representation:

I think it’s always been important, and especially now, since there is so much value in having different voices with unique backgrounds to provide their unique points of view. Especially with food, the culinary traditions that we grow up around are so important to individual cultures, and having that diverse representation allows media to be more representative of the population they serve.  

On challenges: 

When it comes to the blogging and influencer communities, there are people of different backgrounds that are representing everything from fashion to food, yet sometimes events don’t reflect that level of diversity. 

On choosing issues: 

I think it’s important that Black issues are written about and discussed, but I do, in general, try to highlight as many different aspects of the culinary world that I can, and really make an effort to include a diverse range of restaurants and stories when it comes to blogging.

Website: jaieats.com 

Instagram: @jaieats

Meet some of Charleston's most popular bloggers and social media influencers


Jalisa Nelson. @shotbykmarie/Provided

Jalisa Nelson, iMadameJay

Jalisa Nelson, 29, is from Blackville and has been in Charleston for four years. Her blog iMadameJay is about her multiple passions, including natural hair, beauty and lifestyle. 

On getting your start: 

When I started my blog last year, my main goal was to introduce my audience to the person behind the natural hair and beauty content I’ve been posting on YouTube and Instagram since 2014.

On representation:

When I first started content creating, I did it because I was influenced by other Black women that I followed online. Representation matters, so if my voice and presence online can be a source of positive influence for the next Black woman or young Black girl out there, then I will know that what I am doing is making a difference.

On challenges: 

Black content creators are beginning to speak out more about the discrepancies in the pay gap and the opportunities that are offered between white and Black content creators. It was an issue that I was not aware of until recently.

On choosing issues: 

I think it’s important to stay informed but also learn about how we can make a difference in this cultural climate. But I also like to keep a healthy balance between sharing that information and anything else that I am passionate about. 

Website: imadamejay.com

Instagram: @iMadameJay

Angell Troxler (copy)

Angell Troxler. Provided

Angell Troxler, Life of Angell

Angell Troxler, 40, is originally from Kentucky but is now a Charleston-based teacher looking for nooks to photograph. Her blog, Life of Angell, is a lifestyle blog about her fashion, photography and more. 

On getting your start: 

About fours years ago, a couple girlfriends and I were sitting in a London airport when they challenged me to “do more with my writing,” so when I returned to the states I started a blog. I love owning a piece of the internet and sharing my perspective. It’s a real bonus that I can use what I do on my blog and bring it into my classroom. 

On representation:

I always think back to being a little girl and wanting to be around and learn about more people that looked like me. Several decades later, while it’s better, there are still Black people that yearn for the same things I wanted as a kid.

On challenges:

Since I’m not native to Charleston, I definitely am very perceptive to certain things. I’ve connected with other Black bloggers and it comes up often how we’re excluded from conversations and events. There are times where it feels like when there is an invite, there’s a max to how many Black bloggers are invited.

On choosing issues: 

I most certainly feel compelled to write about Black issues, especially from an education standpoint. I think voices like mine are rarely given a platform and since I own my blog, I take advantage of the freedom that gives me. This also means I can write about whatever else I want and that’s a wonderful thing because I have lots to say and share! 

Website: lifeofanangell.com

Instagram: @lifeofanangell_ 


Venita Aspen. Provided

Venita Aspen

Venita Aspen is a Charleston native whose blog covers fun recipes, outfits and “everything in between.” 

On getting your start: 

I started my blog back in 2011, alongside my Instagram, but I really started before that on Tumblr. I choose to talk about things that inspire me, and I like being able to provide people with a perspective that they might not normally encounter.

On representation:

It’s very important that Black voices in all industries be amplified. Often, our narratives or our positions don’t get the time of day, so as the culture around the world is breathing in these micro-changes, my industry needs to change with it. The use of Black culture without the need for Black voices is a nefarious trend that needs to be addressed and halted now.

On challenges: 

There’s isn’t one workplace culture, no matter the industry, that doesn’t reflect the rules of society. If we recognize that this relationship is a mirror, then we are confined to this agreement, bound by idea that discrimination is the norm. There have been many instances that I can recall in this career where I wasn’t given equal pay as my white female counterparts for doing the exact same jobs with the exact same companies. These challenges exist and are persistent.

On choosing issues:  

It’s not necessarily about being compelled to write about Black issues. I’m a Black woman who is living the Black experience. My content and actions will always come from a place born in that experience. The appearance of my Blackness doesn’t show up in a vacuum.

Website: venitaaspen.com

Instagram: @venitaaspen

Model, businesswoman and Charleston native Venita Aspen spreads message of inclusion

jessica 1.png

Jessie Lipscomb (left) with her son Jackson and husband Matt. Ruta Smith/Provided

Jessie Lipscomb, Momma Lips 

Jessie Lipscomb, 31, is an illustrator and a mom to three kids under 4, with her oldest having Autism. She started her family on the West Coast, but moved to Charleston for the warm beaches. Her blog Momma Lips is about parenting, raising a kid (Jackson) with Autism and self-care. 

On getting started: 

I started Momma Lips, Herself, when I was pregnant with my oldest in 2016. I had started looking for Black mom bloggers that I could relate to and honestly couldn’t find any in the way I was looking. Sharing Jackson’s journey not only helps other parents starting their journey, but it brings clarity to ours.

On representation:

Being a Black blogger is a gift. It’s important for our voices to be heard because a lot of the time, it’s our culture that is being influenced on others, yet we receive no credit or even acknowledgement. I want my kids growing up and seeing kids that look like them everywhere they go, so they know they can be whatever they want to be.

On challenges:  

The current obstacle is being shown the same appreciation as white influencers. Why would someone pay a Black influencer less than a white one? Do we not push out quality content or don’t look the part enough?Living in the South is a challenge in itself. Companies claim they want different, new faces, but apparently influencers that look like me are too different. If companies are truly looking for different faces and claim to be diverse, they need to put their money where their mouth is and pay Black influencers.

On choosing issues: 

I write about whatever I want to write about! Writing about specifically Black issues is difficult, because I get riled up and off-topic. I primarily write about Autism. 

Website: mommalipsherself.com

Instagram: @momma_lips, @mommalipsdraws

telisha taylor.jpg

Telisha Taylor. Provided

Telisha Taylor, Fashionable Traveler + Sip, Bite and Taste It

Telisha Taylor is a creative coach who was born and raised in Charleston. Her blog Fashionable Traveler is about the places she’s gone and clothing she wears, while her Instagram page Sip, Bite and Taste It is about the food she eats. 

On getting started: 

I started around 6 years ago. I did a good bit of traveling around that time and would find myself having to retell my experiences to friends, coworkers and family. I love that people are inspired by my experiences and someone may try something new or go somewhere different simply because I shared what I love.

On representation:

The more people who come across my platform and relate to it think to themselves they can do this, too.

On challenges: 

Absolutely! Unfortunately, the lack of diversity and inclusivity has always been a challenge. We have a long way to go locally, nationally and globally.

On choosing issues: 

I’m compelled to write about experiences to give people something to look forward to. I hope to inspire them to step out of their comfort zones and go, see and do something new.

Website: fashionabletraveler.com

Instagram: @thefashionabletraveler@sipbiteandtasteit

Good for the soul or guilty pleasure? Water cooler tips from Charleston's cultural leaders.


Shakiya Mackall. Provided

Shakiya Mackall, Purity Vanity

Shakiya Mackall, 27, is originally from Maryland but has called Charleston home for more than a decade. Her blog Purity Vanity focuses on faith, beauty (inner and outer) and lifestyle.

On getting your start: 

My goal is to help women navigate this thing we call life, and to be a light that encourages them to be who they were created to be in any way I can! One thing that I share frequently on my blog is that I have not “arrived” and that I am glowing and growing with them. I am not perfect, nor am I wanting to portray that I am. 

On representation:

Our voice is what we use to connect with our audience and what ultimately creates our tribe. We all have something to give and share, so I think that we all should be afforded the same opportunities and be equally recognized for them.

On challenges: 

Many Black bloggers are often underpaid or are simply not considered because of their race, which is completely wrong. Personally, I want to see more unity and genuine support between bloggers of all races.

On choosing issues: 

I believe that issues that are presented in the Black community can fit in any of the categories I speak about on my blog. 

Website: purityvanity.com

Instagram: @purityvanity

KJ Kearney (copy)

KJ Kearney. Jesse Volk/Provided

KJ Kearney, Black Food Fridays

KJ Kearney, 37, is a North Charleston native who loves highlighting Black-owned businesses and restaurants on his Instagram page Black Food Fridays

On getting your start: 

The Instagram account was started on April 5. I was in the middle of writing a book about Beyoncé and Civic Engagement and needed a break. Because I’m a nerd, a “break” from writing was to research which Black-owned restaurants were open during COVID-19, which lead to a realization that people do not know where to find Black-owned restaurants and it would be great if there was a way to stimulate support for said businesses. Thus, #BlackFoodFridays was born.

On representation: 

It’s important to be represented, yes, but it’s more important for it to be done authentically. We are seeing a lot more Black media online, yet sometimes it gets pigeonholed into speaking for all Black people or for being the “Black Voice” on an issue instead of being a person with thoughts who is also Black. There is a distinct difference between the two, and I hope to continue to highlight the inequity between them.

On challenges: 

I wouldn’t know. I don’t compare myself to other bloggers, let alone white bloggers. My niche is so narrow that I tend to seek those with similar ideas and concepts to follow rather than worrying about people who aren’t necessarily in my lane. 

On choosing issues: 

Everything I do is focused on Black businesses, but from a “Here is someone you can support” angle versus a “Here is how life is beating us done” perspective. #BlackFoodFridays is a solutions-based approach to an overarching issue.

Instagram: @BlackFoodFridays

GoFundMe: gofundme.com/Black-food-fridays

Not a moment but a 'new normal': Black-owned SC businesses seeing surge in support


Janetha Middleton. Provided

Janetha Middleton, Gracefully Broken

Janetha Middleton, 27, was born and raised on Edisto Island. Her multi-dimensional lifestyle blog Gracefully Broken covers everything from her experience with therapy to trips to Disney World. 

On getting your start: 

Blogging and sharing my life online has inspired so many women to live authentically and take better care of themselves. I am always telling my audience that “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” Gracefully Broken is where they can refill their cup.

On representation: 

It is extremely important that my voice as a Black blogger is amplified in the media and online, because we hold tremendous spending power, and Black women are the blueprint. 

On challenges: 

As a Black woman and especially as a plus-size Black woman, I run into challenges like brands not having diverse representation in color or size. The blogging industry, much like the boardrooms of most major corporations, lacks diversity.

On choosing issues: 

I honestly write about whatever is on my heart. I have addressed issues such as the recent riots and the pressure that Black women face daily to perform “Black Girl Magic.” I refuse to let society dehumanize me.

Website: iamgracefullybroken.com

Instagram: @gracewithcurves

narcisa 2.jpg

Narcisa Maura Miller. Provided

Narcisa Maura Miller

Narcisa Maura Miller was born in Brooklyn. Her mother is from Honduras, and her father is from Panama. For her self-titled lifestyle blog, she shares her “grow and glow” motto.

On getting your start: 

I’ve been blogging now for well over eight years. My blog started out as a place to just share my life and my love for beauty and fashion. I relaunched… as a lifestyle blog. My spontaneous “Enneagram 7” personality struggled to fit in one box. Thank goodness for change and growth!

On representation:

Black bloggers are constantly marginalized, and implementing change shouldn’t be temporary to meet a quota but require well-thought-out permanent steps.

On challenges: 

Two bloggers, one Black and one white, with the same following and platforms can be given two different deals. I’ll let you guess which one gets the higher pay. 

On choosing issues: 

Writing about the changes isn’t my tactic. Having one-on-one conversation to implement change is where my heart is.

Website: narcisamaura.com

Instagram: @narcisam08

15 SC black creatives talk about their art as a form of protest