Amid anti-racism protests and calls for brands to support black communities and diversify their workforce, another movement demanding transparency and reform has emerged: the pay gap between black and non-black influencers.
The Instagram account @influencerpaygap is inviting influencers to anonymously share a breakdown of their brand partnership fees. Each post includes a screenshot of a direct message from an anonymous influencer featuring details of their race and total follower count as well as the industry, the brand, the type of campaign and the fee they received for the full brand partnership.
Since the profile was created on June 7, 120 posts highlighting brand deals of influencers across different backgrounds have been published.
One person on the influencer outreach of an undisclosed brand that works with mostly black US-based influencers noted:
“I was shocked at the fees I was being sent for bloggers who had 100,000-200,000 [followers] asking for only £50 or £100 a post. From a blogger’s perspective that’s usually what micro-influencers get paid . . .whereas I have white friends who earn £1,000 a post with 50k followers.”
Another user, a British Indian blogger with about 95,000 followers, said:
“I would say 90% of the time I am turned down for any rate I give and told there’s no budget so they are only able to do gifting with me. My general rate per post is £100 and this gets turned down almost every time. The biggest paid campaign I have done was £500 for Daniel Wellington, 5 posts with swipe up stories over the period of 3 months.”
One black influencer with 35,000 followers said that despite her strong engagement rate, the fast fashion brands she’s worked with have paid her £100-150 per post. Whereas a white influencer with 42,000 followers said that on average she earns £400 per post and £100 per story.
Around the same time the influencer pay gap account was formed, a group of six influencers of color posted an open letter addressed to Fohr and its founder, James Nord, calling the company out for underpaying the black influencers in its network.
The letter, co-signed by Valerie Eguavoen, a black micro-influencer based in North Carolina, notes:
“We have complained, explained, consulted, and our voices are still silenced with polished campaigns that convince the mainstream media that Fohr is a change maker in the content creation space. We are done “‘hopping on the phone with your team.’” We want transparency. No truth, solutions.”
In response, Nord said that in the past six months, Fohr has paid $7 million to influencers comprising 25 percent black or indigenous influencers, 39 percent caucasian and 36 percent non-black people of color.