10 Black creators you should know on Patreon
Discover what these creative leaders do best and get their advice for navigating life as a creator.
To celebrate Black History Month and Black Futures Month, we're shining the light on ten Black creators whose fresh, wholly original work sparks all sorts of things: laughter, deeper knowledge, connection, social change. These multi-hyphenates — comedians, podcasters, visual artists, video creators, writers, musicians, historians, cultural critics, educators, style mavens, trendsetters, and storytellers — make Patreon, and the world, a brighter and more inspiring place.
Get a glimpse at what these creators are up to, plus their wisdom for fellow independent creators.
For nearly three decades, Keith "Keef" Knight has made hundreds of comics inspired by his own life experiences, as well as culture and politics. His funny and insightful work, including the series "The K Chronicles" and "(Th)ink," have appeared in a long list of publications, including Ebony, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, MAD Magazine, and The San Francisco Chronicle.
"I really try to focus on issues concerning communities of color because I just don't see that stuff tackled enough in cartooning," he said in a day-in-the-life video.
In addition to publishing books, delivering talks accompanied by his signature slideshows, and creating exclusive content for his Patreon members (think: weekly cartoons, behind-the-scenes content, and special surprises), Keith co-created and served as executive producer for both seasons of "Woke," a Hulu show based on his life.
On creative agency: "The advice I always give to everybody is: Tell your authentic story," Keith told Vulture. "Because if you don't, someone else will, and they're going to screw it up."
Hosted by friends Kid Fury and Crissle West, longform comedy podcast The Read dives into wide-ranging cultural topics including current events, LGBTQ+ issues, mental health, media, and hip-hop and pop culture's most trying celebrities. Over the past decade, the duo has built an avid following and produced more than 500 episodes. They've also hosted live shows, dropped signature merch, and released a comedy album. They offer their Patreon members early access to live events, voting power, discounts in their merch store, and members-only livestreams and bonus videos. To celebrate the podcast's 10-year anniversary this month, The Read hosted a pop-up shop in New York City, followed by a special live event at the iconic Beacon Theater.
On the importance of community: "The most important aspect of growing with the audience for me is just listening to what people are getting the most out of and fine-tuning it in a way that fulfills me — that still allows me to have fun while also giving the people the experience that they want the most," Kid Fury told Fast Company. "Because if the two of us are the only ones having fun, then what kind of damn podcast is that? It has to be a community thing where everyone is getting the most out of everything."
At turns jazzy, operatic, and atmospheric, poet-philosopher KAMAUU's music blends together strands of rap, reggae, soul, and doo wop. Since signing with Atlantic Records in 2015, the New York City-based artist has released an EP, two full-length albums, and several singles. His first solo single "Jusfayu" was named one of NPR's "Songs We Loved" and has been streamed more than 10 million times. On Patreon, his fans get early access to new music and merch drops, his archives, a monthly movie night, and sound baths. KAMAUU's third record is slated for release this summer, and his new single "flings" came out earlier this month, complete with a music video.
On learning from members: "Patreon is a good place to understand who your following is and what they actually want," Kamauu said, during Patreon's Pull Up x Black Creators event. After surveying his audience, he said it was "humbling to find out how much people want to connect instead of just getting something."
Actress, comedian, writer, and social justice advocate Amanda Seales aims to make change while making audiences laugh using her signature blend of wit and insight. Adding to her lengthy list of notable projects, including starring in HBO's Insecure and hosting the variety show Smart, Funny, and Black, she kicked off nationally syndicated radio show The Amanda Seales Show in November 2022. This month, she also released a revamped version of her weekly podcast Small Doses, featuring more in-person guests, a set lush with pink decor, and a video version that's available on her YouTube channel Amanda Seales TV. Members of her Patreon community The Amandaverse get access to bonus Small Doses content, along with the rest of the benefits of membership.
On having a strong support system: "You've got to have a therapist, and you've got to have a good tribe of people around you," Amanda said in a video interview with Morning Brew. "No matter how strong [of a person you are], how sure of yourself, how mature … someone might have said the exact right thing to you that just poked that nerve, and you need those people who can remind you and center you and ground you when you have lost the ability to do so."
Content creator, creative director, art director, culture commentator, style setter: Jade Fox claims all of these titles. Featured in outlets like Paper, Hypebeast, and VH1, she brings her humorous, community-minded perspective to today's most exciting conversations on fashion and pop culture. Her Patreon members get access to exclusive behind-the-scenes content, personal updates, reaction videos, vlogs, livestream hangs, and archived Instagram Live recordings.
On navigating burnout: "It was impossible for me to really have the motivation or the energy when the content creator lane was just really burning me out," Jade said in a Patreon video on Instagram. "What I decided to do was add a bit of strategy to these conversations that I was having online: How is this week of content on Instagram going to help my long-term goal of being an art director? And I started to see my content as a resumé. So now I'm able to get opportunities that have nothing to do with content but people trust what I have to say because of the content."
In 2017, best friends Justine Kay and Natasha Scott launched their podcast 2 Black Girls, 1 Rose with a belief that "people of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, sizes, and even haircuts deserve representation" in The Bachelor franchise. In each episode, the duo recaps and roasts recent episodes, and they've expanded their scope to dish on other reality dating shows like Married at First Sight. With membership levels named after the iconic flower of romantic rituals — Rose Petals, Rose Stems, and Rose Bouquet — their Patreon members can get access to weekly episodes, invitations to a dedicated Facebook group and Discord server, and a monthly tea party hang.
On changing direction: "Even if it seems a little scary ... it's okay to scrap things you've been doing for a chance of doing it better with more intention and strategy behind it," Natasha explained, in the article "How reimagining their brand helped this creative duo boost their business". "It's probably a smart thing for your business!"
Long-time vlogger and current history graduate student Jouelzy shares Black political history through a pop culture lens on her podcast and in her researched video content. Founded in 2010, her book club, called SBG Book Club (short for #SmartBrownGirl), aims to make reading more accessible. Through well-crafted reading guides and syllabi as well as live discussions, the book club invites the public into the sort of explorations of complex theory and philosophical thought often confined to the elite halls of academia. With levels named after gemstones, members of Jouelzy's Patreon get access to her "#PopSnark" podcast, YouTube video syllabi, saved Instagram Live recordings, a discount code for #SmartBrownGirl's shop, and exclusive merch.
On tending to your mental health: "I do the things that I feel best about and then I give myself grace to take a nap, drink some water, and eat some food and go about my day," Jouelzy said during Patreon's Pull Up x Black Creators event. "[TikTok] has radically changed the way influencers or creators work, and they think they have to be posting three, four, 10 times a day … No! I don't want to have a panic attack. I don't want to have a mental health breakdown. Because when you're not taking care of yourself, those things catch up with you, and you don't get to decide when they catch up with you."
The quintet of childhood best friends behind Round Table Television, known as RT TV, makes reaction videos with their wild takes on popular animé, music, sports, and live-action television series, as well as a pop-culture podcast. Hailing from Rhode Island and now based in Los Angeles, the group's dynamic helped them create content that garnered more than a million YouTube subscribers — and they've been expanding their realm to TikTok, too. On Patreon, RT TV offers fans three membership levels, with benefits such as voting on the next series they react to and early access to uncut episodes before they premiere to the general public on YouTube. And they've invested their membership revenue into expanding their team and moving into a new studio.
On fan feedback: "Because our Patreon community are paying consumers, we treat most of their suggestions as constructive criticism. It's the perfect test pool for our newest ideas!"
Best friends Megan Ashley and B. Simone don't shy away from hard conversations. That's a superpower that shines in their lifestyle podcast Know For Sure, which is dedicated to healing, growing, and evolving in relationships and life. "Patreon is our way of throwing a family cookout every week," they write. Fans can join their single-level "Close Fam" membership on Patreon for $15 per month for access to the Know For Sure group chat, weekly bonus content, live hangouts, voting power, and early access to episodes and tickets. The pair brought the podcast to the stage for the first time with a live event in Atlanta this month — and the VIP section sold out in pre-sales to their Patreon members before tickets were even released to the general public!
On fan community: "That's the most beautiful thing," says B. Simone. ". That's the purpose of it. You have this community of like-minded people who want to heal, grow and evolve together, because that's our brand. So if you're here, you want to do that … [There's] all these people that want to do the same thing that you can connect with."
Hosted by Khadeen and Devale Ellis, the stars of the show The Ellises, the Dead Ass podcast delves into love, sex, and marriage. In each weekly episode, the long-time couple dishes up personal truths, hard-won wisdom, and inspiration for listeners to level up in their own lives. And they offer Patreon members access to bonus episodes, a video version of the podcast, voting power, and a group chat. In early February 2023, the Ellises published a book all about how to build a meaningful relationship titled We Over Me: The Counterintuitive Approach to Getting Everything You Want from Your Relationship — and it landed on The New York Times bestseller list.
On self care: "Self-care, for me, is taking time to myself and doing absolutely nothing," Khadeen told BlackLove.com. "Sometimes, it's putting my phone down, which is difficult for me because a lot of my work requires being on it. Self-care is not giving people instant access to me. Sometimes I need to give people 24 hours before I return a message."
If you're seeking to accelerate your creative career, connect with a community of creators of color who get it, and be part of the magic, sign up to join Patreon's Pull Up.