9 “Slideshow Activist” Accounts To Brighten Up Your Feed (And Your Hope in the World)

2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year and folks are using Instagram more than ever to stay informed and inspired. Here are a few accounts that have elevated our timeline and expanded our thinking.

Activism | journalism | social media
Image: IG - @glographics

We’ve heard it many times now: 2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year. Thankfully, the seasons are changing and the months that remain are bringing us closer to January; an end is finally in sight. With a global health crisis amidst a pandemic, escalating racial tensions affecting the United States and many other countries worldwide, and a continued state of uncertainty and confusion running amok, now more than ever is the time document, educate and inform in the one way many of us as avid technology users, if not digital natives, know how to best: through social media accounts.

Instagram in particular, despite its saturated content and heavily (read: often, appropriately) criticized algorithm, has been a sort of saving grace of hope and positivity over the last few months, especially as the news became bleaker and sources of information felt too sensationalized or too negative to elicit any effective change and growth. Social media’s evolving role as a news source was a featured trend recently covered on Vox, an American news and opinion website known for its “card stacks” approach to explanatory journalism.

The piece, entitled, “How social justice slideshows took over Instagram” offers commentary on the messages of solidarity and imperative advocacy distributed “through wide chunky typefaces and bold gradient graphics that preface a mini informative slideshow” of information and content on the social networking service when it “reached a zenith in June.” Considering how much the mainstream media often forgets to regard valuable on-the-ground information that can be found and shared by the citizen journalists among us, we thought we’d highlight a few of the accounts that have been teaching and encouraging us throughout this truly wild time.

1. @soyouwanttotalkabout

Activism | journalism | social media

Not affiliated with Ijeoma Oluo’s “So You Want To Talk About Race” 2018 non-fiction book, @SoYouWantToTalkAbout launched in February this past year as a way to “dissect progressive politics and social issues in graphic slideshow form.” Its New York-based creator, Jess, amassed over one million followers by August, using bright colors, unique fonts and Instagram’s slide feature to tap into what she described to Vox as a means “to reach apolitical people” – those who’d rather stay out of politics.

“I’m also trying to reach women my age, millennials who aren’t participating in the conversation because they don’t know where to start,” she continued. @SoYouWantToTalkAbout’s online strategy has been compared to brands that speak to socially-conscious female activists. Topics showcased on its page are versatile and timely, with an obvious left-leaning focus, including, “Things We Should Normalize,” “The Corruption of the Trump Administration,” and naturally, “The Black Lives Matter Movement.”

2. @glographics

Activism | journalism | social media

Glo Atanmo is a Nigerian coach, traveler and creator, responsible for Glo Graphics; her slogan, “spread joy for the glory of God.” This motto holds value further as the coach and content creator runs her own blog called, The Blog Abroad, aimed at “inspiring others through her journey of being a solo female traveler, pushing the envelope of what’s possible, and creating the life of my dreams through a relentless pursuit and downright hustle.”

Glo’s background in educating others on mindful and conscientious traveling has also extended to educational value within individual growth and development, amidst our Internet-age and the current political agenda. Her main graphics on Instagram are posed as questions first, through the channel’s slide form, afterwards providing bold, colorful ease of use language to convey answers. Some of these graphics’ culturally and politically-specific questions lately have included: “Are you guilty of Black tokenism?,” “How do I deal with Trump supporters?,” and “How do I make more Black friends?” She also focuses on entrepreneurship and cultivating a positive mindset, as well as practical tips for growing your online platform or business.

3. @mattxiv

Activism | journalism | social media

“Making beauty political” is New York-based make-up artist and photographer Matt Berstein’s motto when it comes to curating the colorful, makeup messages he designs on his skin and shares over his Instagram. The NYU grad and LGBTQIA+ advocate spreads inclusivity awareness with dynamic, engaging looks, fueled by a political force that significantly questions the American system and the values / ideals that have become overtly problematic given the current political climate. 

The self-taught artist curates his highly shareable content as a means to spotlight queer issues, raise critical questions and deep-dive into timely topics, making this specific type of content more accessible to audiences worldwide. His colorful, creative method of centering LGBTQI+ stories and informed allyship, as well as his heteronormative shaking make-up skills, are chock-full of knowledge and life lessons for the beauty gurus (and not) among us. “Make-up and social media are the tools I’m using to create a digital world in which people can think more deeply about who they are,” he told DAZED in an interview.

4. @rachel.cargle

Activism | journalism | social media

Rachel Cargle is a Black American author, speaker and activist known for her involvement in anti-racism work and for her charity organization, The Loveland Foundation – committed to “showing up for communities of color in unique and powerful ways,” as stated on the charity’s website. The public academic has been heavily involved in 2020’s re-surged Black Lives Matter movement, making waves when her piece for Harper’s Bazaar,Why You Need to Stop Saying ‘All Lives Matter,’” went viral among both supporters and detractors of the movement. 

Cargle has continued to build her brand and increase her social media following by calling out injustices related to feminism, race and equality, among other social issues. Her Instagram showcases a mix of longer form, personal Facebook posts-turned-screenshots, graphics with inspiring quotes by other female creators, podcasts, and audio/visual content aimed at igniting introspective discussion, as well as other thought-provoking forms of education, like her #SaturdaySchool. 

5. @nowhitesaviors

Activism | journalism | social media

No White Saviors is an educational, advocacy campaign led by a mainly female, mainly African team based in Uganda. Their Instagram bio says boldly: “We never said ‘no white people.’ We just know you shouldn’t be the hero of the story.”  

The team behind the initiative uses their collective experience in the development and aid sectors to commit to propelling change forward and keeping their goal alive of offering societal growth with a deliberate anti-racist focus. Their feed includes videos of prominent activists and organizers from a multitude of time periods and movements, inspirational tweets, and food-for-thought commentary on issues heavily affecting the Black community around the world.

6. @wetheurban

Activism | journalism | social media

WE THE URBAN is a Los Angeles-based art and cultural brand hoping to “enlighten, inspire, and empower today and tomorrow’s cultural pacesetters through galvanizing, forward-thinking visuals and fearless storytelling.” Founded by one of the youngest POC Editors-in-Chief in history, Willie Greene, WE THE URBAN, though over a decade old, has started incorporating more of the current social and political agenda in its vibrant, motivational, pep-talk-esque content forms.

The brand also does well in amplifying Black voices and creators, while breaking societal stereotypes and normalizing imperfection as beautiful and powerful. They suggest that their posts “have been proven to increase one’s power by 1000%,” and judging by the commentary of the account’s followers – “this made my day,” “I really needed to hear this,” – they are succeeding. WE THE URBAN also showcases a bi-weekly digital cover story magazine aimed at shedding a light on “multicultural vanguard creatives who push boundaries in fashion, art, music and various other respective creative fields,” as well as a blog for their numerous followers.

7. @blairimani

Activism | journalism | social media

Blair Imani is a Black, Muslim, bisexual educator and author who released her second book, Making Our Way Home: The Great Migration and the Black American Dream, this past year. At 26, the activist has been visibly active in the Black Lives Matter movement since the killing of Alton Sterling in 2016, and has protested against many executive orders signed under the Trump administration. 

Imani’s first published work, entitled, Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History, was published in 2018, with Momo Le as its illustrator, as a spotlight of 70 “overlooked but important people of color, queer people, trans people, disabled people, and more who are changing the world this very moment.” Her activism has also taken center stage in her social media presence, full of vibrant quotes and messages not only of her own making, but of other historians and activists fighting for social justice in today’s day and age. 

8. @shityoushouldcareabout

Activism | journalism | social media

New-Zealand based account Shit You Should Care About (SYSCA) loves bringing its followers shit. Profanity included, as it says on its website and newsletter. In recent months, the account has garnered over 1.5+ million followers, attracting around 100,000 likes per post and having a follower base that includes celebrities – a little like its account, where the founders also post photos of recent pop cultural topics and trends of celebrity activists they deem key figures to give a shit about (Harry Styles, we’re looking at you). Their content revolves heavily around international news, but also focuses on New Zealand politics, through content on Instagram, their website and podcasts.

Like the accounts mentioned above, SYSCA offers a mix of original content and re-shared resources from activists, as well as informative captions with text from official news sources, adding another level of authenticity and relevance to its original work. 

9. @werenotreallystrangers 

Activism | journalism | social media

WNRS is a empowerment platform that has manifested into a physical card game, with intentions to bring more meaningful connections to everyday life. Its founder, Koreen, began her career as an artist and photojournalist, her camera the initial “passport to people” that allowed her to talk to “anyone about anything.” Though it originally set out to focus on relationships and dating, WNRS has expanded its reach, offering words of wisdom to all life situations. The account reflects this with ‘How To’ posts touching on uncomfortable conversations, mental health awareness and other meaningful threads for discussion that can become springboards for deeper understanding between people. 

Koreen’s card packs have also extended their reach, now offering the “Race and Privilege Expansion Pack,” a digital toolkit to facilitate difficult conversations about race and privilege among friends, family and other life connections. 

But there’s more! Here are a final few “Honorable Mentions” to also consider checking out:

10. @theslowfactory for their circular system open learning approach to educating people on the reality and severity of climate change. 

11. @privtoprog for their #ShowUp movement, and mission of inviting people to move from privilege to progress.

12. @letstalkaboutmentalhealth for working to de-stigmatize the narrative on personal mental health.

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