Instagram account @WorkItBlackGirl profiles Black girls at work

My new Instagram account @WorkItBlackGirl will be a source of inspiration and information for anyone looking to start or change careers.

Since I could write (which I learned at age 3) I’ve been intentional about organizing my personal thoughts and experiences into cohesive pieces. And there was a moment (when I was failing out of my undergraduate biology program) that I firmly accepted that writing was my “thing.” It was something I thoroughly enjoyed and was good at. So I started to tell people, “I’m a writer.” And when they’d ask me what I wanted to do with a degree in gender studies, I’d say “I want to keep writing.” But I had no idea what that meant. I had no idea how to make my style of writing into a career for myself. I’d already invested too many years into college to change my major (again) to journalism. And I didn’t have the money to pay for an advanced journalism degree after I graduated. I just knew I wanted to write, and get paid enough money to live.

ChloeAnd then one day my best friend sent me a career profile of this successful Black girl writer whose work I was familiar with. In it she outlined exactly what she had done to get from points A-Z in her career. She gave tangible advice–set up informational meetings with editors and build relationships, as opposed to “believe in yourself”–and realistic portrayals of what kind of lifestyle her work afforded her. I had never even conceptualized the usefulness of a “career profile” before I read hers. It was practical and instructive as opposed to simply aspirational or boastful.

But I haven’t come across other similarly meaningful profiles since. A big part of this was because most of the other women profiled by the same site were white. And as someone who recognizes that work and labor are always entangled in our racial, gendered, and classed visuality and experiences, profiles of successful white women just wouldn’t do.

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 10.04.13 PMLast week, I ran the idea of a website focused solely on the careers of Black women by another Black girl friend of mine. And being the all-things-digital guru she is, she said “why not just do an Instagram page. Bring the info to where people already are.” A few hours later, after sending her some questions, @WorkItBlackGirl was born. It profiles the work of Black girls and women across industries by asking them how they started, what the perks and drawbacks of their work are, how they excel, and the advice they’d give to others. I love the idea that followers of @WorkItBlackGirl, real women, doing real work, can expect images of other Black girls who are successful and happy (by their own definitions). The captions for these images are filled with personal testimonies, information, and advice that 1. Make a good life seem more accessible than ever and 2. Trusts Black women to be the experts on their own experiences. In other words, success no longer belongs exclusively to the select few with tens of thousands of followers and boss chicks come in multiple forms.

With @WorkItBlackGir, I want to profile the work of everyday Black women across fields and industries. I want the women featured to include trans women, sex workers, those with and without college degrees or other formal education, those with disabilities, those in non-traditional professions/economies, etc. The only criteria to submit is that you identify as a Black girl, and you love what you do for a living! So if that’s you or anyone you know, email workitblackgirl@gmail.com to get featured!


Feministing's resident "sexpert", Sesali is a published writer and professional shit talker. She is a queer Black girl, fat girl, and trainer. She was the former Training Director at the United States Student Association and later a member of the Youth Organizing team at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She received her bachelors in Women's and Gender Studies from Depaul University in 2012 and is currently pursuing a master's in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta. A self identified "trap" feminist, and trained with a reproductive justice background, her interests include the intersections of feminism and: pop culture, youth culture, social media, hip hop, girlhood, sexuality, race, gender, and Beyonce. Sesali joined the team in 2010 as one of the winners of our So You Think You Can Blog contest.

is Feministing's resident sexpert and cynic.

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