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Black History Month: Creator Spotlight

As part of our recognition of Black History Month, Telecare’s Communications Team compiled a list of Black creators who inspire, educate, and make Black history in their own impressive way.

We are excited to share these contributors who make their history by bringing their joy and passion to their work and sharing it with others.

Read about each of our Communications Team’s picks below!

Educators & Activists

By Lindsay Harte (she/her), Communications Specialist

To close out our Black Creator Spotlight series, I chose to focus on Black educators and activists that bring learning, joy, and the opportunity to expand my views on my newsfeed. I appreciate what I have learned from each one over the years – how to think critically, how to navigate certain topics, how to challenge myself and systems of oppression, how to harness joy -- and how to show up and support their work. While social media is (mostly) free, their work sharing knowledge involves an incredible amount of time, energy, and emotional labor to cultivate a cohesive message. If you find their work helpful, I encourage you to support them in any way you can – check out their workshops, subscribe to their newsletters, or do whatever works for you.

Imani Barbarin (she/her)

  • Imani is a Black disabled writer and activist that has worked in the communications field for 10+ years, most recently as the Director of Communications for a non-profit in Pennsylvania. Born with cerebral palsy, Imani uses her platforms to speak from the perspective of a disabled Black woman. In the last few years, she has created over a dozen trending hashtags that allow disabled folk the opportunity to have their perspectives heard while forcing the world to take notice (most recently, #MyDisabledLifeIsWorthy). Imani's work has helped inform my work at Telecare – ensuring I think critically about bringing various perspectives and representations to our marketing materials.

Rachel Cargle (she/her)

  • Rachel is a writer and entrepreneur who started The Loveland Group (which Kaila featured, below). Her donation-based learning community called The Great Unlearn is a great resource for critical discourse committed to celebrating and highlighting genius academics of color – with a young leader version coming in 2022! Rachel is a regular contributor to the New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Forbes, and Essence.

Celeste Viciere (she/her)

  • Celeste, also known as Celeste The Therapist, is a therapist, mental health advocate, best-selling author, and podcast host. Celeste has been in the mental health field for almost 20 years and believes in the power of living a conscious life. She has dedicated her personal and professional endeavors to breaking the stigma surrounding mental and emotional health, especially in communities of color.

Rachel Ricketts (she/her)

  • Raquel Willis is a Black transgender activist, award-winning writer, and media strategist dedicated to elevating the dignity of marginalized people, particularly Black transgender people. She has held ground-breaking posts throughout her career including director of communications for the Ms. Foundation, executive editor of Out magazine, and national organizer for Transgender Law Center (TLC). In 2018, she founded Black Trans Circles, a project of TLC, focused on developing the leadership of Black trans women in the South and Midwest. I highly recommend watching her Black Trans History reels on Instagram this month! 

Ericka Hart, M. Ed (she/they)

  • This is my main star, the person who shows up on my feed most often. I had trouble condensing everything I admire about them, but here it goes: Ericka is a Black queer femme activist, writer, highly-acclaimed speaker and award-winning sexuality educator with a Master’s of Education in Human Sexuality from Widener University. Ericka has taught elementary-aged youth to adults across New York City for more than 12 years, including four years at Columbia University’s School of Social Work. I follow Ericka because she unabashedly pushes boundaries – at 28 she was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer and embarked on a mission to spark a broader conversation about visibility of cancer survivors when she realized her identity was not a part of her treatment (she went viral for her photo sharing her mastectomy scars). She regularly features queer, trans, Black, brown, and femme voices on her platforms and workshops available on her website (a great resource for diving into anti-blackness, gender, and social justice). She also showcases JOY on her platforms – regularly bringing her partner Eb to the conversation.. You can catch Ericka on Showtime’s recently released documentary series, “Everything’s Gonna to be All White”

Mental Health and Wellness Resources

By Kaila DeRienzo (she/her), Communication Specialist

When we are mindful of who we follow on social media, our platforms can be a way of connecting to each other in such powerful ways. The Black-led foundations and creators featured in the following list are doing a great job of doing just that — sharing important, culturally competent information to broaden access to mental health services to communities of color. Backgrounds and diversity deserve to be heard, celebrated, seen, and elevated — not just during Black History Month, but year-round.

The Loveland Foundation

  • Founded in 2018 by Rachel Cargle, a Black American author, speaker, and activist, The Loveland Foundation is a continuation of a wildly successful online birthday fundraiser that Rachel hosted to provide therapy for Black women and girls. The foundation aims to bring opportunity and healing to communities of color through therapy, fellowships, residencies, listening tours, and more.

Dive in Well

  • Dive in Well is a beautiful online resource that was relaunched and expanded by founder Maryam Ajayi, an entrepreneur and energy healer. It operates under the belief structure that we all have a right to be well, which means creating an equitable wellness industry. They provide the tools to empower individuals and businesses in the form of digital workbooks, workshops, consultations, and corporate training.

Ethel's Club

  • Ethel's Club is an immersive digital wellness platform centering on people of color. The community offers unique wellness classes, group tarot readings, in-person events, and exclusive product drops. How did Ethel's Club get its name? Founder and CEO, Naj Austin, named the organization after her grandmother, Ethel Lucas, who was a matriarch figure in a tight-knit Black community.

The Exhale App

  • Exhale is an emotional well-being app designed for Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color (BIWOC). Exhale was quite literally named for what the creator, Katara McCarty, wants you to do while using the app -- exhale and let go of all that isn't serving you while breathing in life, energy, healing, and love. The app and space itself were created and cultivated by BIWOC. Give some "soul medicine" a try and download it today in the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

The Shine App

  • When 1 out of 3 people considers this app "life-changing," it's worth a download! Founders Marah Lidey and Naomi Hirabayashi met as coworkers who didn't see themselves-- a Black woman and a half-Japanese woman-- and their experiences represented in mainstream wellness. In this inclusive self-care toolkit, you'll find daily meditations, self-care resources, and personalized support. There is both a free and paid version of the app available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

Black-Owned Businesses

By Jamie Pitre (she/her), Communications Editor

I chose these businesses because they are some of my favorite stores. Most of the businesses are based in California or online, so be sure to check out the websites for more information. They are all very diverse in their niche markets and in the way they bring their culture into their work. From shopping for plants or planners, to getting help with taxes or unwinding at the spa, I wanted to bring attention to smaller Black-owned shops that deserve recognition during this special historic month!   

Ivory Paper Co. (Online Shop)

  • Founded by Alitzah Stinson, this family-owned stationery business makes the best planners to get every aspect of your life organized. Whether it’s for work, your dreams, journaling, or meal prepping, Ivory Paper Co. has got your back!

Spoonful of Faith (Online Shop)

  • Owned by Jena Holliday, Spoonful of Faith is an online retail store selling home goods, apparel, accessories, and more. You can find Jena’s work not only on her own website, but she is also an illustrator for The Happy Planner. You can find her work at your local Michael’s craft store, Joann’s, Hobby Lobby, and Target!

Plantblerd (Online shop)

  • If you’re really into house plants, head over to PlantBlerd, owned by Kamili Bell Hill. Not only does PlantBlerd sell plants, but she also provides advice on how to keep them alive, what to do if they start wilting, and sells PlantBlerd merchandise so you can show the world how much you love plants! I mean, who doesn’t want to live in a home surrounded by greenery?

GatherVerse (Online shop)

  • Christopher Lafayette started GatherVerse to bring technology to everyone. GatherVerse is an annual virtual conference where attendees can learn about the Metaverse (a virtual-reality space, where users are immersed in a computer-generated environment with other users). If you’re into the Metaverse or if you play video games, this conference is for you!

Graphically DJ (Los Angeles)

  • Graphically DJ by DaJohn Duplessis is a small business run out of sunny Los Angeles, California! DaJohn is a talented graphic designer who can make anything from stickers, to t-shirts, to social media graphics. Think you’d like to start a blog or know someone with a small business who could use some graphic help? Reach out to DaJohn on Instagram.

Cupcakin Bakeshop (Berkeley & Oakland, CA)

  • Cupcakin Bakeshop is the heart of the Bay Area and is ran by the talented baker Lila Owens. She owns two locations in the Bay Area: her first bakery is in Berkeley and her second is in Oakland. With a different cupcake flavor featured every day, you’re guaranteed to find your new sweet obsession!

Skin Esthetics (Point Richmond, CA)

  • Owned by Melody Marginy, Skin Esthetics in Point Richmond, CA is one way you can relax and unplug. If you’re finding yourself in need of a break or a place to decompress, this spa is cozy, intimate, and a beautiful way to “treat yo ‘self”!

You Go Natural (Online)

  • There are a lot of magical perks that come with having curly hair, but what isn’t always magical is the work it takes to upkeep those curls! If you need a break from your daily routine, You Go Natural (YGN) by Monique Little has your back. They offer an array of silk-lined turbans, silk swim caps, bonnets, and they even have turbans made for your workout! All of their products are made to tailor to every type of Black hair! YGN also just launched their men’s line, so there is truly something for everyone.

Black Artists & Creators

By Liliana Browne (she/her), Communications Editor

For Black History Month, it was important for me to spotlight different Black creatives that resonate with my personal creative interests. Each person that I’ve spotlighted has either impacted the Bay Area community or made sure that they impacted their community through their creative process. Each person is a role model for younger generations within the Black community because they inspire others to engage with their culture through creativity.

Xan Blood Walker – Street Photographer (Emeryville, CA)

  • Xan was born in Seattle, Washington. She focuses on taking urban photos from all parts of the Bay Area. Creativity and art were prominent in her life growing up, which resulted in getting two BFAs in printmaking and painting. She later pursued a Masters in Art Therapy. Read more about Xan’s story and check out her artwork here.

Labrinth – Song Writer (London, England)

  • Labrinth, aka Timothy Lee McKenzie, is a British songwriter, rapper, and record producer. He grew up in a family of musicians where gospel music was prominently played at home. He currently has worked on the soundtrack for Euphoria, alongside Sia and Diplo, and many other musicians. Listen to Labrinth’s music here.

Zendaya – Actress (Oakland, CA)

  • Zendaya grew up in Oakland and began acting in her local community from an early age. Alongside acting, she started dancing the hula and joined a hip-hop dance group, Future Shock Oakland. Eventually, she starred in Disney's Shake It Up and has since starred in larger projects like Dune and Euphoria. Zendaya recently opened up about her mental health journey for British Vogue. You can read the story here.

Kimberly (@kihmberlie)– Self Portrait Photographer; Instagram  

  • Kimberly Douglas is a self-portrait photographer. She originally wanted to be a celebrity fashion stylist, then a model. There were times when Kimberly wanted to collaborate with other photographers, and it would fall through. She took the initiative to create her own sets, design them and take her own photos. Her goal is to show black girls in different aesthetic scenes that aren't typically seen. Check out Kimberly’s work on Instagram here.

Tomi Adeyemi – Nigerian-American Author (Chicago, IL)

  • Tomi's parents migrated from Nigeria to Chicago. She grew up not exposed to her culture and later embraced it in her adult life. Her first book, Children of Blood and Bone, is a young adult fantasy set in West Africa, centered on the protagonist fighting to return magic to her people. Tomi explained it was important for other young Black girls to see themselves in stories of magic and adventure. Learn more about Tomi’s books here.

Telecare is committed to advancing cultural humility, equity, and inclusion (CHEI) at all levels of our organization. We lead with our deepest values to advocate for change on a broader scale — and transform our own system of care to reduce inequities and healthcare disparities while increasing our accountability, transparency, and inclusiveness.

The information shared in these posts is intended to be a resource for staff to learn more about important topics relevant to our CHEI commitment. Each month, we will focus on a different topic and share resources for further learning. If you have a topic, resource, story, or feedback you would like to share, please contact the Communication Team at

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