In less than a decade, social media has permeated almost every aspect of our lives. Memes are exchanged more than phone numbers, algorithms are changing the dating game, and massive online communities of followers have become commonplace.
While the onset of social media has become a pillar of the millennial generation, it’s easy to lose track of the true purpose of these platforms: to connect to and share experiences with one another.
By now, most people are blindly following and consuming content through muscle memory — and our feeds have suffered because of it. To help you get out of your inspo rut, we’ve rounded up a list of influential black Austinites to follow on Instagram right now. Whether you’re looking for community insights, fashion tips, travel destinations, or even where to buy drinks this weekend, these 10 locals make turning on your post notifications well worth it.
The Entrepreneur — Joah Spearman
It’s possible that Joah Spearman may be the most well-traveled person in the city. The influential entrepreneur transformed the travel industry with the 2013 launch of Localeur. Created to offer a more authentic way to travel, the app and website serves up locally curated recommendations for cities across the globe. Expect witty tech and business insights, gorgeous shots of the city skyline, and group snaps with other innovators among the highlights of Spearman’s feed. When he’s not helping to shape Austin’s tech culture, Spearman finds additional ways to support the community through his role as board director and member for local nonprofits including Zach Theatre, KLRU, and AIDS Services Austin.
The Style Whisperer — Michelle Washington
If you’ve ever admired a sharp sport coat or a flattering dress on your favorite Austin news anchor, chances are you have Michelle Washington to thank. The fashionista has major credentials, including her work with Studio 512, FOX7, and KEYE as a TV style expert and her role as a trusted GQ Insider. In addition to providing her stylist services to public figures, models, and chic local ladies and gents, Washington shares important style tips throughout her feed. Follow along for exclusive fashion event information, the occasional inspirational quote, and all the most posh 'grams of Washington sporting both the current trends and timeless staples.
The Tastemaker — Jared Culp
When it comes to curating aesthetics, few do it better than Jared Culp. The designer/photographer's Instagram is full of vibrant shots cataloging dreamy beach getaways, other beautiful people, and arresting images that call for not only a scroll back through your timeline, but also an instant double-tap. When he’s not triggering all the FOMO imaginable from his worldwide getaways, Culp shares moments from his urban-inspired event series, A Tribe Called Brunch. As a co-creator of the pop-ups, Culp helps design an afternoon of free-flowing booze, delectable brunch bites, meaningful connections, and generative discussions that speak to both millennial and creative culture. Follow Culp for your frequent dose of wanderlust and to keep updated on when the next volume of ATCB tickets go on sale.
The Motivator — Tim Salau
Though not an Austin native, Tim Salau has plugged into his new city with ease. Using his massive online community spanning platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, Salau offers up motivational tips for professionals to succeed in their industry of choice. Visit Salau’s page when you’re in need of quick, dynamic pep talks before a job interview, during a challenging team project, or for tips on how to effectively project manage. Also if you’re in the need for straight-up positivity, Salau’s frequent smiling selfies are a perfect portrayal of #BlackBoyJoy.
The Visionary — Taylor Jarrett
You can find stylist Taylor Jarrett’s work gracing the pages of the city’s most elite publications. After relocating to Austin nearly half a decade ago, the visionary has established himself as a formidable fashion figure. Outside of helping to co-operate his production and management company, SHDW Studios, Jarett is a regular contributor for Camille Styles and works both in front of and behind the camera. Those who follow Jarrett can expect a healthy dose of aesthetic inspiration, fashion tips, and a glimpse into his glamorous, perfectly photographed life.
The Mood Setter — DJ Hella Yella
If you’ve been to any of the most popular bars on West Sixth Street, chances are you’ve heard DJ Hella Yella on the turntables. A graduate of Huston-Tillotson University, Yella (whose real name is Leon O’Neal) began his DJ career in humble college student unions, but has since taken the Austin music scene by storm. The musical mastermind has held the title of “Club DJ of the Year” and has set the vibe at major entertainment events including SXSW, NBA All-Star Weekend, the X-Games, and more. When he’s not on Insta promoting local happenings or sharing behind-the-scenes moments, you can tune into local station 102.3 The Beat to hear some of the hottest songs on the hip-hop charts today mixed to Hella perfection.
The Community Leader — Brian Fontenot
Originally from the Houston area, Brian Fontenot has been a figure in Austin's philanthropic and tech scenes for nearly a decade. A quick scroll through his profile shows him mentoring minority high school students through his eponymous foundation, which helps bridge the gap between primary and secondary education for students of color. Fontenot also frequently travels throughout Texas and beyond to share his insight as a technology entrepreneur. Follow along with Fontenot’s globe-trotting by tuning into his podcast, Driftr Travels, where he shares the mic with two other well-traveled influencers and offers up insider tips and experiences from a black perspective.
The Athlete — Sanya Richards-Ross
After successfully taking the world stage at the Olympics, Sanya Richards-Ross has captured the hearts of locals with glimpses into her family life. The former Longhorn athlete has since planted roots in the 512, and shares her workouts, photos of her little ones, and the occasional style tip with effortless poise. Though her days of competition have passed, the champion has taken on several entrepreneurial efforts including her new venture, CoordiNation, an all-inclusive styling company for families. In addition to fostering an online community of fans, Richards-Ross often shares moments from her activism in the Central Texas area and participates in local health, wellness, and youth-centered events.
The Fashion Artist — Lamar Sanchez
Belize-American and Austin native Lamar Sanchez is no stranger to the local style scene. Often adorned in layers of colorful patterns and prints, the influencer has fostered a community of more than 13K followers spanning the globe. Austin may be home base, but Sanchez always makes an appearance at the top fashion and music events in the country. Catch him mingling with top celebrities and taking New York Fashion Week by storm on his Instagram Stories and feed now.
The Socialite — Terry Pierre
After more than a decade of curating the best urban events in the city, The Austin Socialite has become a trusted online destination for staying up to date on where Black Austin hangs, connects, and parties. Though the Instagram account is managed by a team of plugged-in socialites, boss lady and Austin native Terry Pierre built the company through her own personal connections to tastemakers in the city limits. Follow TAS to get exclusive event information, the latest news, and the occasional hilarious meme.