Top African and Fillippino influencers in the NYC Area
A list of the top 10 Filipino and African influencers located in the NYC area was compiled. This list includes professions like restaurateurs, bloggers, creative entrepreneurs, musicians, hairdressers, and authors. These influencers are successful and, in some cases, have experienced international acclaim. The "top" influencers were chosen based on either their high social media followings, press mentions, or features in "top" lists. The requested details such as follower count and background are provided below for each influencer. A methodology is also provided to offer more insight into the selection process of each influencer.
The majority of the precompiled lists dedicated to top New York influencers or influencers as a whole are not further segmented into ethnic origin or descent. Often, when lists are further segmented they tend to focus on influencers who still live in their country of origin. Some lists also focus on Americans of ethnic descent. In many cases, these lists also feature individuals whose parents were immigrants but they were raised in the United States. Despite this, the majority of the influencers presented on this list are immigrants themselves.
Due to the lack of precompiled lists based on follower count, it is not possible to determine which African and Filipino influencers are the most influential or which ones have the highest overall follower counts. Still, the influencers featured on this list prove their social capital by having followings higher than 10,000. However, not every influencer has an account on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Some have a presence via their businesses and others have accounts on all platforms but only focus their efforts on one.
1. SAMUEL BAZAWULE AKA BLITZ THE AMBASSADOR
Samuel is based in Brooklyn and is a visual artist, composer, and producer. He is also a hip-hop act under the label Embassy MVMT known as Blitz the Ambassador. His musical style is thoughtful and political. Bazawule was born and raised in Accra, Ghana. Later, he attended Kent State University where he released mixtapes. He then moved to New York to further pursue his music career. He was also named a TED Fellow and appeared on Shoppe Black's list of 20 Young African Influencers in the Diaspora.
Twitter — 24,569
SoundCloud — 6,128
Instagram — N/A
2. FOLASADE ADEOSO
Folasade is based in Brooklyn and was born in Nigeria. She is a model, blogger, digital artist, graphic designer, and web designer. Adeoso uses GIF animation, overlays, and intricate line work to rework various images that catch her eye. Her design shop, F.A Design Studio, was launched in 2017 and her services are marketed toward women-owned businesses. Adeoso plans to eventually "teach a free coding course to young girls in her birth country of Nigeria." She was also featured on Shoppe Black's list of 20 Young African Influencers in the Diaspora.
Facebook — N/A
Twitter — 1,660
Instagram — 86,115
3. HEBEN NIGATU
Heben was born in Ethiopia and moved to the U.S. at the age of five. She studied at Columbia and now resides in Brooklyn. Nigatu co-hosts a podcast called Another Round and, in 2015, it was named one of the best by iTunes. Her podcast has had guests like Hillary Clinton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Hannibal Buress. They've had "hundreds of thousands" tune into their show. In 2016, Nigatu was named one of Brooklyn's 50 Funniest People by Brooklyn Magazine. That same year, she made Forbes' 30 under 30 list. She has worked as a Senior Editor at Buzzfeed and on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Website — Heben does not have a designated website.
Facebook — N/A
Twitter — 85,232
Podcast Twitter — 51,580
Instagram — 25,484
4. STEVEN ONOJA
Steven is a fashion blogger, creative consultant, photographer, and director. Photos from his travel and work are shared on his social media and his website. He was born and grew up in Nigeria before relocating to New York City. Onoja was featured on Nylon's 2016 list of 20 Black Bloggers to Follow on Instagram and Okay Africa's 2017 list of the Top 10 African Menswear Bloggers. He has worked with brands like Nike and Levis.
Facebook — 716 followers
Twitter — N/A
Instagram — 92,754
5. JOSHUA KISSI
Joshua Kissi is a photographer, creative director and co-founder of a stock photography website. His recently launched business, TONL, aims to offer diverse stock photography with more representation for minorities. Kissi sees his stock photography business as another way to start an honest conversation about "culture, ethnicity, race, and a way to see ourselves." The company has also worked with Google to create images of people of color using technology in a style that is unique but still in line with Google's brand. Facebook has also contacted him. Joshua also runs Street Etiquette, a creative agency that has worked with Adidas. Kissi is a Ghanaian-American that is based out of New York City.
Instagram — 34,288
Instagram for Street Etiquette — 215,158
Twitter for Street Etiquette — 978
Instagram for TONL — 4,199
Twitter for TONL — 3,503
6. IGEE OKAFOR
Igee Okafor is a style and lifestyle blogger based in New York City. He is Nigerian and moved to the city in 2013 to pursue Business and Marketing at St. John's University. Previous to this, he studied in Virginia, Paris, and Spain. Through his blog, he has collaborated with brands like Netflix, GQ, Timex, Gap, Express, Stella Artois, and more. He has also been featured by reputable outlets like The New York Times, Forbes, GQ Spain, Huffington Post Canada, Fader Magazine, Topman, Fashionista, Hypebeast, and Pause Magazine. Okafor was also featured in Okay Africa's 2017 list of the Top 10 African Menswear Bloggers.
Facebook — N/A
Twitter — 949
Instagram — 34, 856
1. ALITHEA CASTILLO
Castillo is a Filipina style, travel, and lifestyle blogger based in New York City. She is also a social media strategist and has been blogging since 2011. Alithea has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and works as a freelance writer, stylist, PR strategist, and social media strategist alongside her blog. Castillo is an advocate for animal rights and LGBTQ rights. She was also featured on a 2017 list of 6 Filipina Bloggers You Need to Follow.
Instagram — 26,894
2. BRYAN BOY
Bryan Grey Yambao, also known as Bryan Boy, is a veteran style blogger and influencer from the Philippines. He is based in New York City and Stockholm, Sweden. Yambao is a fashion week staple who has achieved success through his work with high-end brands like Gucci, Ralph Lauren, and Valentino. He has worked with both menswear and womenswear brands and was also a judge on America's Next Top Model. Bryan was featured on Fashionista's 2016 list of the 20 Most Influential Personal Style Bloggers. He has spoken out in defense of style influencers after Vogue criticized the profession. Marc Jacobs also named a bag after him back in 2008.
Twitter — 577,074
Instagram — 669,204
3. NICOLE PONSECA
Nicole Ponseca is a Filipina-American restaurateur born to immigrants with two restaurants in New York City. These restaurants include Jeepney and Maharlika. Before she opened her restaurants, she worked as an advertising executive. Alongside her day job, she began pursuing the restaurant industry at night. Back in 2014, Jeepney won Time Out New York's Battle of the Burger. She is also an author and has voiced her opinions on the labeling of Filipino cuisine as a "trend." Nicole believes that by labeling it a trend it implies that it is a fad that will die out. This ignores the fact that Filipino cuisine has fed "more than 100 million people around the world today and has been eaten for centuries, even in the United States."
Instagram — 5,205
Twitter for Jeepney — 2,479
Instagram for Jeepney — 16,513
Twitter for Maharlika — 3,294
Instagram for Maharlika — 13,341
4. MARK BUSTOS
Bustos is a Filipino-American celebrity hairdresser who gained notoriety for regularly offering free haircuts to the homeless. He is the co-owner of two salons. One salon is located in New York and the other is in Summit, NJ. He also works at NYC salon, Ammon Carver. On Sundays, Mark will venture around New York City and offer haircuts to the homeless. He also provides them with clothing, toiletries, and food. Even when a homeless individual chooses not to get a haircut, Mark still gives them a care package with the essentials. Some goods are donated from companies but the majority are sent anonymously to his New York salon. Mark also offers his services when he travels. Some of his celebrity clients include Philip Lim and Marc Jacobs. He has also been featured in People Magazine, the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and more.
Facebook — 20,850
Twitter — 3,349
Instagram — 276, 224
In conclusion, the requested information was provided for top influencers in the African and Filipino communities. Each influencer works out of New York City and has a following higher than 10,000. Influencers were chosen based on their social media followings, press, or appearance in "top" lists. The influencers on this list are bloggers, creative entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, hairdressers, musicians, and authors.