A few months ago, we covered the new multicultural marketing agency, SHADE. The entire purpose of SHADE is to address the lack of diversity within the influencer marketplace. SHADE was the first to do anything like this, becoming a management and talent agency ready to elevate black and brown creators who lead as influencers, in the fashion, travel, wellness, lifestyle, and technology industries.

Now, after great success, the creators of SHADE are back with something new to address the issue of diversity in marketing. 

Stock photos.

If you're like me, you're probably thinking who is checking for stock photos all like that? However, if you stop and think about it, photographs are such an important part of our interaction with the internet as well as other people's reception of our brand. They can mean a lot for people in marketing, journalism, business, and everything in between. And perhaps the underlying truth is that those of us who aren't checking for stock photos aren't doing so because the majority of those photos aren't a good representation of us as a people.

The creators of nappy acknowledge that stock photos have traditionally been kind of a joke. When I think stock photos, the first thing that pops into my head is over dramatic people doing unrealistic things in an unrealistic way. They're the pictures I used in my middle school Powerpoint presentations. However, I'm reminded that stock photos have evolved, and we see them way more than we think. After all, they're professional, candid photos with the intent to represent today’s generation. The problem is that not enough of those photos represent us. This example is used: 

 "If you were to type in the word ‘coffee’ on Unsplash, you’d rarely see a cup of coffee being held by black or brown hands. It’s the same result if you type in terms like ‘computer’ or ‘travel.’ You may find an image or two but they’re pretty rare. But black and brown people drink coffee too, we use computers, and we certainly love traveling."

Lo, and, behold, that's one of the reasons why nappy was created. Jacques Bastien and his wife Dahcia Lyons-Bastien, the creators of SHADE, are back again showcasing their creative genius and dedication to uplifting black and brown artistry with their newest creative tool, nappy.


Photo: nappy/@mark.c

Photo: nappy/@mark.c

Photo: nappy/mark.c

I had the chance to ask creator Jacques a little bit more about nappy, its origins, and how to use it.

In light of the company SHADE, how did nappy come about? 

For the last few years, my wife and I have focused on using our skills, connections, and experiences to bring more opportunities to people of color and increase representation in media. This has led to us creating the Black Lives Matter Profile Filter as well as launching our agency, SHADE

SHADE has helped increase representation through national campaigns launched by brands like McDonald's, Crown Royal, and Square Cash. But, we wanted to take it a step further to address another facet of the marketing world: images.

As media professionals, imagery is an important part of our day-to-day— from presentations to mobile app designs, to websites and blog content, images are everywhere. We would use sites like Unsplash, Pexels, and other free, high-quality, stock photography resources to source imagery for our work. But, frequently we were unable to find simple photos of black people drinking coffee or black people playing soccer.

So we launched nappy, a resource for beautiful, high-res photos of black and brown people.

How would you describe nappy and what it means for diversity and marketing?

nappy is a website dedicated to providing free, beautiful, high-res photography of black and brown people to creatives, startups, brands, and agencies. nappy makes it easy for companies to be purposeful about representation in their designs, presentations, and advertisements.

Who can use nappy? Is there a certain aesthetic you're looking for, or whatever one's heart desires? What are the restrictions?

For submissions, anyone can upload photos via this link. We do have submission guidelines, namely, the photos must be hi-res and owned by the photographer submitting.

For media professionals, brands, bloggers, etc., we encourage anyone to download, distribute, and use the photos from nappy for personal and commercial use. There are no restrictions but we definitely recommend giving photo credit (i.e. Photo by @mark.c from nappy).

This great website is here to provide beautiful, high-res photos of black and brown people to startups, brands, agencies, and everyone else. Nappy makes it easy for companies to be purposeful about representation in their designs, presentations, and advertisements.

After the Bastiens took marketing to a whole new level once, here they are doing it again. It's amazing because we all know the importance of representation. What will this dynamic duo come up with next? We'll just have to wait and see, but for now, it's time for us all to get nappy.