STORY BY KACIE FREDRICK. PHOTOS courtesy of Destin Ameer.
In 2019, blogger, Kayla McDowell, noticed a need in Dallas to build a community that represented and looked like her. That year, McDowell founded Dallas Black Bloggers (DBB), made for elite influencers to boost Black bloggers’ confidence and increase their visibility in and around Dallas. DBB has now grown into a media powerhouse in Dallas, recognized by many notable Dallasites and even WFAA.
McDowell is originally from Anchorage, Alaska. She made Dallas her home after graduating from Texas Woman’s University (TWU) in accounting. McDowell said eventually she gravitated towards Dallas’ social areas naturally, and began socializing with influencers and bloggers. Gaining inspiration, McDowell pursued her own influencing base via podcasting on entrepreneurship. Then, after receiving praise on her makeup skills from friends and family, McDowell started her own YouTube channel and blog on makeup techniques.
“I started getting invited to socialize with other influencers,” shares McDowell. “But when I would go to these events, I noticed they were not as warm or as welcoming as I would have preferred. I also noticed there was a lack of Black influencers present at these events.”
After doing research on her community, McDowell found Dallas needed a platform to highlight and recognize Black influencers. This is where DBB came in. Dallas Black Bloggers started out as McDowell’s fellow blogger friends coming together to have brunches and photoshoots to support one another. But as word quickly spread, DBB took off. Now, DBB offers a membership fee for its A-list influencers, granting them access to private events and soirées. Usually, DBB hosts one event per month—such as happy hours and blogger brunches—allowing members to show love and support towards one another. As numbers have reached an all time high, there have only been five events for DBB so far this year—one of the largest challenges DBB currently faces.
Luckily, as much of DBB influencers’ work is virtual, Covid did not hinder its growth. Rather, it gave DBB the opportunity to focus on its own website, enabling the bloggers to support one another on a deeper level. Last year, DBB was able to host its first annual conference on “What it is to be a Blogger” at the NYLO Hotel in Dallas. This year’s conference’s theme was “Defining your Influence” and was hosted at the Renaissance Hotel. It was sponsored by Urban Hydration and America’s Most Beautiful Mrs. Texas 2022, Psyche Terry, was the keynote speaker. The conference also heard from fellow DBB bloggers, granting them the recognition they deserve.
“Most DBB influencers already had a following before joining DBB,” shares McDowell. “Being a part of DBB helps boost their confidence and encourages them on their platforms. But these influencers have worked hard for everything they have accomplished. I’m just grateful DBB gives them the platform to boost their content even more.”
In 5 years, McDowell pictures DBB becoming a media powerhouse similar to Dallasites101 and D Magazine. She plans to highlight more mom and pop shops that are Black owned businesses on her blog to boost the Black community even farther. McDowell is also hoping to expand to not only the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, but also into Austin and Houston. Eventually, DBB hopes to go national.
For those interested in influencing, McDowell gives her advice: “Definitely find your niche, find your community, and stay consistent! Consistency can do so many things, so do your research on trends and find something memorable for your followers to recognize you by.”
For more information on Dallas Black Bloggers, please visit their website: https://www.dallasblackbloggers.com.