Black content creators drive culture and can change the trajectory of a brand, for good or ill. Our cultural foundation in intellectual pursuits such as storytelling, art, music, food, and performance fuels our approach to content creation. The authenticity, innovation and vibrancy of our content goes viral and in its expansion influences the industry and other creators.
On Juneteenth, we celebrate black excellence in the past, present, and future, and our freedom to reclaim our stories. Walmart’s collaborations with Black Creators illustrate how brands should champion black content creators and ensure they are paid fairly. Walmart’s commitment to amplifying diverse voices is just one of the ways it supports content creators and storytellers like Trey Bryant.
Trey Bryant, image consultant, lifestyle expert, men’s stylist, brand ambassador and sought-after speaker, embodies the unique and dynamic way content creators influence and drive culture. His company, Lifestyle of Trey, has created a platform to encourage men to be confident in their appearance. Bryant successfully speaks to the mutually symbiotic relationship between outward appearance and inner confidence and sense of self.
Interviewed by cross-platform storyteller, Cori Murray, Bryant discusses content creation and his path to success. Not only does Bryant’s success story make this conversation wonderfully insightful, but Cori Murray’s own success as a digital and media visionary adds to the appeal and richness of their talk. As a former associate editor at ESSENCE, Murray led the brand’s digital and print platforms that serve 31 million black women. As a cultural critic, she has appeared on many national media platforms.
This conversation, between Murray and Bryant, comes at a time when we are focused on reclaiming our history and mastering our future. Juneteenth is the celebration at the cornerstone of this movement in time as we seek to share our proud stories – many of which are filled with humor and certainly with authenticity.
The road to content creation
“I’ve always had a vision,” Trey says, describing content creation as a vehicle for his passion for helping men feel confident, both personally and professionally. He strives to help black men through his mission to improve behavior, communication, and appearance in the workplace, as well as in dating, relationships, and everyday life.
It all started for Bryant in high school, where he started acting. From there he hosted shows in college, at Johnson C Smith at age 18. He then started modeling, where he learned to walk and style his clothes. “It propelled me to be a successful content creator because you create looks before you turn on the camera and you do the transitions,” Bryant says looking back on his early days.
When transitioning into content creation, it was so hard to find black people to create content, Bryant recalls, especially for men, who are visual, “we need something to identify with” . At school, Bryant says, guys would talk about dates or what to wear — you picked up stuff on the fly. Later, Bryant explored YouTube for spaces that offered content similar to what his friends were looking for in conversations. He found no black spaces, “I thought there must be someone we identify with, whether you’re in Africa, the United States or Paris.”
That was Bryant’s passion, to create something that black men could relate to.
Bryant remembers that his inspiration came from the movies. In particular, the movie Hitch, where Will Smith’s character sets men up, teaching them how to dress, how to talk, and setting men up for success in finding their wives and in the end feeling more confident.
As he began to build his brand, Bryant felt isolated. Growing up, he turned to his friends in Dallas, Texas, where there is a close black fashion community. “There’s a movement where guys get together called Flash Mobs Black Man. They get together and everyone is dressed in costume and network and meet. It was the start for me to build this community with other guys who were into fashion and lifestyle.
For Bryant, it served as a space to foster community with other suit and menswear enthusiasts. With the influence of this community, Bryant began to build his platform. Other fashion designers and influencers weren’t Bryant’s only supporters in his journey, his family also plays a big role in his content creation.
It can be hard to enjoy the moment. For content creators, the desire to get a million views makes them always think about how to promote content. “That sometimes leads to burnout.” Bryant describes the ways in which there can be over-consumption, working on your own content and then watching other content can lead to over-stimulation.
“You might want to take a break, but let’s say you want to take a break and not post for a week, but you still have brand partnerships,” which you have to show up for and at the end of the day, says Bryant, “you take your creative energy and put it on screen.” It takes a lot to create content, says Bryant, which is why a team is so important.
To thrive with all things content creation, Bryant relies on his team, namely his wife who is a creative consultant on all of his looks. He also named his sister as a big help – his first photographer and creative influence. Before publishing, he sends his photos to his mother, sister and wife for consultation. It’s a family business.
And as a frequent Walmart contributor, Bryant is part of a community of influencers who thrive on their journey of storytelling through creating content with a single vision, the support of their village and Walmart.