The 50 Best Black Twitter Accounts Under 50K Followers

You don’t need a massive audience to be massively influential. Get familiar.

Twitter can sometimes feel like a massive hellscape with no joy in sight. We feel you. We do. Some days, like everyone else, we want to delete the app and find our inner peace. But the truth is, there’s too much good lurking in there — too much joy in an otherwise hopeless place. You just need to dig past the blockbusters to find the hidden gems.

Granted, “hidden” is a relative term here. Having 50,000 followers still means a good-sized town is listening to your random thoughts. But on a platform where everyone from reporters to activists can have 10 times that, it felt like a good place to start. We’ve got journalists and activists, too — but we also have comedians, actors, policy experts, rappers, and everyone in between. So hit that follow button… and don’t forget to thank us for helping patch up your relationship with that little blue bird.

Also, this is alphabetical, not ranked — so if you want to have that argument, you know where to take it. (Hint: Twitter.)

@AndreasHale

Location: Las Vegas

The formula: Wrestling Blackness + MMA Blackness

Hale knows the MMA and wrestling world like the back of his hand — as senior editor of Combat Sports, he’s up on everything happening — but he’s really out here advocating for Black wrestling stars and fighters. If someone is punching someone else, whether real or fake, he’s got you covered.

@andreperryedu

Location: D.C.

The formula: Public policy + smart-ass smartness

Andre’s a fellow at the Brookings Institute and is deep in the public policy game, with a speciality in redlining and other structural fuckery that’s plagued Black neighborhoods in the U.S. This is the account that you’ll quote to all of your friends to sound smart.

@Ash_Bash23

Location: North Carolina

The formula: Protest Work + Freedom

Ash Williams is a blueprint for what we need in our activism. In a time when too many Black folks are still waking up to the fact that Black trans lives matter, they’re pushing us to be better every day.

@Bansky

Location: NYC

The formula: Hoops rabble-rousing + podcast nerdery + (LeBron fandom x 1,000)

Eddie “Bansky” Gonzalez is a die hard LeBron fan who also works with Kevin Durant — so at any given moment on any given day, he’s liable to piss you off with some basketball-related tweet. But you can’t turn away. He’ll always give you something to talk about. (Bonus points for co-hosting the dope podcast Last Album on Earth.)

@BasseyWorld

Location: NY

The formula: Writing brilliance + mental health + Insecure takes

Sure, Insecure may be over, but Bassey Ikpi is watching and rewatching episodes in perpetuity, so she has all the analysis you’ll ever need. She’s also a New York Times bestselling author, I’m Telling The Truth But I’m Lying, a collection of essays, was one of the best books of 2019.

@BrookeOnAir

Location: L.A.

The formula: Political commentary + more (yes, more) Insecure thoughts

If you’re looking for: Someone who understands what the hell is happening in this country. Brooke Thomas has gone viral several times for her unfiltered thoughts on the primaries, police violence, and whatever is going to happen in November. (Not to mention an Insecure pod that you can’t miss.)

@CandiceBenbow

Location: New Jersey

The formula: A little Jesus + a lotta knowledge

Someone who will give you plenty of scripture — but also some critical, captivating discussion about the Word and the state of the church. She also can sprinkle in some tweets for the late night crowd too; there’s a reason her podcast (and forthcoming book of essays!) is called Red Lip Theology.

@CharlesPulliam

Location: NYC

The formula: Nerd culture x Black culture = all the damn culture

As a writer for io9, it’s Pulliam’s job to have a finger on the pulse of everything sci-fi, which he does masterfully — not to mention standing at the oft-ignored intersection of comic books and Black culture. We need more Charles Pulliams in the game, period.

@ClarissaBrooks

Location: Atlanta

The Formula: Activism x organizing + journalism

Clarissa is fearless, thoughtful, and armed with all the smoke — able to go from demonstrating on the ground in Atlanta to dropping gems in articles across the internet. Plus, as someone who won’t hesitate to burn shit down, she’s a solid source for protesting logistics for folks just getting involved for the first time.

@culturejedi

Location: Oakland, CA

The formula: Getting us free x Fighting Big Tech

As the co-founder and senior fellow of the organization Media Justice, Malkia Devich-Cyril is really out here with their feet to the pavement. If you thought technology could only fix things rather than exacerbate them, Devich-Cyril would like to have a word. Big tech and surveillance need to be dismantled, and they’re at the forefront of that fight.

@Danamo

Location: L.A.

The formula: Journalism icon + music history

Trust, Danyel Smith has more cultural knowledge than you can handle at one time. She and husband Elliott Wilson have a fantastic newsletter called HRDlist which gives you a daily helping of everything going on, but the woman who was so nice she ran Vibe twice, is a treasure trove of knowledge and history in her own right.

@DearSilas

Location: Mississippi

The formula: Up-and-coming rapper + social media savant

A mix of Dirty South brilliance and some of the most creative uses of social media and TikTok we have. He never just drops music; it always comes with some off-the-wall video, including Black Sailor Moon with a phatty.

@DereckaPurnell

Location: St. Louis

The formula: DEFUND! x Freedom fighting

If you’re looking for someone to guide you through the ideas of defunding the police in ways even the most staunch opposers will come around to, Purnell’s your person. The attorney and writer has been beating the drum for some time now, but the shape of works is making this her time to shine. I can’t stress this enough: Her words and her thoughts are urgent. Hear them.

@DJWallySparks

Location: Atlanta

The formula: Incredible mixes + live DJ sets x industry knowhow

Wally Sparks is one of the best DJs in the game and is known to keep the ATL rocking on a given night. Now he’s got his mixes and sets all over the internet. Plus, as someone who has DJed and A&Rd some big stars he always has valuable insight.

@DodaiStewart

Location: NYC

The formula: Newsroom know-how + culture takes

It’s not that Dodai Stewart is the deputy editor of the New York Times Metro section. Or that she’s been in the media game for more than 20 years. It’s that she’s all that — and still makes her Twitter feed a place of joy. Sometimes you just need a break, you know?

@dyllyp

Location: L.A.

The formula: Activism + Renaissance man

Dylan Park is a TV writer and all-around creative, but the Current Moment has really made him a must-follow. Since George Floyd’s murder, he’s been weaving threads that take over the internet — while also showing off his love of the Bay Area and everything West Coast.

@EMarvelous

Location: Philadelphia

The formula: Political commentary + Southern food takes

Errin Haines is one of the best political beat reporters in the country — formerly covering race for the Associated Press, she’s the editor at large of The 19th, a woman-led journalism nonprofit. Ahead of that site’s summer launch, her newsletter is already required reading, and there’s no one better to have on your radar heading into the thick of the presidential race.

@ErinASimon

Location: NYC

The formula: Gaming + broadcasting + esports commentary

A co-host of Cheddar Esports until the network folded in April, Erin is really out here covering the esports world — and streaming games herself on Twitch. If you care about competitive gaming, you need her on your radar.

@evnarc

Location: Austin, TX

The formula: Comic books + nerd culture mastery + vulnerability

Evan Narcisse isn’t just a veteran journalist turned comic book (Rise of the Black Panther), video game (Spider-Man: Miles Morales), and anime (Gen:LOCK) writer. He’s also rawly honest in a way that’s all too rare on social media. Not only does he share his wins, but he lets the world in on what he’s going through and feeling.

@Felonious_Munk

Location: Illinois

The formula: Comedy + daily affirmations

We watched Felonious hustle from a Twitter jokester to a regular on ABC’s For Life. We love seeing our faves glow up like this. You should, too.

@GeorgeFoster72

Location: Atlanta

The formula: Shenanigans + more shenanigans

George Foster is one of the funniest people on Twitter and it only takes a day of following him to understand why — especially if that day features a Verzuz battle.

@HBryant42

Location: Boston

The formula: Sports Thoughts x Game-Changing Race Analysis

One of the OG sports journalists, ESPN’s Howard Bryant has been unafraid to tackle race and sports since before it was safe — let alone cool — to do. He helped shape a generation of journalists, and with books like this year’s Full Dissidence: Notes From an Uneven Playing Field stays showing that he’s still untouchable in the lane he occupies.

@ItsMeTC15

Location: L.A.

The formula: All rap everything + debates for days

Trent Clark is editor of HipHopDX, so he can tell you every Source rating from every rap album ever made. He’s relentless in his takes and is an endless source of rap debates — meaning he’ll mix it up with anyone. If you come, come correct.

@JasmynBeKnowing

Location: L.A.

The formula: Netflix Blackness x A BEYONCÉ RETWEET

Yes, Jasmyn Lawson is the force behind Netflix’s Strong Black Lead social accounts — but in case you haven’t heard, she was once retweeted by Beyoncé. Yes. That Beyoncé.

@JayJurden

Location: NYC

The formula: Serious comedy + bi bravado

Following Jay feels a little bit like following Jaboukie Young-White before he blew all the way up — and not because they’re both hilarious queer Black comics. It’s because in both cases, you’ve got someone shaping their own unmistakable voice, and the privilege of that front-row seat is never lost on you.

@JoelAKAMag

Location: NYC

The formula: Positivity x accountability

Joel Leon is the closest thing Twitter has to a meditative read. He’s dope on Twitter for the same reasons he was selected to give a flagship TED Talk — he’s just nonstop ideas for self-care and betterment. Whether he’s telling you to name a plant after yourself or simply that you are enough, he’s a shot of confidence to start your day. (He also edged over 50K while I was writing this, but still deserves to be here!)

@JohnGotty

Location: Nashville, TN

The formula: Sneakers + music x internet savvy

One of the most influential behind-the-scenes tastemakers in the game. He’s an old-school NikeTalk guy and former EIC at hip-hop blog, The Smoking Section. (Full disclosure: that’s how I got my own start in writing — and my Twitter handle.) He always has his finger on the pulse of culture and reps Nashville to the fullest.

@JustinTinsley

Location: D.C.

The formula: Sports + Media + Culture + Great writing

A perennial home-run hitter for The Undefeated. He’s good for commentary in his tweets and links to some of the best pens in the game.

@Keah_Maria

Location: NYC

The formula: Black literary excellence + Anti-ableism fighter

Keah Brown became a social media legend in 2017 by starting the hashtag #DisabledAndCute to highlight beauty and confidence within the disability community. Her 2019 book, The Pretty One is a must-read — and she’s got more to come.

@KieseLaymon

Location: Mississippi

The formula: Mean prose game + Trump booty jokes

No lie, one of the greatest writers of our generation. His memoir Heavy is one of the best books of the 21st century and his writing greatness spills into his Twitter feed. He’s also dedicated many of his thoughts to the investigation of Donald Trump’s juicy booty, which we need more of.

@Kofie

Location: North Carolina

The formula: Gaming culture + elite internet videos

Kofie Yeboah has an insatiable desire to give us the newest and most creative videos on the internet — especially when it comes to gaming. He’s dug into the culture, making his feed indispensable for passing time in quarantine.

@MasterTes

Location: Irving, TX

The formula: Football insider + (swag x ∞)

The host of Bleacher Report’s “Untold Stories,” a video series highlighting conversations with retired NFL players and their wildest tales, Master Tesfatsion is giving us all a look at the future of sports journalism. He’s not just a host and a dope writer, though — he’s breaking stories on Twitter, too. Stay alert, Woj.

@MickeyFactz

Location: NYC

The formula: Bars + delivery

If you follow the rap veteran, you know that he’s seemingly always minutes away from dropping a video telling you he’s one of the best MCs out. He’s always been a wordsmith, but his encyclopedic recollection of hip-hop and battle rap lore makes him a must on Twitter.

@MsShanitaRenee

Location: NYC

The formula: Black girl magic + thoughtful gender critiques

Shanita Hubbard isn’t just a dope writer — she’s one of the pivotal voices featured in On The Record, the recent documentary about the sexual assault allegations against Russell Simmons. Plus, as part of the NABJ’s freelance task force, she’s an invaluable source of tips on getting work in the industry.

@No_Cut_Card

Location: DMV

The formula: The internet’s tea shop

If you’re looking for: The place with all the “tea” you’ll ever need. He seems to see the fly out drama as it’s happening and brings the hilarious commentary for every scenario. He’s also just a great, positive, inspirational post away from making your day. Definitely a must-have on your e-Rolodex.

@Oeste

Location: New Jersey

The formula: GOOOOOOALLLLLLLLL

Over at Bleacher Report, Aaron West has become one of the young leaders in young soccer journalism in the game. As a college player himself, he’s covered footie (did I say that right?) forever, and mixes the sports with the culture in a way that makes fútbol feel inviting even to novices like me.

@PrestonMitchum

Location: D.C.

The formula: Police know-how + lewks

Never underestimate someone who can process and explain law and complex policy in 280 characters. But it’s not just brain jewels: Mitchum also seems to have a fresh fit for any selfie on any given day. Smart and sartorial

@RedClayScholar

Location: Atlanta

The formula: Southern crunk x straight-up scholarship

Regina N. Bradley, PhD, is one of the foremost scholars on Black southern art in any genre — but especially hip-hop. The Kennesaw State professor co-hosts the southern hip-hop podcast, Bottom of the Map, and always brings the goods on anything related to the music we love south of the Mason/Dixon.

@_ShamGod

Location: NYC

The formula: Social issues + pure comedy

Shamira Ibrahim’s brilliant takes are only going to make you smarter. Not only will she challenge you on issues, but she’ll somehow make you feel smarter and dumber at the same damn time. It’s miraculous, honestly.

@SonofBaldwin

Location: NYC

The formula: Radical Black love + endless brain food

No, Robert Jones isn’t James Baldwin’s actual son, but he lives up to the name as an intellectual descendant. His massive Facebook page is its own community of thought leaders, but his Twitter page is nothing to overlook. He often embarks on Twitter threads meatier than the trash takes you’re reading in the usual online suspects.

@SorayaMcDonald

Location: NYC

The formula: Culture-criticism powerhouse x unapologetic realness

Real talk, if you’re a Pulitzer Prize finalist — as she was for her theater columns in The Undefeated last year — then you should get a guaranteed spot on the list. On Twitter, expect stellar thoughts on everything from Broadway to Tyler Perry.

@SoulFreeDreams

Location: Columbus, OH

The formula: Activism x more activism + the work

Elle Hearns is one of the most effective and impactful organizers we got. She’s an omnipresent voice in reminding us that we are not free until everyone is free — and that Black trans lives matter as much as anyone else’s.

@SylviaObell

Location: NYC

The Formula: Hella opinions x fire takes

With a finger on her pulse on the daily headlines and a pitch-perfect perspective, Sylvia’s a necessary addition to the TL. She was the host of BuzzFeed’s podcast, Hella Opinions and now co-hosts Okay, Now Listen for Netflix’s Strong Black Lead.

@telushk

Location: Detroit

The formula: A Black Jewish perspective + real abolition talk

Someone who’s been putting the current chaos of the world in perspective in ways we desperately need. He is an organizer and his tweets make you feel like you can run through a brick wall.

@theashleyray

Location: L.A.

The formula: Hilarity x PowerPoint mastery

Like so many great comedians, Ashley Ray is locked in on the events of the day — she just has a singular gift for distilling them into various forms. She’s not only got jokes; she writes crazy entertaining TV recaps and manages to make viral PowerPoints, too. Seriously, she is a magician with the click-y thingy.

@TheDynamics

Location: Toronto

The formula: Good vibes + a finger on the music pulse + overall flyness

A heavy hitter who’s managed to stay anonymous for years, The Dynamics is that dude who lets you know what’s hot before you even know you’re looking for the heat. He always seems to know what’s going on and you will too if you have him on the timeline.

@VerySmartBros

Location: Pittsburgh

The formula: Daily writing fire x singular wit

Damon Young, author of 2019’s What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker, is (along with Panama Jackson) one half of the blog, Very Smart Brothas. He’s also a GQ columnist and one of the smartest, most ruthlessly truthful thinkers around — and stays firing off heat like Pedro Martinez in his prime.

@WannasWorld

Location: Toronto

The formula: Black girl magic + new ways to think about everything

Wanna Thompson is a table-shaker for real. She’s been at the center of some major Twitter moments, not the least of which is when she helped coin the phrase “Blackfishing” to call out white IG models for tanning and trying to look like Black women. And for the Caribbean massive, she’s got all your carnival needs and fit suggestions in one place.

@xoxogossipgita

Location: NYC

The formula: Gaming + unapologetic nerd culture

Gita Jackson — formerly at apex gaming site Kotaku, and currently at Vice’s tech vertical Motherboard — is proof that Black women don’t just game, but move the culture around gaming.

@Yoh31

Location: Atlanta

The formula: Music journalism supernova

Travis “Yoh” Phillips is possibly the most prolific, and indisputably the hungriest, music writer in the game. Come for his one-listen album reviews at DJ Booth, stay for the perfect take on music, at the right time.

Level Sr. Writer covering Race, Culture, Politics, TV, Music. Previously: The Undefeated, The Atlantic, Washington Post. Forthcoming book: The Movement Made Us

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