There’s just something about Morgans.
Not sure if it’s the fact that we have the same name (and initials) or that our birthdays are 9 days apart but as soon as I met Morgan Pitts we clicked. I first met the #BlackGirlsWhoBlog founder at the brand’s first event, a panel discussion at The Wing discussing how we need to reclaim our time and narratives. I was expecting simple panel discussion but instead I got hit with a ton of black girl magic. From the informative panelists to the very supportive women in the crowd, I was inspired to say the least.
Still riding the women empowerment wave, I was excited to learn more about the woman behind the hashtag. Morgan and I met on a brisk Saturday afternoon at the New York Public Library where we discussed the importance of uplifting fellow black women, the ups and downs of building a brand and where she sees #BlackGirlsWhoBlog going next.
Saturday School: First question, how did #BlackGirlsWhoBlog come to be?
Morgan Pitts: The head of creative at Man Repeller, Amelia Diamond called it a “happy accident” but #BlackGirlsWhoBlog started because a few friends had asked me about blogging when I was a senior in college but I was so focused on graduating and getting a job that I decided to start one after graduation. So I started a blog called CosMORGpolitan, that highlighted my personal style. I had started to follow a lot of black women bloggers on twitter and I had haphazardly tweeted “I would love to have a shirt that says #BlackGirlsWhoBlog on it.” After, one of my friends Lindsay Adams who is an illustrator and artist, responded to my tweet and asked if an illustration should accompany the text. In that moment I knew this could be a real thing. We started texting offline and she drafted an illustration and then I had t-shirts made.
Another girl from college, Jannora Cooper encouraged me to start the Instagram. I started the account to initially promote the shirts but then I started posting other black women bloggers. It was kind of like a mood board celebrating these black women who were blogging that I thought were so dope but they weren’t on the lists of “top women to follow.” These women were equally as talented but they weren’t getting the same accolades.
SS: Is it just you who manages the Instagram?
MP: Yeah I do everything by myself and I’m so glad you asked me that because people usually assume that I have a team, but it’s just me. I would love to hire interns but I’m not about to hire someone I can’t pay unless they want to volunteer. I’m also kind of a control freak so I’m going to have to ease up on responsibilities [laughs].
SS: No I am exactly the same way! That’s why I asked because I was wondering how you did it! So talk me through your process. How do you find the girls you post?
MP: There are around 350,000 posts affiliated with the hashtag (#BlackGirlsWhoBlog) so I’ll scroll through the tagged photos of people I don’t already follow and I’ll read their about page to get a feel for what their blog is about. Then I’ll figure out how I will fit them into my “content calendar.” I have themed days for everyday: #ManiMonday, #ManeMonday or #MakeupMonday for beauty bloggers, #TastyTuesday for food bloggers, #WildcardWednesday is for any type of lifestyle blog, #TravelThursday is for my travelistas and then #FashionFriday.
Also people will email me with recommendations. It’s a very haphazard way of finding people but if I think you’re dope I’m going to push you.
SS: That’s very cool, I was looking on your page and it seems like you’ve helped to boost a lot of blogger’s careers and helped to give them notoriety.
MP: That’s interesting you say that because I was thinking about that the other day. I wonder how many girls who have blogs now, have a blog because of #BlackGirlsWhoBlog. I also wonder how many people wouldn’t have a blog if it wasn’t for #BlackGirlsWhoBlog.
SS: I feel like it’s a stepping stone in the “bloggersphere” because it’s such a big account now, to be featured on there is a big deal! I knew about it before I knew you [laughs]. Since the success of the account, what has been the coolest thing that has happened to you since launching?
MP: So many cool things have happened but I’m trying to think of just one. I would say hosting an event at The Wing was the highlight of my year. I visited The Wing literally a year ago and from that day to the day of the event was literally a year’s worth of planning. The fact that Audrey (one of the co-founders) was interested in doing a program together was like “wow.” #BlackGirlsWhoBlog has opened up windows of opportunity for me. If I was just Morgan Pitts I wouldn’t have been hosting an event at The Wing. I was featured on Man Repeller because of #BlackGirlsWhoBlog. I was in a magazine because of #BlackGirlsWhoBlog. It wasn’t because of my day job, it wasn’t because of the school I went to or the family I was born into, it was because of something I created. It’s crazy.
SS: Exactly, and you’re doing it because you like it! It’s a beautiful thing. Do you have any favorite blogs that you’ve featured so far?
MP: So for #ManiMonday (Beauty day): Danielle Gray, the Style and Beauty Doctor. She’s super dope and very consistent with her posts. She has a post up at least twice a week and she’s been blogging for 10 years, she’s amazing.
#TastyTuesday: I love this blog called First and Full by this lady named Marissa, she’s actually an NFL wife and she has two cute kids. She has the dopest food blog and I love her content.
#WildcardWednesday: I kind of always go with Mattie, I actually used to intern for her. She goes by @themattiejames. She’s grown so much since I’ve interned with her in 2013.
#TravelThursday: Two girls I went to highschool with have a blog called Peaches, Beaches & Urbanistas It started because one of them moved to L.A. so she was beaches, the other moved to Atlanta and she was Peaches and now the one who lives in L.A. is a digital nomad and she lives in Thailand.
#FashionFriday: My girl Chanel of The Chanel Files always has super cute outfits and a good high-low mix. All around she has great pictures and a great energy.
SS: I’m going to have to check out some of these bloggers. I’m always looking for new people to follow. We kind of touched on this but what do you do full-time and how has that helped or hindered your passion?
MP: Full-time I work at a luxury fashion house, the number one in the world right now. I work in the e-commerce department so I do backend operations and process orders that come through the website. A typical day for me is hopping back and forth between Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and internet browsers. I also do a little bit of the online marketing as well. I don’t think it necessarily helped #BlackGirlsWhoBlog but I do think #BlackGirlsWhoBlog helped me get my job because it was on my resume and it became a talking point during my interview.
SS: I feel like companies like to see that you do something outside of work. Where do you see the platform going next?
MP: This started unintentionally so I didn’t even expect it to turn into what it is now. Going into something with literally zero expectations happens so infrequently in life so I have no idea. #BlackGirlsWhoBlog has already given me so much and has made me so full and has offered me so many experiences and joy, so whatever God sees fit. I would love to give black girls more opportunities and help us build you know... “for us by us.”
But if I did have plans I wouldn’t tell [laughs]. So whatever is meant to be will be.
SS: I think that’s a great way to look at things. You talk about your friends a lot and it seems like you’re really close to them. How have they supported you throughout this journey?
MP: I have friends that bought #BlackGirlsWhoBlog t-shirts that don’t have blogs, they just wanted to support me. Also just following my account and liking my posts and sharing my content and speaking highly about the platform has been helpful. My mom went to Morgan State’s homecoming and she had on a #BlackGirlsWhoBlog sweatshirt and a girl who had been following the account from day one saw my mom and recognized her from social media and she went up to her and spoke to her off the strength of the brand.
SS: Since you’ve been in the game for three years now, what advice would you give to aspiring bloggers trying to build a brand?
MP: I would say to just start and to be consistent. We always talk about quality over quantity but you also want to be consistent. Whether it’s creating a content calendar or creating themes that keep you on a consistent posting schedule, stay consistent. A lot of people say “oh I would start a blog but I need more of following” and I’m like then you don’t want to start a blog then. Don’t do it for a following. You need to do it because it’s in your heart. If you’re doing it for other people then you’ll always be disappointed.
SS: Last question, if you could go back what advice would you give to high school you?
MP: I feel like this is not relevant to the conversation but I would say, don’t trip over stupid boys.
Make sure to follow #BlackGirlsWhoBlog on Instagram at @BlackGirlsWhoBlog.
Words and Photography by Morgan Peterson