You know ‘em, you love ‘em, you try your best to emulate them. From fashion and music to language and social media, Black creators specifically are known to set the trends used in everyday pop culture. Becoming part of the cultural zeitgeist, the new wave of Black Gen Z tastemakers are stamping their legacy as influencers.

Black Tastemakers in Fashion

Bridging the gap between Japanese Harajuku style, Afrofuturism, urban streetwear, and Y2K, Black content creators are innovating the fashion space. Historically, the Black community has been shut out of these spaces despite being the innovators of Y2K and streetwear. While the rappers and singers of the early aughts broke down barriers for Black people in fashion, current influencers are continuing that legacy. Of these fashion creators, influencers like Wisdom Kaye and AliyahsInterlude stand among the platform’s heavy hitters.


Finding success through her humorous content and unique fashion sense, Aliyah has grown to become quite the social phenomenon. The Sierra Leonean-American influencer is best known for the #Aliyahcore movement, which highlights her eccentric style as well as self-confidence. It pulls elements from Y2K fashion and Harajuku while adding signature accessories such as fuzzy earmuffs and garters. 

With the proliferation of social media, trend cycles are only getting shorter. The success of Aliyah looks toward a future where influencers are regarded for personal style over what trends. Even as the culture moves forward, there is a push to label microniches as “cores.” Though these styles are certainly not new, Aliyah has managed to bring forward a brand that has built a community.

Aliyah was recently referenced by Cupcakke and AleXa, which further proved her global impact online. Shortly after, she collaborated with global popstar Lizzo across various socials. There, she produced an Aliyahcore outfit using Lizzo’s shapewear brand YITTY. This should come to no surprise, though, as the Aliyahcore hashtag currently stands at 135 million views. TikTok users across the globe have joined the movement to dress like the influencer.

What makes Aliyah’s entry into the fashion world so important is that she unapologetically loves who she is. Diverting stereotypes about Black women, she remains positive to a tee. From the screen to the runway, she even closed the London Fashion Week Mowalola Autumn-Winter 23 show. With over 2.5 million followers to date, it’s clear that the future is bright for her.

Wisdom Kaye

On the other hand, Wisdom Kaye has the world in his hands. As TikTok’s resident fashion guru, his fashion expertise and editing has garnered him over 9.3 million followers. His ability to prove detractors wrong has been one of the highlights of his tenure on social media. Oftentimes posting videos successfully completing fashion challenges, he shows no sign of slowing down. Referencing characters in popular media, his Marvel, DC, and anime content left creators making videos inspired by his work.

Working his way through the ranks, he has been invited to countless fashion week shows. At just 22 years old, he stands as one of the many fashion influencers paving the way for Gen-Z in fashion. Aside from his references to pop culture, Kaye has dived into fashion with a feminine edge. Playing around with skirts and heels, he is not afraid of adding edge to his outfits. With years of fashion appreciation under his belt, this effortless style has landed him on the runway of houses like Balmain.

Guiding the Pop Culture Convo

On platforms like Twitter that are more conversation- and discourse-based, Black content creators guide the flow of conversation within pop culture. Popular Twitter personality, It’sZaeOkay, started consistently posting on Twitter during the pandemic in 2020 out of sheer boredom.

Now boasting over 161,000 followers on Twitter, Zae (short for Xavier) credits his skill of relating to so many people to his adaptability. “I moved from a town that was all Black people to a town that was pretty mixed like 60% white,” Zae told EnVi through a Zoom interview. “I had to learn to relate to people at school on a level that I wasn’t used to.” He went on to say that he tapped into his love of Disney channel stars and celebrity gossip to make conversation with his non-Black school mates. 

Those topics of conversation still hold true to Zae today, who still tweets about the likes of “the girlies,” as he affectionately called them. He also gives his honest thoughts and opinions to an audience who either relates, co-signs, or finds entertainment in his stream of consciousness while living his everyday Black queer life.

“One time my car got stolen and my first thought was to tweet about it…and that’s what I did.” 

Zae’s own language and sayings have even been co-opted by the greater Twitter population, to the point where people tell him that he “talks like a tweet,” which he laughed off. “Words and phrases and the way that I say things have become so popular that now most tweets sound like the way that I speak. Not the other way around,” he said. Although he has an adoring following and earns money through his Twitter posts and additional social content, Zae considers Twitter as just a fun hobby. Instead, he is finding his purpose in the academic field and helping shape the next generation of journalists. Other tastemakers popular just for their words or hot takes on conversation include Zae’s best friend Keyon, whose Twitter accounts attract the likes of celebrities like Adele and journalist WrittenByHanna.

New Wave Gen Z

The Black Gen Z creators at the forefront of pop culture have set themselves apart from not only their own peers, but other generations. LaToya Brown, founder of Black Girl Digital, a Black influencer marketing agency, spoke to EnVi about what makes this new wave of content creators different. 

“Gen Z are so unapologetically themselves,” she said, meaning not only in social media, but in life. An early millennial, Brown went on to expand, “Gen X cared so much about what people thought of them and in contrast Millennials cared not as much, but Gen Z? They don’t care at all. They do what they want and say what they want.” 

Through Black Girl Digital, Brown works with influencers, bloggers, and brands to pull together digital campaigns. When asked how brands use Gen Z influencers to maximize their business, Brown said that the importance is understanding their audience and their message. The latest wave of online creators know how to best connect with their audience. Who better than the ones who create the trends and conversations that shape our lives on social media.


Through Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram, Black Gen Z creators prove that without their culture many trends would not exist today. They fight an uphill battle against algorithms and anti-blackness. However, now more than ever the Black community works to make sure the intellectual property of Black Gen Z stays protected. 

Want more Formation content? Read about the Black Actors Making Waves in 2023 here.

This article is part of our Gen Z issue. Get yourself a physical copy here!