Reflections and lessons learned from queer influencers creating safe spaces online 

While it may seem like social media is frivolous and full of constant comparisons, content creators are using their digital platforms to foster community and carve out safe spaces. From beauty tips and introspective healing to showing how to live one’s best life and fully embody “kunt,” content creators like Tarek Ali, Shaqori Morris and Uniekue are sharing their gifts with the world. Doing more than influencing viewers to buy products, these creators offer possibility models to future generations, showcasing the results of refusing to let a dream be deferred. 

INTO asked each creator about their journey to content creation, the purpose behind their platforms and a lesson they’d offer to the community and queer youth. Here’s what they had to say. 

Photo credit: Courtesy of Uniekue


Model, Host, All Around It Girl 

“If kunt was a person – me!” 

One scroll through Uniekue’s feed and it’s an instant connection and feeling of a ki with your best girlfriend. After going viral from a video of her twerking to “The Nutcracker” during the pandemic, not only had she’d proven her long term hypothesis of being able to twerk to anything, but she had also begun her journey to build her digital presence and grow her audience. 

Today, Uniekue has continued showcasing her “it girl” energy through sharing her daily outfits and thoughts. And at the center of all her colorful content, a throughline of unabashed joy for fun and life become apparent. 

“I feel like the internet is not the place to be serious all the time,” Uniekue stated. “My platform online and in person is to kind of be joyful and bring other people into that space of being joyful. All of us know that being Black, [is] very difficult, being Black and queer – very, very difficult. being Black, queer, and femme – very, very, very difficult. The more intersections you have in terms of marginalization the much harder your experience is and I feel like I’ve always tried to create my mind as a safe space. So my platform was always going to be the same thing…to kind of just exist as a Black queer person.”

Creating content free of “wahala” or stress, redefining soft life outside of capitalism, and adding her innate Nigerian sense of luxury, Uniekue is pushing back against narratives of “characterization” and “erasure” and showing what being Black, queer, and femme means to her. To her community and queer youth she offers a reminder in being “that girl.”

“Always allow yourself to dream bigger than where it is that you are in this moment,” Uniekue said. “I always knew within myself that I was made for greatness. I knew that any way it was sliced I was gonna be that girl…[so] allow yourself to see yourself in the beauty and fullness that you are.”

Photo credit: Courtesy of Shaqori Morris

Shaqori Morris

Beauty Guru & Beautiful Soul

“I’m very thankful that I’m able to encourage other people”

With over 43,000 followers tuning in to her beauty tutorials and tips, it is no doubt that Shaqori Morris is a flower in full bloom. Using her artistry and platform to showcase the diversity of beauty and remind us of our own inner artists, Shaqori recalls the dream of content creation being planted in her during high school.

“I was obsessed with the YouTube world,” Morris shared. “I saw creators like Jackie Aina, Alyssa Ashley, just all these OG makeup beauty creators and I was like, I want to do that.”

But with an unwelcoming hometown and an unsupportive family, Shaqori had to halt her dreams. It wasn’t until her move from Alabama to Texas that she gained the confidence to pursue beauty content and embrace herself entirely.

“I was hesitant because of my background,” Morris explained. “But I eventually had the opportunity to move to Texas by myself. So that gave me more confidence to start doing things that I really wanted to do without fear of judgment.”

Years and thousands of followers later Shaqori is stepping into her spotlight, creating community online and making transness synonymous with beauty.

“The internet is endless,” Morris said. “There are so many people you are going to impact and you will never meet them. But, you know, I think that’s what’s so beautiful. That’s another reason why you have to be more visible and take up space.”

Morris continues to share her artistry with the world and, in turn, enriches our collective understanding of what can be beautiful and what content can be. Offering herself as her own form of reflective escape, Morris shares the reminder that it’s okay to retreat inwards to grow.

“Having a moment to just create – that’s actually when I grew the most…you have to really look inside,” Morris said. “The world is so big, so full of opinions, especially unnecessary opinions. You really have to spend time with yourself, getting to know yourself…look inward, and accept what’s inside of you because when you can accept the person you are inside, it’s easier to feel comfortable with the person that you see on the outside.”

Photo Credit: Darshae Spells

Tarek Ali 

Screenwriter, Content Creator, Healer  

“Every single time I’ve leaned into something that made me uncomfortable – I grew.”

Gaining his start in 2013, when the paths of content creators weren’t as shiny and clear as they are today, Tarek Ali’s journey began simply out of “having fun.” Sharing his life in high school and carrying his audience with him through college, post-grad life, adulthood, and his extensive healing journey, it’s the lessons he learned along the way that gave him his passion and platform today.

“It started changing my life. And I was really, really, really passionate about it,” Ali said. “I was like, ‘I just want to help more people from childhood trauma along the way…I just wanted to share what I was doing in my own space and then give people the tools in the world to be able to do it for themselves,’” Ali expressed. 

Ali’s platform has become a ray of mental health and hope for many, offering a real life resource guide on how to navigate some of life’s greatest joys and heaviest burdens. Breaking the veil of silence and challenging the long held notions within the Black queer community were key misconceptions to break down for the creative.

“It’s important because in our community, we need to see that one – we’re not alone, because if we don’t see any representation of it, especially in the community, nobody owns up to it,” Ali said. “I think me sharing it lets people know they’re not alone, because we’re all human. And then also, just representation of what it looks like to take care of yourself in this community.” 

Claiming vulnerability as his “super power,” Ali deems his honesty and openness as the catalyst to his growth on and offline over the years. Moving in and out of dreams, from content creation to screenwriting to authorship and more, Ali’s platform offers an ode to self-actualization and belief. As a lesson, he shares the notion that discomfort can sometimes be an agent of change and growth. 

“Lean into the discomfort,” Ali said. “Discomfort is scary and it’s not fun but usually, discomfort is pulling you towards a higher self…When you go towards it you can heal it, and you can get to know it and you can get to know yourself. So lean into the discomfort while also taking care of yourself because there is no growth without discomfort.”

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