How A $50K TikTok Grant Amplified This Artist's Mission For Black Representation In Art
Photo Credit: Vegalia Jean Pierre

How A $50K TikTok Grant Amplified This Artist's Mission For Black Representation In Art

Artist Vegalia Jean-Pierre’s journey as a TikToker opened up opportunities for her dream to build innovative products.

In 2020, the Minnesota native launched her TikTok account, where she amplifies representation for the community through drawing Black cartoon characters, as well as social activism following the passing of George Floyd.

Jean-Pierre’s social media presence — now at over 500,000 followers — landed the young artist a $50,000 TikTok grant to grow her innovative business, by.Vegalia.

As previously reported by AfroTech, TikTok and MACRO awarded 10 Black creators, including Jean-Pierre, with $500,000 in grants.

The young entrepreneur’s brand is her own set of digital brushes that draw Black hair textures including braids, curls, locs, twists and more.

@byvegalia

The curl brushes are for Procreate. Photoshop and CSP! What software would you like to see them on next? #brushbyvegalia

♬ WFM – Realestk

 

The Pitch That Opened Doors

After the videos of her using her digital brushes went viral, Jean-Pierre was invited to the TikTok for Black Creatives creator incubator program in February 2020.

It’s through the mentorship of the program that helped her to pitch an idea that resulted in receiving the grant.

According to Jean-Pierre, the app, which is currently in development, aims to create “a way for people to feel more represented online as well as create more opportunities for artists.”

Along with the grant boosting her business, it has also helped her in supporting fellow creators by hiring them as independent contractors for her brand’s team.

Melanin Magic Coloring Book

What started as sharing her drawings online turned into her launching Melanin Magic, a fantasy coloring book created with 14 fellow Black artists. The coloring book includes 35 original Black magical characters such as mermaids, magical girls and fairies.

“Over 100+ pages and 35 melanated magical beings of color with Black coded features,” Jean-Pierre wrote via Instagram. “I organized this project months ago with a vision to create more representation for the Black and brown communities in the magical/fantasy space.”

Where To Find Vegalia Jean-Pierre's Work

Jean-Pierre’s by.Vegalia brand currently offers over 50 brushes through Clip Studio Paint, Photoshop, and Procreate, which can be found here.