To celebrate Black History Month, we are shining the spotlight on a Black-owned, Tampa native company with an impressive mission. Named one of the top 22 startups to watch in 2022 by Tampa Bay Business Journal, Black Stock Footage (BSF) is a growing stock footage platform focused on Black representation with an expansive library predominantly curated by Black videographers.
We had the honor of speaking with the founders, Imani Lee and Zebrina Edgerton-Maloy, and getting an inside look at how Black Stock Footage came to be.
“I’m a professional videographer and photographer turned entrepreneur with six years of experience in various types of video production including weddings, commercials, non-profits, governments, sports, music videos, fitness, and so much more. I graduated from the University of South Florida in 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Mass Communications (Broadcast Production) and a minor in entrepreneurship. During my time at USF, I interned at Walt Disney World in Orlando and for a leading Tampa-based video production agency Diamond View. Post college, I worked as a videographer and digital media producer for the Hillsborough County government for four years. During my time at Hillsborough County, I worked with numerous local public figures, politicians, commissioners, county officials, and everyday citizens creating video projects that showcased and highlighted Hillsborough County from a government perspective. During my time at the County, I continued my education by obtaining my MBA from National Louis University, as I was always fascinated with the business side of things. Early 2020, I transitioned from working for the County to running my own micro-creative agency working heavily in the tech startup community. My creative talents landed me opportunities to work with some amazing organizations such as the NAACP, Embarc Collective, Synapse, Startup of the Year (Established), City of Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida Department of Health, S&P 500 company UDR Inc., Best Buddies International, The City of Clearwater, and many others. My most noteworthy accomplishment to date has been building a 10 year relationship with my fiancé, Zebrina Edgerton-Maloy. We are high school sweethearts, now building an impact-driven business together: Black Stock Footage.”
“I’m a communications strategist who uses integrated marketing communications to build brand value for mission-driven companies through authentic storytelling. I graduated from Washington and Lee University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, where I started my career as a multimedia journalist. During my journalism days, I worked at news media outlets like Creative Loafing, 83 Degrees Media, and most recently at the City of Miami’s Tourism Bureau. I also interned at broadcast television networks like the CBS News Washington D.C. Bureau and NBC’s WFLA News. As a journalist, I always gravitated towards stories that highlighted how people are having a positive impact in their communities and how founders are starting companies that are driven by purpose over profits. After transitioning to the communications and marketing world, I’ve been able to use my multimedia storytelling skills to help the companies I work with strategically connect their brand messaging on different platforms to build a more consistent brand. As a communications strategist, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County, Tampa Bay Wave, Best Buddies International, and more. From being a multimedia journalist to transitioning to communications, my personal mission and inner motivations continue to be strongly connected towards working with companies that are focused on changing the world for the better. So when Imani approached me about his brilliant idea for Black Stock Footage, I immediately knew that I wanted to help bring this impactful vision to life!”
“As social injustices of the Black community were being surfaced, recognized, and discussed in 2020, I immediately began to self-reflect. I reflected on what I could do to help the Black community. As a storyteller and problem solver, I thought about what problems I could help solve as an individual. It truly wasn’t until my clients started requesting that Black representation be included in their videos that I realized the opportunity for Black Stock Footage to exist. As I searched current stock footage companies, I immediately noticed the lack of Black representation on those existing platforms. While editing my videos, that’s when the idea was downloaded into my brain, Black Stock Footage… I knew that this business idea could truly help bridge the gap between Black representation and creative storytelling. My heart started pounding and I immediately started researching to see if something like my idea existed – a stock video platform focused on Black representation. Behold, nothing truly like it existed, based on my research, and thus Black Stock Footage was born. I knew this business idea could help amplify Black representation on the camera and behind it. This is where my journey started to building Black Stock Footage.”
“I still vividly remember the exact moment that Imani walked into our home office and told me about how he noticed a lack of Black representation on existing stock footage platforms. It literally was a light bulb moment where his eyes lit up and he was filled with excitement. The moment he shared his idea for creating a mission-driven stock video platform specializing in Black representation, I knew it was a genius idea and I immediately said yes to joining him in building the company because it was aligned with my personal mission to help share authentic stories that truly represent Black communities. Together, we established the company in April 2021. As Co-Founder and Chief Communications Officer, I’m working hand-in-hand with Imani to build the company’s foundation, brand value, and social impact. I handle all levels of communications so we can strategically communicate our value to our videographers, customers, key stakeholders, and the general community. Since our company’s formation, we received a $25,000 grant from the NAACP and Daymond John in honor of Black Entrepreneurs Day, and we won the $25,000 first-place prize from a pitch competition hosted by Microsoft for Startups and Endeavor Miami. We were also recently named by the Tampa Bay Business Journal as one of the top 22 startups to watch in 2022, which is a big testament to how 2022 is going to be a big year for Black Stock Footage with our beta platform going live and continuing to explore opportunities to work with companies that want to be more intentional about including Black representation in their projects.”
“We are focused on Black representation and this is what immediately sets us apart from other stock companies. We aren’t reinventing the wheel, but what we are doing is tailoring our distribution platform to Black perspectives, images, and experiences. Traditionally and historically, Black perspectives were not and are not the majority, even though we have so much influence and impact on the world. By tailoring our entire business around increasing Black representation, we have created a product that continually makes Black representation more visible and accessible to everyone on a global level. We’re creating a product for people who do and don’t identify as a person from the Black community. Both Black businesses and the Black consumer base are growing rapidly, so we’re also creating this product for those who want to create videos that cater to a primarily Black audience.
This focus dramatically expands the opportunity to showcase more Black talent in front of and behind the camera in a more authentic way than other platforms. We also have a unique tool called our Hue Selector tool that lets customers dial in to specific skin tones when searching for Black representation. This allows customers access to a more diverse pool of videos focused on Black representation by making sure a variety of Black skin tones are visible and accessible.”
“Black Stock Footage is amplifying the voices and stories of Black people who might not have been well-represented in digital media historically and across different industries. The beauty of Black Stock Footage is that we’re diving deep into sharing the stories of Black people across the world. Stories offer fresh perspectives, unearth dynamic experiences, and allow us to become more connected to others while helping us understand ourselves even better. Our visual imagery is showcasing the richness of Black cultures and expands our understanding of what it visually means to be Black. Within different Black communities, there are various cultures, personalities, physical attributes, and experiences. Melanin continues to connect us all in the Black community, so I’m proud of how Black Stock Footage will help showcase the wide range of experiences and stories of Black people worldwide!”
“As a Black male in America, I don’t see enough people who look like me in the digital media industry. Not to say that there aren’t black people in the digital media industry, but they might not be as visible or recognized. Black Stock Footage is breaking down those barriers of visibility by creating centralized resources focused on Black representation. There are hundreds of Black videographers and photographers that aren’t recognized. We hope to highlight these creators through our platform. Centralization will help unite and amplify Black voices, images, talent, and experiences. Centralization provides access and visibility unlike anything before and will hopefully inspire the current and next generation of creatives through their work and community building. I hope that people who don’t identify as a Black person, can learn and discover more authentic experiences, cultures, and lifestyles within different Black communities. We as a community has so much to offer, and Black Stock Footage will play a great role in creating more opportunities for Black creatives to shine in front of and behind the camera lens.”
“I would love for the Black Stock Footage platform to help Black people feel like they are seen, heard, understood, and valued for their strength, uniqueness, and beauty. Stock footage doesn’t have to be limited to showcasing models or people acting in certain roles. Our platform is helping make stock footage look and feel more authentic, especially in regards to the multitude of Black experiences worldwide. There are certain perspectives that aren’t being fully explored in the digital media industry and I’m excited for Black Stock Footage to explore these stories!”
“The vision we have for Black Stock Footage is to be the largest supplier of stock video content focused on Black representation. We want to be an enormous resource used by creators and organizations of all sizes and across all industries. We’re motivated to build a roster of hundreds of Black videographers that are sharing their creative works with the world, and in turn, the world is showcasing Black culture and experiences in a more authentic, intentional, and inclusive manner. We also want to expand our services to include stock photos. We will also partner with organizations to amplify our reach and create opportunities to compensate, highlight, and showcase our videographer community to the world!”
In honor of Black History Month, Black Stock Footage officially launched their beta platform this February. To join the BSF Videographer Program and access unlimited downloads of stock video clips focused on Black representation, visit www.BlackStockFootage.io.