Black Vancouver Artists to Follow on Instagram

Instagram was flooded with black squares yesterday, which many non-Black individuals posted with the goal of expressing solidarity with the Black folks around the world. The actual effect of the square posts is debatable—posting them with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag made actual protest information and resources harder to find. One thing’s for sure: if your Instagram wasn’t showing anything but black squares yesterday, you don’t follow many Black people. While you’re reading, watching, and donating, here are a few local accounts to build up your feed. Don’t just follow—repost, tag friends, commission the artists, download the songs, buy the work. And please let us know about anyone we missed; you can tag or message us on Instagram at @vanmag_com or drop us a line at


Derek/Coco has been posting high-energy, uplifting drag videos regularly since quarantine began. Her rendition of “Cold War” by Janelle Monae (posted yesterday) was particularly moving, and the all-blue getup in her “Crush on You” video (May 7) would leave even RuPaul gagging.

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I do not own the music. #isolationdrag #coldwarjanellemonae #blacklivesmatter

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Sleeplessmindz is an upcycled clothing brand founded by Jason Bempong. The dynamic Ghanian prints combined with hand-painted designs are full of fun—yes, now is the time to see if you can pull off a custom jean jacket (we bet you can).


Non-binary singer-songwriter Tonye Aganaba’s powerful voice and dance-able tunes (I like “We Ain’t Friends” from their 2019 album Something Comfortable) are awesome all year long, and yeah, they’re available other months besides February, thank you very much. Check out Something Comfortable on Spotify.


Artist Victoire is originally from the Republic of Congo & Gabon, and started Khimia Designs (khimia means peace in Lingala) as a way to “spread the beauty of African print patterns across the globe.” Check out her vibrant jewelry, headwraps and clothing here.

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African print earrings ✨

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Sade B. Alexis’s art focuses on “the joy, beauty, complexity, intelligence and radiance that always comes with Blackness.” Her post honouring Ahmaud Arbery (below) is a perfect example of that—read her caption, too. Alexis is a featured artist in Black Art Gastown.

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This piece has taken me over two weeks to complete. And in that time, in the time between now and the day I found out about the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, two months after he was taken from us, I have found out about the murder of Breyonna Taylor. I did not even have enough time to make art as an homage to Ahmaud, before another black life was taken. I made this piece not to gain political points or in any way to profit off of this. I made this because this was the only way I knew how to cope with the helplessness I feel when I hear about another murdered black person. My head feels too full with the names and the stories that I know I must hold on to. My heart feels too heavy to carry them with me. My head is full with the worry that the next person might be one of my loved ones. One of my family members. I shouldn’t live in fear for my cousins and aunties and uncles. This is the only way I know how to give love to Ahmaud and his family. My heart is broken and it keeps on breaking. May Ahmaud Arbery rest in power. May Breyonna Taylor Rest in power May Sean Reed rest in power May Tamil Rice Rest in power May Trayvon Martin Rest in power May Eric Garner Rest in power May Freddie Gray Rest in power May Sandra Bland rest in power May Mike Brown rest in power May Atatiana Jefferson rest in power. There are too many names to know. Too many lives to mourn. Our lives matter regardless of outstanding citizenship and arrests. Our lives matter regardless of drug addictions, trauma and pain. Our lives matter because we are breathing human beings with beating hearts. #blacklivesmatter

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