On November 23, 2020, three young nail-obsessed Black women from Atlanta and D.C. launched an Instagram page. Their brainchild, @BlkGirlNailfies, is a corner of the internet devoted to Black nail art, a digital space that is specifically committed to creating a community for Black women, by Black women. Despite having only one introduction post at the time, the account gained 1,000 followers almost overnight.
Today, BlkGirlNailfies has nearly doubled its follower count and there are hundreds of posts under its unique hashtag. Although it’s a relatively young space, the account’s budding community proves that this type of celebration is something Black manicure lovers have been yearning for. The account was born out of a passion and deep reverence for nail art from three friends. Yet, its conception came by chance.
Founders Hana Javelle, Imani Aldridge, and Tyra A. Seals are not influencers or content creators. Aldridge is a product photographer for beauty brands, Javelle is a full-time publicist and project manager, and Seals is an art history Ph.D. student who runs her own editorial agency. But each woman loves manicures, and they’re each known amongst their personal circles for posting their own nailfies — shots of one’s nails from their own POV — on a regular basis. A few months ago, Aldridge and Seals were playing around with the idea of creating a joint Instagram page to showcase their fresh nail sets, while Javelle was searching for something more like a lookbook.
“I was doing what I do before every nail appointment,” Javelle tells Allure. “I was looking through all of my photos and going through people that I follow [on Instagram] for nails. And I was like, it would be really nice if I could make a centralized place other than my photo album to find inspo. I just literally blurted [that] out on my Instagram story. And then Imani hit me up.”
The three women conferred on what this vessel for inspiration could look like. Black hands were their starting point. “[The three of us] save designs for our nails on Instagram,” shares Seals. “And for the most part, they’re always on white or Asian hands.” Their shared visions landed on a venture that was community-oriented and rooted in representation.