New feed, who dis?

It seems like no matter where you scroll on social media there’s always a ‘fit-tea’ being promoted, a waist being trained, and one person who is always in a bikini somewhere in Bali. I think most of us can agree that Instagram can be a mentally draining place, so it’s no surprise that a recent study found Instagram to be the worst social media platform for mental health. Yet, it’s still the second most used social media platform worldwide.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to part with my Instagram. Aside from all the negatives, many have redefined what this platform is and even helped shape some of Instagram’s policies. With the right accounts shaping your feed, Instagram can fuel your creativity, encourage positive self-talk, and inspire social action.

Curate a healthy online community by adding these accounts to your follow list:

1. Ayishat Akanbi | @ayishat_akanbi

Writer, stylist, photographer, and cultural commentator, Ayishat Akanbi uses her platform to spark conversation and inspire with her beautiful aesthetic. While keeping her eye on what’s hot in fashion, Akanbi also makes it her mission to remain aware of socio-political issues and culture.


2. Amrou Al-Kadhi | @glamrou

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‘Glamrou’ by Holly Falconer, (2016). Styled by my saviour @amnaeatsyourface for @causeandeffectmagazine. 💖 – Go check out the “Kiss My Genders” exhibition @southbankcentre to see this work in the photographic flesh (is this a tautology?!), alongside an incredibly diverse spectrum of works from Queer, Trans, Intersex & Non-binary artists from all over the world. A true honour to exhibit alongside them. This piece was about the fragmentation that occurs from trying to bring together my queer and Islamic identities. The act of getting into drag as someone who was taught that gender subversion is an irreconcilable sin, somehow splits me from inherited conservative notions I once had about myself. The act of trying to reconcile both these aspects of my identities is a constant chaotic struggle – we tried to relay the feeling that the experience of intersectionality is not so much cohesive fluidity, but a messy entanglement of sometimes painful contradictions. We also wanted to play around with an obvious “Arab” signifier like a Persian rug, to explore the fragmentation that occurs from trying to perform my “Arabness” in Western spaces – the splitting that occurs from how I perceive my own heritage versus how it is perceived in Western aesthetic contexts. Drag as quantum contradictions. #queerarabs #queermuslims #queerpeopleofcolor #queer #dragqueen #drag #lgbtqia #intersectionality #quantumentanglement #decolonize #unicorn #🦄 #nonbinary #nonbinarypride #genderfluid #genderqueer #transgender #transpride

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Amrou Al-Kadhi is a proud queer, Iraqi, Muslim and non-binary writer, performer, and filmmaker. Al-Kadhi has a long list of accomplishments behind their Instagram account that features drag, love, and both queer and Iraqi culture. Come on representation! 


3. Hana | @frizzkidart

Local Toronto illustrator and author, Hana creates feel-good and real content through creative visuals. These Insta-story friendly posts are a sure-fire way to inspire your followers. For your daily dose of creativity, positivity, and social activism, add Hana to your feed.


4. Jess | @thechroniciconic

If you’re looking to add more activism and representation of people with disabilities onto your feed, Jess is your girl. On top of being an activist, Jess speaks to her mental health journey and calls out the lack of consideration for people with disabilities in mental health treatment facilities. Follow Jess’s journey and fight alongside her. You go, Jess!


5. Rickey Thompson |  @rickeythompson

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And that’s on what?

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If you’re not among the 5.3 million who follow Rickey Thompson, you’re missing out. Previous Vine creator turned YouTuber, Thompson’s mission is to make people laugh. Coming out as gay in 2015 via Twitter, Thompson uses his social media fame to create a safe and fun community for his fans.


6. Salwa Rahman | @urgalsal_

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UR benGALi / edit: @mna.h

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Salwa Rahman is a British-Bangladeshi, beauty-blogger (I live for this alliteration) who not only creates inspiring looks but also speaks to the waste consumption in the beauty community. “At the end of the day, I can only either stop consuming or consume less… If [beauty brands] can change the way they produce, then maybe I can consume at a normal rate, but at this point in time I can’t do that.” Hello, sustainability!


7. Christina Hunger, MA, CCC-SLP | @hunger4words

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What does Stella say when she’s home alone? Take a look at this emotional video to find out. • Stella normally stays in her kennel when we’re gone because that’s where she’s always appeared the most comfortable and settled. When we put her in her kennel, she eats a treat from her Kong then sleeps until we come back. • Today Jake and I wanted to see if Stella would be comfortable outside of her kennel since she’s a bit older now and hasn’t seemed to mind when we leave. So, we left the kennel and bedroom doors open, setup a camera, and left for 20 minutes. • When we left, Stella confusedly walked around our empty apartment, said “Where”, whined, then howled in a way I’ve literally never heard her howl before. It’s like she was asking “Where are you?” and desperately calling out for us in distress. • When we returned to watch the footage, I was in complete shock. I felt incredibly sad seeing Stella stressed, but was also wildly impressed by Stella’s use of “where” in such an appropriate situation. • While we don’t plan on doing this again anytime soon, I am so grateful to have witnessed such a powerful communication event.

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Okay, this one might make you cry. Christina Hunger is a speech-language pathologist using her love of dogs (same) and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) to teach her dog, Stella, how to communicate with her. From asking for her blanket to wondering where her parents are, Stella proves the intellect of dogs and warms our hearts.


8. Sofia Grahn | @isotretinoinwiths

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I’m just going to leave this right here, a little something to reflect upon. But most importantly, I want to remind each and everyone of you that you deserve ease, lightheartedness, love, warmth, kindness, self confidence, joy and well-being NO MATTER what your skin is currently up to. . I want you to know that acceptance and happiness does not have to be dependent on achieving any type of beauty standard, even though that’s what we’re constantly fed by society. I want to remind you that your worth is not dependent on any of your outer attributes. Your skin doesn’t have to be the loophole where your acceptance and self-love ends. I’m so empathetic to any of you struggling with your skin, I’m your ally and your biggest cheerleader. Here’s to normalizing acne so that we all can thrive and live to the fullest no matter the condition of our skin🧡 . #normalizeacne #normalizeskintexture #normalizenormalbodies #skinpositivity #acnepositivity #effyourbeautystandards

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Sofia Grahn is changing the face of skin on Instagram by normalizing acne. Grahn’s content gives us a much-needed reality check on that overly airbrushed skin we’re used to seeing. Refresh your feed with Grahn’s authentic and unfiltered skin journey.


9. Jonathan Van Ness | @jvn

Jonathan Van Ness exudes happiness and positivity. Most recognizable as part of the Fab 5 of Queer Eye, Van Ness is constantly pushing gender boundaries and trying new things. Between doing gymnastics and figure skating, Van Ness is also a hair and skincare expert; he can give you twirls and volume!


10. Donté Colley | @donte.colley

Twitter, Tik-Tok and Instagram stardom is no stranger to the University of Guelph-Humber’s very own, Dontè Colley. His content consists of relatable, hilarious and hopeful messages that give us all the feels. You’ll be sure to brighten your BFF’s day by sending them one of Colley’s feel-good posts.


11. Sam Smith | @samsmith

Yes I do, I believe. I believe that Sam Smith is the icon we need for male body-positivity. Smith not only creates the perfect break-up ballads to cry to, but he also is fearless on his feed. Showcasing a body so unrepresented in society today, Smith uses his large platform to break down stereotypes and beauty standards.


12. I Weigh | @i_weigh

Created by Jameela Jamil, I Weigh was designed as a hub for ‘radical inclusivity.’ Beginning in 2018, I Weigh has continued to curate content that reaches all types of activism and highlights drivers of change globally. Following I Weigh is a must to add more diversity, positivity, and inspiration to your feed.

Learn more from the founder of I Weigh herself, Jameela Jamil, at our upcoming Real Talks!

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