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BlackGirlFollowTrain TikTok Q&A: Sojourner James

An Exclusive Interview by Stephanie E.

"If you're a Black girl that come across my page, I'm following you...." - Sojourner James, 2023


As we all know TikTok is [the] number one app to grow your business, following and coming across new content creators daily. But for some, this does not happen overnight, whereas for one woman, Sojourner James, while on a walk decided to share a message she had no idea would later turn into a Black girl movement.


The (hashtag) blackgirlfollowtrain left many feeling a plethora of emotions—from elated to overwhelmed and for some, disappointed. The purpose of the train is to get Black women coming together to support one another, at first it was let’s get to 1,000 so we can go live on the app. As you may know, TikTok allows its users to go live with 1,000 followers. You can then collect diamonds to receive gifts from your viewers on your [live] videos. Once you collect diamonds, you may obtain a reward payment in money or virtual items.

Then, it became a goal to reach 10k followers to earn revenue from simply posting a video. While many did follow the rules of the trend, some, not so much. But overall it was positive and many Black women have seen success—whether its an increase in sales for their business or the ability to earn revenue from the app itself.


We had a chance to catch up with Sojourner James in an exclusive Q&A to give us some additional insight into the (hashtag) blackgirlfollowtrain.


BOLDBoss Question (1): Why don't you start by sharing a bit about yourself? Where are you from? Your hobbies and of course, are you single?


Sojourner James: Hey! My name is Sojourner J. I’m 28 years old and I’m from The Bronx, New York where I was born and raised. I moved to Brooklyn about five years ago—which I might add, I love. I’m currently in school studying Criminal Justice, I graduate in May. I have a hobby of supporting Black women, and I am currently in a relationship.


BOLDBoss Question (2): When it comes to the trends on TikTok things can pick up quite fast. Before the BGFT what was your favorite trend?


Sojourner James: Tiktok does have a way of trends going in and out so I can’t say I’ve ever had a favorite one. I honestly used to just go up there and speak my mind; whatever flowed to me I made a video and posted it.


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BOLDBoss Question (3): Can you walk us through the point where you decided to make a TikTok advising Black women that you are going to follow them?

Sojourner James: At that time in my life I was going through a bit of a rough patch. I felt so alone like I didn’t have anyone. I barely have friends, rare to connect with family, plus, I had the flu so everything just felt too much.


I was walking to the store thinking to myself, what if I had a sister right now? To help me, to vent to, to share the love I have and get the same in return. So I went on TikTok, opened the camera and per usual let the words flow out, it wasn’t planned. I didn’t expect it would become a viral moment.


BOLDBoss Question (4): Did you anticipate the trend to grow as fast as it did? What were your initial expectations?


Sojourner James: No way! No way in the world did I expect this trend to become what it has lol. In the video I’m not dressed, I have a hood on, no lashes, nothing. That might not seem like a big deal but it goes to show how unplanned it truly was.


My initial expectation was that other Black women would share in the sentiment, feel the same way, follow me back and show love to each other. Would have never expected in a million years to have an army of women from all over the world loving and supporting me. It truly feels amazing and I am beyond grateful!


BOLDBoss Question (5): As far as women not using the trend for its rightful purpose, what are your thoughts on that? Do you believe Black women can truly stick together outside of something like a 'trend'?


Sojourner James: Some women missed the message and took this trend as just about growing numbers and followers, but that’s okay, too. However it works for them I’m not mad about it, I can’t expect everyone to see the bigger picture as I do.


I absolutely DO believe women can stick together, and it’s foolish to believe we can’t! Unfortunately, that is the mindset others have placed upon us! All it takes is one step and one push! And that’s exactly what I feel this trend did, give us a VERY hard push.


BOLDBoss Question (6): I've noticed that you've been using this opportunity to highlight Black businesses. Can you share your motive behind that and what businesses have you come across recently that you're truly interested in?


Sojourner James: My motive behind supporting Black businesses is the same all around—showing Black women love and giving them a positive push in whichever way I can! To show this trend wasn’t just about numbers but about helping the next queen elevate, helping her put money in her pockets, and giving her the confidence in continuing her business with a new audience.


My favorite business so far is Mother2Madre. The owner creates oils, soaps, and body Butta while also being a birthing and postpartum doula. She’s amazing!


Another business I would love to highlight is RiseInPower. The owner is a beautiful sister that creates handbags that are such great quality. I haven’t been able to put it down since they’ve been sent to me. There’s a whole bunch of other queens that have amazing products. If anyone has a TikTok it would be under my virtual Black Wall Street playlist.


BOLDBoss Question (7): What are your feelings toward the 'Black Man Follow Train', 'Latina Women Follow Train' and even some push back from Caucasian women on this trend?


Sojourner James: I won’t get too much into other follow trains, simply because I’m not great at being politically correct. However I will say this, I’m rooting for everybody Black!


BOLDBoss Question (8): What's next? Where do you see yourself going and what other plans do you have to add growth to the community, if any?


Sojourner James: What’s next is me creating my Sisterhood sorority for Black women, taking the trend a little further than TikTok. I will look to create a safe and positive space for Black women to grow and evolve with each other.


Once I get that off the ground that will be the beginning of many things—food drives, clothing drives, pantries, and brunches! I have so much in store for my community so please stay tuned.

 

Sojourner James image courtesy of Sojourner James

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