Social media is one of the fastest, most immediate ways to stay on top of current events, and one infectious outlet has all but cemented its place at the digital forefront. The Shade Room, the Instagram-dominating news hub with over 11 million followers, is the brainchild of 27-year-old Angelica Nwandu. After graduating from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor’s degree in business, the founder and CEO paired her entrepreneurial skills with the spirit of hard work and dedication she credits to her Nigerian culture. Her four-year-old media company has blossomed from being a one woman show—Nwandu initially operated it alone out of her native Los Angeles—to a multi-city team holding court across Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube and their website. Dubbed “Instagram’s TMZ,” the Shade Room disseminates “the tea” wherever it falls within black culture, from celebrity gossip and Hollywood news to highlighting black love and saluting past and present icons of color.
Despite a few bumps along the way (the Shade Room accounts on Facebook and Instagram have been shut down in the past), Nwandu has continued to benefit from her creative investment. In 2017, she was included in the Source’s Power 30 list and scored a BET Award for Best Hip-Hop Site. The year prior, she was recognized as one of Time’s 30 Most Influential People on the Internet and made Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in media.
If you think Nwandu is shining in her purpose now, then the future promises to be blinding. She has her sights set on being a top influencer in media. In fact, the TSR team is currently hard at work building out new video projects and preparing to transform the brand into a digital network. She believes that black women have been at the forefront of every revolution concerning the black community, and wants to do her part to elevate her people by being connected and empowered.
In addition to juggling tasks as a media maven, Nwandu remains passionate about poverty, orphans and foster youth. By her own admission, she has grown into the person she is today due to the mentorship of Zaid Gayle, the executive director of foster care program Peace for Kids and her cousin, Francis, but most of all, due to her unwavering faith. As she says, “God is intentional.”