“Being Black and gay just seemed like a nightmare for me. There was nowhere for me to find support,” explained the rising Black beauty influencer and LGBTQ+ activist Kenny Screven, as he looked back on his life before all the glitz and glamour. Today, the fast-rising social media personality uses his platform and voice to shed light on some of the most crucial issues in the lives of minorities and marginalized communities. Ultimately, he hopes to advance a vital notion: beauty is beauty, and there should not be any boundaries.
Kenny Screven, popularly known by his social media handle @kscreven, is an emerging Black beauty influencer with nearly 130,000 followers on Instagram alone. He is an LGBTQ+ advocate and activist most notable for posting creative makeup tutorials while speaking up about the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. He is also the founder of the Haus of Shadez LGBTQ+ support group. Besides the beauty scene, he is a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry. The star influencer serves as a supportive and hands-on mentor for his fan base when it comes to decisions on beauty and fashion.
But before the glitz, glamour, and fame, Kenny Screven lived his life in the closet. Growing up, being gay was frowned upon and represented by the media in such a negative light. On top of his sexuality, being Black was another issue. He points out that the combination of his sexual orientation and skin color seemed like a living nightmare for him back in the day. Admittedly, the Delaware native struggled to find people like him. He had no support system and was forced to go through his closeted struggles alone while experiencing bullying on the side. “There were no Billy Porters around when I was growing up. So I wanted to be everything but gay,” shares the dedicated LGBTQ+ advocate.
By college, Kenny Screven began to accept and embrace who he really was. With unwavering support from his brother and friends, he began exploring his passion for beauty and fashion. He quickly nailed the makeup scene. Soon, he began posting his iconic makeup looks on social media. His creative beauty work immediately caught the public eye and won the hearts of many beauty and fashion enthusiasts. While there were backlash and hateful comments at times, support and love from people overpowered the negative side. “Makeup has been so empowering for me. I have even created spaces for young people in my workplace to learn how to be their authentic selves,” says Kenny.
To bring his dreams for the LGBTQ community to life, Kenny Screven went on to establish Haus of Shadez, an LGBTQ+ support group empowering young adults of color to achieve their destined future. This was his way of giving back to the communities that welcomed him. The support group places heavy emphasis on Black, indigenous, and people of color’s (BIPOC) mental health and sexual health, pioneering events for healthier lifestyles and educating the youth on overall sexual health.
Today, Kenny Screven continues to be one of the leading BIPOC influencers in the digital space, and his vision for the marginalized communities only continues to grow. Through glamour and glitz, he empowers others in accepting themselves and loving themselves unconditionally. That said, he continues to explore more ways to promote diversity and inclusion in all industries. For this beauty guru, he will forever be at the forefront of the fight for acceptance and equality for the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities.