Meet the Founders of Stay Conscious Media

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Provided by Tylese Rideout

Stay Conscious Media Instagram account founder Kennedi Malone and co-founder Tylese Rideout discuss the details of the Jacob Blake shooting in part 1 of their What Happened in Kenosha? Instagram Live series.

Nakia Harmon, Opinion Editor

McIntosh seniors Kennedi Malone and Tylese Rideout spread awareness on systematic oppression and social justice issues with every post, Instagram Live and Takeover Tuesday on their Stay Conscious Media account on Instagram. Malone and Rideout had originally intended on creating a Stay Conscious Club at McIntosh at the end of last school year, but their plans soon changed when the COVID-19 pandemic caused McIntosh, along with all the schools in the United States, to close and shift to virtual instruction. When Ahmaud Arbery’s death went public, they decided that they were going to educate people on social injustices anyway they possibly could.

“We need to start educating people now,” Malone said. “This can’t wait until we get back to school.”

Malone and Rideout created the Stay Conscious Media account on Instagram and released their first post on June 7 after they attended the second protest for social injustice that was held in Peachtree City, GA. They created this account on Instagram to serve as a space where people are allowed to educate each other on the issues that society is facing that is dear to them. Takeover Tuesdays are done by Stay Conscious Media followers who have reached out to Malone and Rideout about an issue that they are interested in spreading awareness to and then Malone and Rideout decide whether or not they would like that person to spread awareness to the issue that they are interested in by doing an Instagram Live about it on a Tuesday on the Stay Conscious Media account. Some of Malone’s and Rideout’s fellow classmates have participated in Takeover Tuesdays over the summer.

We love seeing people that we know passionate about something and then wanting to spread that information to everyone”

— Tylese Rideout

Their platform on Instagram has not only impacted the lives of their followers and those who have participated in Takeover Tuesdays, but it has made an impact on their own lives. Malone and Rideout have both become Justice Ambassadors for Justice for Black Girls which is an organization that spreads information about how systems of power in the United States address the abuse of Black girls in protest, in schools, and in prison ever since they began posting on their Stay Conscious Media account on Instagram which has furthered their knowledge on the criminalization of Black girls, adultification, respectability politics, cultural appropriation, colorism and intersectionality.|

“We love this program and its director, Brianna Baker, so much,” Malone said.

Over the summer, Stay Conscious Media partnered with The Unity Project, which is a community organization on Instagram founded by McIntosh seniors Riya Ratkalkar, Raaga Bramhadevi and Kirsi Midha, that informs that Instagram followers about community service opportunities for the metro Atlanta area. for collecting books for the Rainbows for All Children book drive which is still taking book donations. Malone and Rideout have also spoken on the A+E summer podcast which is a Spotify and Apple podcast hosted by McIntosh seniors Elijah Smith and Austin Carmichael every summer twice over the summer which are both open on Spotify and Apple podcast.

“For this summer, @stayconsciousmedia is pretty much what I devoted all of my time to,” said Rideout.

Malone and Rideout both invest a lot of time posting and making Instagram Lives for Stay Conscious Media all while balancing being seniors at McIntosh in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to make as many memories with their peers as possible safely before they graduate this school year. Aside from managing Stay Conscious Media, Malone works on Fred Rovner’s House of Representative Campaign and serves as the class of 2021 representative on the STEM Committee and the co-president of McIntosh’s Science National Honor Society chapter. She is also a member of Beta Club and National English Honor Society. In her spare time, she enjoys reading.

“I’ve bought quite a few books, both for education and for leisure,” said Malone. “I love to read.”

She also donates her money to nonprofit organizations whenever she can.

“Also, when I come into a little bit of money I try to send it to organizations like the Equal Justice Initiative or We Rep Justice,” Malone said. “I’ve also been trying to support Black-owned businesses like RaiseYourVoice Apparel and Perception shop on Instagram.”

Rideout is preoccupied with numerous extracurriculars as well when she is not managing Stay Conscious Media. Over the summer, she audited a University of California, Berkeley course in Black Feminist Healing Arts. She is also a member of the Science National Honor Society, English National Honor Society, and French Club. She also donates money to various nonprofit organizations and enjoys reading.

With this being Malone’s and Rideout’s last year of high school, they both have their eyes set on their own futures, as well as the future of Stay Conscious Media. After graduating this school year, Malone plans on attending college and then most likely grad school to pursue a career in public health.

“At first, I thought the extent to which I could incorporate my passion for people into this field was just by helping with disease outbreaks,” Malone said.

But Stay Conscious Media has really shown me that my passion for people needs to be used for something more concrete.”

— Kennedi Malone

With her career in public health, she plans on designing, evaluating, and monitoring public health programs to ensure equity when trying to help areas that are afflicted. As for the future of Stay Conscious Media, she sees it becoming as well known as @theshaderoom, @feminist, @chnge, or becoming notable enough to where herself and Rideout can TEDtalk on it.

Rideout also plans on attending college after graduating as well and then going to law school to pursue a career as a criminal defense lawyer. She also would like to become a law professor to incorporate her passion for education into her career or obtaining a higher level of education after receiving a law degree.

“Expanding our platform and reaching people all over the world will always be something that is important to me,” Rideout said. “This would include collaborating with other platforms and even becoming a part of other brands that are not as politically active.”