United States (Los Angeles)
We’re living in one of the most memorable moments in history. Blavity is the powerful multi-platform, multimedia Black-owned and Black-community serving business success story the world needs.
The leading independent media group in the United States for Black millennials was created one day at Washington University in St Louis when four college friends – Aaron Samuels, Morgan DeBaun, Jonathan Jackson and Jeff Nelson (all pictured below) – were reflecting on the importance of Black students pulling together to offer each other support and build community.
They could literally see the impact of this collective action at the dining hall table where they gathered in increasing numbers – and they thought of this as the power of Black gravity.
From this force, Blavity, Inc. was born in 2014: initially a news, politics and culture digital media for Black millennials, today their seven brands reach 60-80 million users each month, and the leadership team boasts a majority of Black women.
Aaron Samuels – co-founder, Chief Operating Officer, Black and Jewish poet and entrepreneur (below) – explains the mission: “Everything we do is oriented toward maximising Black happiness in the world. That’s the goal: it’s very, very simple.”
As with the best ideas, the reality behind the simplicity of the mission is deeper and more complex. Today the 80-strong team runs not only the flagship Blavity brands, but also the world’s largest gathering for Black tech entrepreneurs – AfroTech – as well as Travel Noire, a platform for Black travellers, 21Ninety for Black women and Shadow and Act for Black talent in the entertainment industry.
There are also new initiatives like Black Growth Network that make it easier for small businesses to find and access support and a project to create the next generation of Black storytellers.
Blavity is all about storytelling and the power of narratives: “In poetry, we often talk about being born into a received narrative and how we are supposed to act in line with that narrative’, says Aaron. “But if the media can show different possible narratives for your path, then it’s not limiting, it’s expansive.”
Read more ► Meet Aaron Samuels, the FutureHero creating new narratives for Black millennials – as he waxes poetic about the power of narratives, digital spaces designed for celebration and maximising Black happiness.
Aaron Samuels, Morgan DeBaun, Jonathan Jackson and Jeff Nelson
This project has been selected as part of CultureFutures, a storytelling project that maps creative and cultural projects with a social mission – and the artists, collectives and entrepreneurs behind them.
Atlas of the Future is excited to join forces with Goldsmiths Institute of Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship and the British Council Creative Economy.