Founded in 2017, the B-L-K app encompasses more than a community for singles seeking a prospective date or companionship. The niche platform has the largest subscription of Black Men & Women and is known as affiliates of the Match.com portfolio. 360 Magazine’s Armon Hayes met with the B-L-K app Head of Marketing Jonathan Kirkland via zoom to discuss what the ‘new wave’ app is all about, its impact and what’s to come.
About six years ago Kirkland began in the digital space with apps like Grindr and Bumble. He shares the experience applying to a Brand-partnership job at Grindr as a joke, which lead to a self-discovery journey that allowed him to discover how he thrives through niche communities while identifying their needs. Subsequently evolving the online dating functionality and perspective, Kirkland goes on to say, “It’s all about making connections, where those connections are is up to you and who you match with.”
When embarking on the new B-L-K app, founders knew that they wanted to keep the Black community at the forefront of the platform. “The Black experience is a unique one, especially in America and [this] transcends into the dating app space,” said Kirkland. Exploding during lockdown at the height of the pandemic, he is committed to growing the platform with the aid of the audience he serves. The app allows for an understanding that connections aren’t merely one-to-one, but a one to many. Diligent in shifting the narrative that Black women are less desirable, the B-L-K app provides the forum to communicate byway fostering understanding.
With 3 million downloads and counting, the cultural app is creating a space for a wide scale of individuals to connect and, most importantly, build friendships. B-L-K remains true to their core demographic by creating dialogue, while also educating through user connections on matters surrounding racial injustices.
Brought to the forefront on the app as well as our lives, B-L-K particularly highlights the global misfortunes of 2020 at the hands of law enforcement to Breonna Taylor & George Floyd, just to name a few. Such criteria are typically not discussed or even introduced on dating platforms, let alone the first encounter with someone new. Furthermore, getting to know someone online can be awkward as it is. Kirkland emphasizes the initiative of the app, stating, “It’s a space where blackness can be celebrated; find more qualified matches and start dating faster.”
Listen to Kirkland/Hayes podcast interview HERE.