In the midst of tragedy, hardships and frustrations that came with the 2020 global pandemic, creators have been pushed to well...be creative in order to survive in this economy. Virtual content is key this year (as all of us who telework and spend a lot of time on Zoom can attest), so naturally, that applies to creators as well.
Cue Blacktag, a “new global interactive platform modernizing the way Black content is created and consumed.” Co-founded by Akin Adebowale and Ousman Sahko, Blacktag’s mission is to “give power back to creators.” Kicking off in a huge way, the platform has already secured partnerships from pretty big deal fellow creators and companies.
More info via the press release sent to The Root:
Blacktag today announced a $3.75 million seed round led by Connect Ventures, a newly formed investment partnership between leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and global venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA), becoming its second portfolio company. Ahead of the company’s official platform launch, Blacktag has inked partnerships with creators including Issa Rae and Common, and will be releasing original content through Blacktag Studio. Blacktag will use the initial round of funding to expand creator and brand partnerships as it prepares to launch its initial MVP platform in the first quarter of 2021.
“Black culture has always been a driver of popular culture and social discourse, but creatives in the Black community have not felt what should be tremendous economic benefits. Black art is Black money and Blacktag is going to help put more of that money back into the pockets of Black artists and creators,” Adebowale (who also serves as CEO of Blacktag) said in a statement via press release. “Our mission with Blacktag is to help close the wealth gap afflicting Black communities by leveraging the work and influence of Black creators, giving them a dedicated studio to explore their creativity, and connecting them with world-class brands to reach underserved Black audiences.”
“We’ve created Blacktag at such an important cultural moment. A Black renaissance and economic awakening has been ignited and Blacktag is adding fuel to the fire,” added Sahko (who also serves as president and CCO of Blacktag) added in a statement. “We’re not only creating opportunities for artists and creators to monetize their work that is the foundation of our culture, but also creating a place for every fan who has ever scrolled through traditional platforms looking for people who look like them and content that truly resonates, only to come up empty.”
Given that the platform aims to redirect ad and marketing dollars to creators (and in turn, close the wealth gap in the Black community), this also brings up the question of ownership. When it comes to third-party platforms, creators are understandably concerned about how much their content is exploited and ownership is pivotal. Thus, I asked the co-founders how much ownership will the creators have.
“The original content created in the Blacktag Studio will be owned by Blacktag,” Adebowale and Sahko told The Root in a joint statement. “On the user-generated side, that content will be owned by the creators and just distributed on the Blacktag platform.” Per the press release, Blacktag aims to have a healthy balance of user-generated content and original series.
The founders also touched on how important this platform launch is in terms of timing, given that living in a whole global pandemic has certainly posed new and unexpected challenges for creators (much like workers of all kinds, to various levels).
“The Blacktag platform will connect creators with valuable brand partnerships and enable them to create content through the Blacktag Studio,” Adebowale and Sahko told The Root. “This is especially important in the COVID era because of the many opportunities that were lost because of the pandemic.”
For more information about Blacktag, to check out the content and find out how you can get involved as a Black creator (the latter part is extra important because Blacktag is adding new creators to its platform on a rolling basis), head to blacktag.com.