The 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump sparked Adam Taylor, 30, to become insecure about his work environment. Being the “Black face in a white space,” he did not feel comfortable expressing his anxiety about the uncertainty of Trump’s presidency.
That’s when Taylor, who was working at MIT assisting in software development, created the Black news app, Black, in 2017.
Black is a mobile app that curates Black news from several publications and organizes the stories into a personalized list. When the app was first released it was just about having solely Black content in one place. But Taylor started to get overwhelmed by the stories of violence happening towards the Black community. “I realized when I first started out in September of 2017, I was getting depressed because I felt like every other day, someone that looked like me or didn’t matter the age was getting choked, killed, or just something just really terrible was happening to people that I care about,” Taylor says,“and I didn’t even know them. It’s just that we’ve all gone through the same experience and it was just a lot.”
Then and there he decided to focus the app differently. He understood the importance of mental health when reading the heavy stories. So he is now planning to release a feature that will give readers on the app a mental health rating over time, based on what stories they click on daily. “ You’ll be able to see exactly what your mental health is and like, oh boy, I’m consuming a lot of and clicking on a lot of negative content,” Taylor explains. “I should probably change that. Or I can go into the settings and actually tell the app to show me content that’s more positive because I’ve been on a trend. I’m just reading the really alarming and potentially mentally damaging content.”
Although Taylor’s app has allowed him to be a part of Apple’s inaugural Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders, creating and continuing to develop Black hasn’t been a walk in the park. As a Black-owned and developed app, he has received racist and negative reviews.
Developing Black is not something that Taylor does full-time, but rather something he’s doing to give back to the Black community, bridging the crucial gap between news and mental health—what he calls, “a love letter” to his community. This app is what our community needs to ensure we get the news we need, without sacrificing our mental well-being.