Co-founders Akin Adebowale and Ousman Sahko are aiming to democratize the media landscape by launching Blacktag.
Blacktag, a new streaming platform specializing in Black content and its creators will be launching in 2021.
The multi-tiered platform is set to connect creators directly with brands and audiences who have an affinity for user-generated and originally produced content. Blacktag hopes to create a symbiotic relationship through brand partnerships and advertisements. Black artists and alternative storytellers will be given a space to shine on the platform, and they’ll also be celebrated.
Today, Blacktag’s co-founders Akin Adebowale and Ousman Sahko, both African immigrants, announce a $3.75 million seed backing led by CAA and New Enterprise Associates. Blacktag has also already inked partnerships with Issa Rae and Common who are set to release original content through Blacktag Studio.
Given the meteoric rise of platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram over the past 10 to 12 years, the launch of a Black-centric platform is timely. Especially since many social media spaces are driven by Black content, for example everyone’s heard of “Black Twitter.” African Americans and the robust social communities throughout the African diaspora are filled with tastemakers.
Based in New York, the platform is slated to offer free user-generated content from brands and videos from 1,000 handpicked creators. In addition to that, studio-produced shows and movies will be available by subscription, per the Los Angeles Times. 75% of the ad revenue generated on user-generated videos will be given to its creators.
Adebowale and Sahko both understand that the Black art is at times underlooked, ignored or not given adequate resources. “We’re the first software-enabled platform,” says Adebowale over Zoom. “Software enabled, meaning that we played in the world of social networks and service marketplaces and big data and aggregators and influencer marketing platforms and things like that.” Adebowale, Blacktag’s CEO is a multidisciplinary artist and software designer who previously art directed and coded for talent including Kanye West, Kid Cudi and Drake.
“We are building [a] destination for the brands, the creators, and the audiences to all interchangeably find a destination for content,” said Sahko. “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.” Sahko is a commercial film director and Google Creative Lab alum serves as president and chief content officer of Blacktag.
Blacktag serves as a solution for those who are tired of creating content with hopes of it going viral on platforms like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. Ousman shares that in 2021 the product will launch as a go-to destination. “Over the course of time, we are acting as a creator studio,” he said. “I’m really excited [about] finding [and helping] different filmmakers, actors, and photographers, and art directors to find creativity and connect with one another globally. We hope to democratize this idea, and this notion around this monolithic idea of what Black content is or Black global perception is.”
Blacktag is open to new creator partnerships ahead of its launch. According to a statement from the platform, new creators will be added regularly and content will be curated “to provide a balance of user-generated content and original series.”