Naj Austin Ethel's Club Founder
Naj Austin Ethel's Club Founder
Photo Credit: Naj Austin

Ethel's Club Founder Announces Social Platform Centering Marginalized Communities

Somewhere Good is slated to launch in beta in January, at the moment over 2,500 users have signed up.

Naj Austin, founder and CEO of Ethel’s Club, a community-centric digital space for Black and brown multi-hyphenates is transforming Somewhere Good into more than a parent company.

Five months ago, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Austin and her team launched Somewhere Good as a parent company of a portfolio of brands. Since her team is made up of Black, Latinx and queer people each of them realized they were constantly searching for a platform where they could create and connect online. 

Ethel’s Club which also has a physical has continued growing, Austin also began noticing that subscribed members kept asking for spaces for Black users and people of color. They inquired about specific spaces geared toward unique topics. Somewhere Good is her answer to those inquiries and her team's curiosities. “The vision for Somewhere Good is you take your phone out of your pocket and, as a Black person or person of color, all of your needs are met there in that one place,” Austin tells TechCrunch.

Since the robust interests of marginalized people spans beyond social media, Somewhere Good will expound upon that notion. Art, music, and film are a few avenues that will have the opportunity to be given a space on the platform. Once users join, they'll be asked basic signifiers, but they'll also be able to mark their interests. This will allow them to only see content from the "interest-based communities" they've selected.

 The mission of the platform is quite unique. In its public manifesto, there are points that dig a bit deep: "intentional connection" between users, "no data ownership" and "user freedom." Somewhere Good will also be 100% ad-free. Additionally, a zero-tolerance policy for “hate speech, abusive behavior, bullying or other forms of aggression or violence” sticks out. The zero-tolerance policy portion reads, “Any users acting against our code of conduct will be immediately removed from the Somewhere Good platform.” This is quite important as the invite-only, audio-only platform Club House has become widely popular in recent months despite it being in beta, yet in July it had no way for users to report harassment per The Verge

Somewhere Good is set to launch in beta in January. Roughly ten days ago, Austin announced the platform and since then, there have been over 2,500 sign-ups proving there is a need for new technologies.