Artist and engineer Akin Adebowale and director Ousman Sahko are changing the game when it comes to Black content. The pair is set to launch Blacktag, a global interactive platform that will empower Black creators by connecting them directly
with brands and audiences seeking out alternative Black. Ahead of the launch, Blacktag is already bolstering its brand with partnerships with creators including Issa Rae, Common and Janelle Monae. They will be releasing original content through Blacktag Studio.
Blacktag looks to modernize the way Black content is created and consumed. This will be an original, first-of-its-kind platform which will bring authentic user-generated and originally produced content to Black mainstream and subculture, as well as celebrate Black creators. Blacktag is establishing a platform that prioritizes Black creators, allowing them to engage with audiences and monetize their work through brand partnerships and advertising.
Additionally, Blacktag revealed 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. 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.
The new platform addresses a space in the market that is often overlooked by brands: alternative Black content. Internationally, brands go out of their way to spend billions of dollars on advertising and media targeting mainstream Black audiences. That said, this limits the ability of artists in this space to monetize their work. In addition, these artists — whose talents are often appropriated remain unseen. Hopefully, Blacktag will change all of that.
Blacktag Co-Founders Adebowale and Sahko value Black art and want to help Black creators capture a greater share, closing the current wealth gap for Black communities. Both African immigrants, Adebowale and Sahko hold a deep understanding of content, culture and the dynamics that shape the creative and entertainment industries across the globe.
“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,” said Adebowale, who also serves as CEO of Blacktag. “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.”
Sahko, who serves as President and CCO of Blacktag, added, “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.”
He continued, “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.”
Adebowale is a multidisciplinary artist and software engineer who has designed, art directed and coded for prominent entertainers like Drake, Kanye West and Kid Cudi, and Sahko is a commercial film director, serial entrepreneur, and Google Creative Lab alum.
Blacktag is currently open to new creator partnerships ahead of its platform launch. New creators will be added on a regular basis and content will be curated to provide a balance of user-generated content and original series.
Watch the Blacktag sizzle above.
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