Justin Gerrard speaks quickly, Brian Gerrard speaks slowly. If you met them separately, you would never guess they were brothers. But their oil-and-water partnership helped them create Bae, a dating app for black people. Bae works pretty much like Tinder, but tailor-made for black users. The Gerrards came up with the idea after they realized how difficult it is for black singles to find dates on existing platforms.
GIFs are inescapable, infiltrating almost every way we communicate in 2017. And now, with a new series from Giphy, the world can choose from a much more inclusive array of options. Timed with Black History Month, Giphy has made a dedicated effort to provide users with GIFs showing the black American experience. From iconic civil rights activists to #BlackGirlMagic, the GIF search engine is honoring black culture by creating and curating GIFs that help fill a gaping hole in representation online -- this February and beyond. SEE ALSO: Snapchat celebrates Black History Month with'Young, Black and Proud' story Giphy's culture editor, Jasmyn Lawson -- who, for the record, pronounces GIF with a hard "g" -- is one of the driving forces behind the effort.
Mark Luckie, a digital strategist and former journalist, says he accepted the job offer from Facebook reluctantly. At first, he didn't want to move to Silicon Valley from Atlanta, where he had been living, but he said his fiance was able to persuade him, telling him that the job presented an opportunity to make a difference on the influential social network. Facebook is an amazing company that reaches a lot of people," Luckie, 35, said in an interview with The Washington Post. "I didn't plan to leave." But as a black employee, he became disillusioned with his time at the company. After about a year at the company, he decided to quit. And before his last day in mid-November, he wrote a long memo that he sent to the company's staff. The memo is in the news this week after Luckie made it public on -- where else? -- Facebook. Luckie argues that the company is "failing its black employees and its black users," allegedly by excluding them from events and the important work that guides Facebook's service. Facebook, in a statement, said it is "doing all we can to be a truly inclusive company." Luckie, who worked as an editor at The Washington Post for about two years until 2012, notes statistics that demonstrate that black users are one of the more engaged demographics on Facebook, with more using the service to communicate with family (63 percent) and friends (60 percent) than Facebook users on average. "Black people are driving the kind of meaningful social interactions Facebook is striving to facilitate," he wrote. But Luckie argues the experiences of black users on Facebook are "far from positive," citing a report from the investigative outlet Reveal that documented instances in which posts from black people have been removed as "hate speech.
If you take a quick glance across the magazine rack this month, expect to be greeted by an unprecedented wave of black cover stars. From Glamour to Vogue to Marie Claire, black women are currently providing a welcome respite from the lily-white stars that usually front a depressing 67 percent of fashion magazines. A brief list of the stars making covers this September--the fashion industry's biggest issue of the year--include: singer, actress, and wine glass thief Rihanna on the cover of British Vogue, Beyoncé on American Vogue, Lupita Nyong'o on Porter, Tiffany Haddish on Glamour, Tracee Ellis Ross on Elle Canada, Zendaya on Marie Claire, supermodel Slick Woods on British Elle, Yara Shahidi on Hollywood Reporter, and Aja Naomi King on Shape. In a year that, politically, has largely felt like a rebuke of not only blackness but any divergence from whiteness, the recognition of black women as both leaders in their respective fields and as cultural tastemakers is both welcome and long overdue. And yet there are some who are searching for an explanation of this sudden uptick, rather than simply celebrating it.