Morgan DeBaun is fresh off a trip to Los Angeles, California. The founder and CEO of Blavity, a platform connecting multicultural creatives to their audience, is now roughly 400 miles away in today’s leading technology hub, Silicon Valley. The San Francisco resident has spent the last six months alongside her team working on what the startup calls “the voice of the Black millennial generation.”
“Blavity, at its core, is a place where people can go to talk about issues; to find out what’s happening; to discover things that are inspirational, to tell stories that are untold,” says DeBaun on the tech startup’s mission. “We do that through a variety of different platforms.”
Once on the site, Blavity users have access to top videos curated by their preferences, as well as the videos they’re viewing and sharing. Blavity partners and creatives within the startup’s network produce many of the videos. The team is producing a signature, soon-to-be released video series of interviews with visionaries, hustlers and innovators, among others, that will debut in 2015. This recent project is what brought the St. Louis, Missouri-native to LA. Those interviews, like many you’ll find on the site, reflect the Blavity aesthetic, which focuses on people and storytelling.
In addition to video exclusives, the Blavity Bulletin highlights creators from across the globe in one-on-one interviews and short-to-long-form write-ups. The stories told on Blavity aren’t monolithic, but reflective of the diversity existing among Black millennials and the creative class today.
“If you look at any of our content, or any of our copy, you know that there’s people behind it, says DeBaun. “We stay culturally relevant.”
When it comes to influence and technological advancement, African-American millennials are at the forefront compared to their counterparts. Black millennials are early adopters of new technologies and social media tools. Current statistics show that more than half of the African-American population, 53%, is under the age of 35, compared to 47% of the total market population.
With tons of emphasis being placed on millennials, the team, staff writers and contributors are focused on making sure their target demographic is represented and portrayed accurately. It’s a goal that DeBaun and co-founder and CTO Jeff Nelson had long before the name Blavity entered their lexicon.
DeBaun and her core team, which includes Jonathan Jackson, editor-in-chief of Blavity Bulletin, and Aaron Samuels, business development lead, all met while at Washington University in St. Louis. Blavity isn’t the first time they’ve worked together, and this makes the second time the 24-year-old and Nelson have joined forces on a startup.
“We’re motivated to solve the problem. The problem of finding and sharing high-quality content for a multicultural audience.”
Blavity is constantly innovating and listening to their audience. In the new year, users can expect more audience-specific content and an app (to be released in the Spring).
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