In a world where technology is at the forefront of innovation, two creatives combined their talents to create a new platform that will give back the economic power to Black creators after centuries of revenue being directed into the pockets of someone else.
Ousman Sahko Sow and Akin Adebowale, two creatives who adopted an American worldview in their previous creative ventures, combined their shared visions and founded an interactive space where Black creators are empowered, not forgotten. A true first of its kind, Blacktag will bring user-generated content mainstream while simultaneously celebrating Black creators for their contributions and unique voices.
Meet the founders
Adebowale was born in Nigeria before moving to the United States at age three where he was raised in Georgia. He began working at a creative agency before going on to create OXOSI, a fashion marketplace that was specifically geared toward Black designers and creatives, a focus he held onto for future endeavors like Blacktag.
Sahko too immigrated to the United States from West Africa, fleeing Sierra Leone du country at age eight before settling with his family. He held positions with companies like Google and Spotify while working as a director and photographer. He eventually embraced his entrepreneurial spirit and founded the lifestyle marketing agency Lunchbox Studios, a path that eventually led him to Adebowale and the inception of Blacktag.
Sahko and Adebowale set out to create a platform to showcase content from Black musicians, artists, chefs, among other creatives. From their vision, Blacktag was born, evolving into a Netflix-meets-YouTube model that puts Black creatives’ content first in a modern, democratized way. Sahko and Adebowale are looking to tap into creators, an audience to consume their content, as well as brands who use it as a platform to discover Black creators and artists.
Blacktag will be a hub of long-form content, like films or scripted series, while also offering live entertainment content, sponsored content, and theatrical films. Its user-generated content will stem from 1,000 hand-chosen creators, with 75% of the ad revenue from the content being funneled back to its creators to break away from the cycle of Black creatives being uncompensated for their work and contributions to the zeitgeist.
Sahko revealed to The Face that Blacktag is looking to establish partnerships with major studios and filmmakers, from Jordan Peele and Khalid Joseph to independent companies like A24 and film festivals. 75% of the ad revenue generated on user-generated videos back to its creators.
Blacktag has raised $3.75 million pre-launch, even attracting the likes of Issa Rae, Janelle Monae, and Common for partnerships, all of whom will be releasing their own content through the platform down the line. The company plans on targeting 18 to 35 year-olds with a combination of free and paid video options, providing a wide variety of content for viewers to consumers, shifting advertising dollars directly to Black creatives.
Blacktag offers a solution for inclusivity within the industry, while still offering a disruption to how to consume modern art and culture as we know it.
“Black Art is Black Money”
While the platform is not officially slated to launch until later this year, Blacktag released their debut short film, “Black Art Is Black Money,” written by Akin and directed by Ousman. The film debuted at the beginning of February, acting as an overarching mission statement for the company.
The short film takes seven minutes to address cultural appropriation throughout history, exploring how Black Americans have acted as the blueprint for pop culture, but was never compensated or acknowledged as the root for the references and trends so ingrained into society. From fashion and beauty to food and culture, music and entertainment to slang and science, trends and genres throughout the centuries have stemmed from Black artists and creatives before becoming co-opted into a common culture and reclaimed by society without any credit given.
At the end of the day, Blacktag is poised to become a platform where Black artists and creatives contribute to modern culture on their own terms, all while being able to retain rightful economic power.