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Find Black-Owned Businesses Near You With the New App BBLK

July 7, 2020 was a Tuesday. It was 43 days after the death of George Floyd, 116 days after the death of Breonna Taylor and 135 days after the death of Ahmaud Avery. Polls estimated that since the beginning of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement has brought out anywhere from 15 to 26 million people to participate in protests. According to experts, these numbers would make the summer protests “the largest movement in the country’s history.”

In the days leading before Blackout Day, hashtags like “#blackownedrestaurants” and “#blackownedbusinesses” were trending and being shared as fast as wildfire. Local newspapers were making an effort to contribute by compiling lists of relevant spots, excel spreadsheets were being shared across Facebook and Twitter, and Yelp even planned to launch a “new free searchable attribute that will give businesses a way to identify themselves as Black-owned” and optimizing the tagging features. Moreover, waves of COVID-19 shutdowns (specifically those in black communities) have set the context for Blackout Day — a day of economic protest by either boycotting spending money or (if the need arose) to only make purchases from black-owned businesses.

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All of these are reasons for why Ramond Murphy and Mariam Kazadi decided to work together to create the BBLK app. (The pronunciation? Simply “black.”) According to Murphy, who just “wanted to create a space where [black] businesses can be found,” the concept for the app was inspired by witnessing the growing desire nationwide to support black-owned businesses. While there are some similar apps promoting black-owned restaurants (like EatOkra), BBLK is currently the only one paving the way to easier access of black-owned businesses.

Currently, the only business registered in Tallahassee is the FSU Credit Union. This is most likely due to 1) the company starting off in Denver, Colorado; 2) a lack of nationwide exposure; and 3) because the app is still only a few weeks old. The founders are currently anticipating increasing growth over the next few months as well as becoming available on both the Apple Store and the Google Play store for in-phone app purchases.

To download BBLK, the first step is to go to www.bblkapp.com. On this screen, the user should go to the “Click Here to Download” button. The second step is for the user to add the “app”/webpage to the phone’s home page. The third step is to register by the user entering their email as well as accepting the terms and conditions listed. The fourth step is for the user to retrieve a pin from their email and enter it into the BBLK website. The fifth step, according to BBLK, is to simply enjoy!

According to a local black-business owner in BBLK’s hometown Denver, “Black people, in general, are looking for ways on how we can support each other, recognizing that there is a little bit of a handicap when it comes to small business owners in and of themselves but then black small business owners.”

As for what BBLK had to say when reached out to over Instagram is simply that they “fully plan on having a presence in a lot more cities soon.”

If you’d like to follow BBLK on Instagram, click here.

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LaVonne Patoir is a senior at Florida State University, graduating in April 2021. She is passionate about writing about the BIPOC community, trends from the 2000s, and likes reading career or academic tips. When she's not working (or sleeping), she is either watching anime or attempting something she saw on Pinterest.
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