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Blacktag, New Streaming Service Focused on Black Creators, to Launch in 2021

Fern Siegel

Blacktag, a subscription-based, ad-supported online platform, plans to launch in the second quarter of 2021.

Cofounders Akin Adebowale and Ousman Sahko have already teamed with Issa Rae (“Awkward Black Girl”) and rapper Common to bring their vision to fruition.

“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,” company CEO Adebowale stated.

Adebowale, an artist and software engineer, and Sahko, a commercial film director, are in the business of empowerment.

“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,” he added.

The goal is to debut with around 300 to 500 creators working in fashion, tech and entertainment.

The new service will offer a subscription tier at $5.99/month for originals and a free tier for user-generated and sponsored content. Creators earn revenue in two ways: brand deals and ads sold with content or partnership deals with Blacktag Studio.

The target audience is Gen Z and millennials who prefer more alternative, less conventional programming, an audience Sahko believes is underserved. Blacktag hopes to function as a destination to reach this specific consumer base.

The startup’s $3.75 million in seed money is courtesy of Connect Ventures, the investment group launched by CAA and New Enterprise Associates.

Blacktag follows the launch of the streaming service, BET+, last year. BET+ is jointly operated by Tyler Perry Studios and BET Networks, a division of ViacomCBS. The SVOD launched in September 2019 and offers original films and TV shows from BET’s library. Both Perry and Will Packer agreed to produce original content for the streamer.

BET+ just announced the midseason return of “Tyler Perry’s Ruthless,” premiering Nov. 26. The drama centers on a dangerous sex cult and a woman trying to free herself and her daughter from its clutches.

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