The answer to #airbnbwhileblack
Earlier this year, it was revealed that black travelers may have been facing racial discrimination from hosts while using the app Airbnb. Now, two startups have emerged offering lodging services for black travelers. Perhaps not surprising, its founders have their own #Airbnbwhileblack experiences. Stefan “StefisDOPE” Grant, co-founder of Noirbnb rented an Airbnb property in Atlanta, Georgia and had neighbors call the cops suspecting a break in. While Grant managed to diffuse the situation with the police, the selfie he took with them went viral. Airbnb stepped in offering free booking offers and flights to Grand and his business partner, Ronnia Cherry but the seed had been planted already.
— AJ+ (@ajplus) June 5, 2016
By then, Grant and Cherry were already considering starting their own service that would be a diversity program similar to Airbnb. Noirbnb’s website launched quietly the first week of June even as there are plans to change its name and have a bigger opening as Innclusive.com. Noirebnb, similar to the first was started by Rohan Gilkes and Zakiyyah Myers who a couple of weeks back shared his #Airbnbwhileblack experience in a detailed post on his Medium blog. Gilkes shared his experience when a host denied his request to stay at the host’s property during a trip to Idaho yet accepted another request from a white user.
Both Noirebnb and Noirebnb use the French word for “black.” They want to offer a solution to the discrimination some travelers face when they are just trying to unwind and have fun. And it’s not just black travelers, these startups are open to other minorities who want to avoid any chance of discrimination during their trips. Such diverse programs are also a way to connect, targeted at global travelers as more and more people of African descent travel the world. It’s also likely that such apps could encouraging black travelers to connect even further with the Caribbean and African countries. Meanwhile, Airbnb is taking more concrete steps towards addressing racism on their platform.
Are you a person of color who enjoys travelling? Will you be open to using services such as Noirebnb and Innclusive over Airbnb? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below or reaching me on Twitter @rafeeeeta