These Black-owned startups look to provide travel alternatives and combat racism.
Starting a travel service wasn’t necessarily on Rohan Gilkes radar, but after a less than welcoming experience with Airbnb; he decided something needed to be done. After booking a place to stay in Idaho, Rohan, was notified that the location was no longer available so the reservation was cancelled. Sensing that something wasn’t quite right, he had his friend who happened to be white book the same room with no complications. That was the spark that created Noirebnb (now Innclusive) and the twitter hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack gained steam. Gilkes is an entrepreneur so he knew that filing a mere complaint wasn’t going to solve anything. He knew that racism/white supremacy understood the language of money. Why not hit them where it hurts, in the pockets? His purpose in creating the Innclusive platform is to become a service that makes inclusion and diversity integral parts of its business model. Gilkes and his team said they plan to launch Innclusive in the next six to eight weeks.
Ronnia Cherry and Stefan Grant ran into an issue when they had booked a house in Atlanta,Ga. in October of last year.
“The next day the neighbors called the police because they thought we were robbing the house,” said Grant. “The cops showed up with guns drawn. Luckily we were able to deescalate the situation.”
Airbnb reached out to the pair after spotting a selfie they had taken with the responding officers to offer free bookings on the service. However, Grant explains, that wasn’t going to solve the problem. They wanted to make sure that never happened again so they created noirbnb.com as a solution. So far, the response has been incredible. This site will be launching soon as well.
Innclusive and Noirbnb tackles #AirbnbWhileBlack head on. In doing as such, Innclusive and Noirbnb teaches the power of taking ownership of a problem and creating a profitable solution out of it. Could we boycott Airbnb? Yes…….and we should. However, we need to have our alternatives in place so our dollars are staying within the community. Marching and boycotting alone will not get it done anymore. Innclusive and Noirbnb are great responses when dealing with a marketplace that will not treat us fairly.