You May Just Find Your BAE with BAE
By Leah Gillis
Love is a mystery and a many splendoredthing, and if you haven’t yet found it you are looking for it (don’t play!) The new Africa Channel series Before 30 highlights a group of young Nigerian women looking for love in modern times, and with online dating growing, it’s a way many black people are looking for love.
Some keep their search for love on the traditional track, with family and friends helping to find their lifelong mate. But for most people it’s going out and living that brings an encounter that leads to love. And when you want to speed the process up and make it happen faster, there are dating apps. Lots of them. The top dating sites for the black community are the top dating sites overall, however one app aims to change that and it’s totally BAE. Literally, it’s called BAE.
While there are black focused dating sites, let’s be honest, they tend to look like a bad stereotype of black culture, down to them looking like a poorly produced 1990’s R&B video or a stock picture of black love and who wants to throw their hat into that ring? Which is why most of the top dating sites are the top sites for blacks. It’s a numbers game, even if the numbers aren’t particularly strong for the community.
BAE, created by brothers Brian and Justin Gerrard and their friend Jordan Kunzika, a first generation Angolan American, is out to change the black dating app game. As it says in description, it’s for the African diaspora to meet. As Brian told The Daily Dot, Apps like Tinder “weren’t created with us in mind.”
They came up with the idea while chatting with friends about their online dating experiences. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.
And if BAE’s stats are an indicator, they are off to a solid start.
With their April 2015 launch at Howard University, they had over 17,000 downloads in the first month. That’s better than early Tinder.
The site has a similar feature to Tinder, where both people need to opt in for a connection, and these guys hope that creating a large pool of African-Americans will help create solid matches.
They launched the app in a time when a recent study showed that African American women fare worst on dating sites.
“We interviewed some women, for example, who were on these mass market sites,” says Brian, “And they were getting harassed on the sites to some degree, overly-sexualized by guys on there. Most of the times these guys weren’t Black.”
According to the OkCupid study, “Black women reply the most, yet get by far the fewest replies. Essentially every race- including other blacks- singles them out for the cold shoulder.”
Don’t get it twisted, it’s also challenging for black men on large dating sites, as preferences and a smaller pool make finding a quality match more difficult. But founders make it clear that BAE is not about shutting people out, in fact 20% of users are not black.
The title of The Daily Dot article reads, “Are niche dating apps really the answer to online discrimination?” And while it is a valid discussion, for those wanting to find love it’s moot. People just want to find an app where you can have more people swipe right and give you the chance at love. Which is what these guys are creating.
Because if your Aunt’s neighbor’s kid isn’t your soul mate, it’s nice to know there are options out there to help find your love.