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Friday, June 2, 2023

Innovator Creates App Focused on Black People, Culture

National STEM Day, which is on November 8, is the time to encourage students to pursue interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Adam Taylor understands that nurturing youth in STEM can make a major impact in their lives.

Taylor grew up in Connecticut with a growing interest in STEM. His grandfather, Edwin Bradley, loved computers. It rubbed off on his grandson in the nineties. Taylor wanted to build his own computer someday. Taylor, who now resides in Maryland, ultimately built an app called Black that was first released in September of 2017.

 “iPhone users can enjoy the “100% Black owned, designed, and developed” app that “collects the news & stories from the world’s greatest influencers of black culture. With all of your black news in one place, it has never been easier to discover the stories that keep you informed, engaged, and inspired,” per information provided about the app via Apple’s app store.

Langston LLC—Taylor’s his artificial intelligence and software company— builds culturally relevant intelligence and software platforms for the black community. Black is Langston’s first product.

“Our first product, Black, leverages our Langston machine learning, and data mining engine to provide people who identify as black personalized news and stories from a wide range of publishers,” Taylor said.

Taylor regards the news app as “ridiculously smart and unapologetically Black.” The app allows users to  focus on whatever they find interesting without being bombarded by news they do not prefer to consume.

“When you’re on social media, you’re being subjected to people being murdered, over and over again on your timelines, without any concern for people’s mental health,” Taylor said.

The journey with Black kicked off with approximately 12-15 publishers that focus solely on content for people of color. Taylor explained that the Black app is 100% automated in terms of how news shows up in the app. Currently, the target is to add approximately 100 publishers.

 The “moonlighting entrepreneur’s” reasons for creating Black date back to the 2016 presidential election when Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. Taylor found himself enduring an impactful experience.  He described the first day returning to work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts by train as “depressing.” Taylor works as an DevOps engineer within MIT’s central IT organization working within their software development activities.

   Despite the packed train car of approximately 100 people, Taylor said that he felt alone. He was the only person present who was Black. Additionally, Taylor noted that he was the last person who anyone else wanted to sit next to during the train ride.

“We were all dressed for work, so we were all in button downs, and we had on ties and slacks. We all looked good,” Taylor said. “I couldn’t find any other reason why I was the last person to be sat with other than the fact that I’m a Black man and they weren’t with that.”

Taylor embraced his interest in software while deciding how to figure out how to build the app. He brought his vision to fruition with the help of YouTube videos and tutorials. Support from friends helped Taylor to see it through. Nairobi Jeannition was a business confidant.

Black’s evolution is still underway. According to analytics, the ideal people who love the app are Black women who are ages 45-54 with an interest in politics. They are in a major metropolitan area. The secondary age range of people who view the articles is 18 -24.

Taylor’s timely idea provides a connecting piece for connoisseurs of Black culture. Apple has supported Taylor. He was a part of the company’s inaugural entrepreneur camps for Black founders and developers in 2019.

“This is something that I’m not doing for my own personal gain,” Taylor said. “This is something that I just needed to put out into the world because this is really about giving that love back to people of color, to people to black people. And I think that I just want to make us proud.”

Visit https://apps.apple.com/us/app/black/id1282248048 to locate Black.

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