The paper bag test lives on in digital form, thanks to a dating app for black people titled Smoochr and, sadly, the creators aren’t the least bit shy or ashamed about their divisive creation.
On its homepage, the app boldly invites users to “Discover Black singles by complexion, hair type, and more,” because it’s not enough that the majority of our community is suffering from self-hate, we need an app encouraging us to indulge in it. And, though of course we know plenty of men and women on the dating scene already discriminate against potential partners using these parameters, there’s a special level of disappointment that comes with the realization that your own people are helping each other remain lost.
As the site states:
“On smoochr, you can connect with singles of many different black belief systems like Rastafarians, Hebrew Israelites, and people who practice African spirituality. Some of us have skin tone preferences, so you can search black singles by complexion. Views lets you answer some serious moral questions that are relative to the black experience. You’re then matched with singles who have similar answers.”
That last sentence should’ve read, “You’re then matched with heterosexual singles” because when you sign up for the app, you’re only allowed to identify yourself as a “woman seeking man” or a “man seeking woman.” So just to quickly recap, in case you decide to stop reading from here on, a black man, Larry Kenebrew, Jr., created a dating app for black people with the most enticing aspect of the site being the ability to choose mates based on skin tone and hair texture that also wholly excludes the LGBT community.
Smoochr also asks users to “describe your lips” which in the scope of this app is about as bad as using skin tone and hair type to choose a mate. And, honestly, if it weren’t for these aspects, the app might actually be a decent offering. See outside of those elements are the typical aspects you’d expect from any dating app, like height, body, weight, and religious beliefs. And the one saving grace comes by way of the Views portion of the questionnaire which asks users’ opinions on things that are truly pertinent to our community like:
1. Who do you identify with more, MLK or Malcolm X?
2. Which is more important, looks, personality or stability?
3. Was integration a good idea?
4. Are you proud of President Obama?
Had Smoochr stopped there, it might’ve been an overnight success. But because no one but Kenebrew is okay with celebrating dating choices based on colorism and hair, we now have movements like #ShutdownSmoochr that aim to stop our fellow brothers and sisters from engaging in acts of self-hate just to find a mate, and rightfully so. While I’d love to be able to automatically discriminate men of the Hotep school of thought, Smoochr seems to ignore the fact that black men and women can be multi-faceted. So instead of being able to identify yourself as God-fearing or spiritual, the site could recognize that none of us fit into one neat box. Yet here we are looking at a site supposedly created for us that only creates more division than it does interdependence. Kenebrew may have thought he hit a gold mind, preying on some black people’s love of all things light and bright, but, thankfully, no one in the black twittersphere appears to be here for it, unless you’re this person who was likely the first person to create a profile.
Black man creates a dating site, and his own people start a campaign called #shutdownsmoochr to have it taken down. Crabs in a barrel.
— ON-DRAY (@Y2Dre) July 25, 2016
The rest of us will be over here
— Eris | RedLipRunner (@eriseady) July 25, 2016
Smoochr: for negroes who want to breed themselves out of existence, but kinda scared what Big Mama might say to white boos #shutdownsmoochr
— HotepHeartbreak (@Seven_Duece) July 25, 2016
Smoochr is another instance of what happens when capitalism and internalized racism meet each other. #shutdownsmoochr
— Hen.D (@thehenman_12) July 25, 2016