Match Group’s BLK celebrates Black love in first brand campaign

The dating app reclaims the phrase ‘Once you go Black, you don’t go back.’ By Mariah Cooper

Match Group’s BLK, the largest dating app for Black singles, is tearing down stereotypes and celebrating Black love. 

The app’s first brand marketing campaign, “Once You Go BLK,” was created to transform the phrase “Once you go Black, you never go back,” into a positive affirmation.

“The phrase is derogatory and devalues the Black relationship,” Jonathan Kirkland, head of marketing and brand for BLK, told Campaign US. “We wanted to reclaim and reframe what it means and the mindset about being part of the Black community.”

“Once You Go BLK” follows the journey of single Black millennials and Generation Z, and their outlook on relationships. The phrase “Once you Black” ends with positive messages like, “Intimacy happens,” “joy flows” or “our communities thrive.”

The campaign also rallies Black business owners and creatives behind the camera, including T&J Hair Designs for hair styling, honeybeebeats for makeup, a Paola Mathè headscarf design and Darian Younce as the set stylist..

'Once You Go BLK' embraces the culture of the Black community, while also shedding light on important topics, from state violence to supporting Black-owned businesses, Kirkland said. “Our ambition is to foster more solidarity on a cultural level with our users while taking the power away from an ugly adage used against us.”

“Once You Go BLK” rolled out on Instagram and will include influencer marketing, corporate partnerships and video testimonials from BLK users throughout 2021.

The campaign follows the company’s #BLKVoices initiative, launched during the Black Lives Matter protests in June as a space for users to express their views on social and cultural topics. 

BLK launched in August 2017 and has since reached four million downloads, growing its user base 23% from September to October alone during the pandemic. 

The app is focused solely on the Black community, setting it apart from other general dating apps like Tinder or OKCupid. 

“Black people are the focus for Black history, but we're Black 100% of the time,” Kirkland said. “We’re going to be dating at the core, but we also need to go deeper, and address those things that are happening socially in a timely manner to support the community.”

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