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Jonathan Kirkland Explains How ‘BLK’ Is Already Amplifying Cuffing Season For Black Singles [Exclusive]

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Jonathan Kirkland Explains How ‘BLK’ Is Already Amplifying Cuffing Season For Black Singles [Exclusive]

Jonathan Kirkland knows how stressful dating can be and he’s offering a swipe left or swipe right solution.

Source: Jeffery Smith Jr.

Kirkland serves as dating app BLK’s Head of Marketing and Brand where he meticulously examines the highs and lows of Black courting and coupledom. Kirkland told BOSSIP that a study from OkCupid found that Black women are the least desired demographic on general market dating apps, and with that, he wants not only Black women but Black daters, in general, to come to an app where they’re celebrated and appreciated in abundance. 

JONATHAN KIRKLAND

Source: Jeffery Smith Jr.

Below this expert dishes on how BLK, the largest dating and lifestyle app for Black singles, is continuously finding ways to create safe spaces to find meaningful connections.

He also gives BOSSIP a play-by-play on the cuffing season calendar as illustrated by Davian Chester.

 

When did BLK start and why was it created?

BLK is a dating app specifically made for Black singles and it launched in August, 2017. Since that date, we’ve had nearly 6 million people download the app. The app was conceived out of the Match Group. So it was incubated under the Match Group which is the same parent company behind Tinder, Hinge, OkCupid, Plenty Of Fish, Black People Meet, and pretty much any dating app you could think of outside of Bumble. They conceived it because they realized that the Black experience in America is different from other people’s experience in America and there really wasn’t a dating app at scale that catered to this community. So they launched it, they incubated it to see how it would do in the market and it took off faster than they even imagined that it would. Like I said, we’re at 6 million downloads and they saw that there was a real need for an app like this in the market and that’s when I was brought into the fold to really lead it as a brand initiative. Prior to me joining, the growth was mainly around paid media; Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Snapchat ads–but when I joined, it really was more of a consumer facing brands, so think partnerships and aligning with the community and the culture more and really going deeper within the Black community and the Black culture than any other dating app can do, or was doing.

What is the BLK experience like? Do you swipe left and swipe right?

From a functionality standpoint, you swipe left, you swipe, right, and you match. So that’s not where our differentiator is, our differentiator is tat we engage with our users. So for example, we talk with our users, we survey our users, we ask them questions because we’re still building the app. There’s a lot more, that’s going to come on the app, but we want to make sure that those features are what our users want. And we also address things that are going on in the community on a deeper level. For example, last summer when I joined April and started leading the marketing effort, the brand effort, I was like, ‘We’re about to do this fun summer campaign,Hot Girl, summer 2.0!’” But then 28 days later, George Floyd was murdered so I decided to pivot that.

I noticed that all these other brands were saying, ‘We’re standing in solidarity with the Black community, we’re standing in solidarity!’ But it’s like, we’re the ones that have been standing for all these years, so we use the platform as a resource, not for others before ourselves. So I was being asked and my friends were being asked by allies about what they can do to help. And at some point, that becomes work on us. So we launched a program called “Educating Allies” and we asked our users, ‘What would you tell your non-Black friends about how can they help?’ We got thousands of responses and we used that as a resource and we pushed that out on our sister properties. Things like that really separate us from other apps because we’re Black 24/7 365. We just go deeper, like with Breonna Taylor we asked our female users ‘As a Black woman, do you feel safe in America?’ Only 3.5% of our users feel safe as a Black woman in America, which is a problem. So having those conversations and diving deeper and changing the narrative in defining our story as Black people is really how we set ourselves apart from other apps.

Let’s break down cuffing season. Where are we on the calendar right now? 

So scouting was in September. Scouting is when you use the apps, do the swiping, have those messages back and forth on the app, and vet out people before you give them the actual phone number.

Scouting---BLK

Source: Davian Chester / BLK

Then we have drafting season. During drafting you weed out the crazies and then the flakers and maybe some catfish. Now you’re texting with real numbers and texting goes to voice than FaceTime then you’re on those phones late night and it’s the whole; ‘You hang up, NO, you hang up!’ type things.

BLK Cuffing Season

Source: Davian Chester / BLK

And then in October it’s tryouts and public dates. You don’t know if you want to take them somewhere that people might see them cause you’re still testing them out.

BLK Cuffing Season

Source: Davian Chester / BLK

And then after that, you move into the pre-season.

So that’s when you narrow it down to maybe one or two and you have those deeper conversations, you talk about family, and the holidays are coming up, all that good stuff.

BLK Cuffing Season

Source: Davian Chester / BLK

And then you move into cuffing season which is December through mid-January. That’s when it’s cold outside, everybody’s in that good spirit with the Christmas music, Mariah Carey’s in the background and you’re gifting. Mind you, not everybody stays on this journey. Sometimes after the holidays gifting that’s when some people might ghost, the shady ones,–but hey, everybody’s on their own journey.

BLK Cuffing Season

Source: Davian Chester / BLK

 

Then you move to the playoffs which is mid-January leading up to Valentine’s day.

BLK Cuffing Season

Source: Davian Chester / BLK

By that point, y’all have gotten to know each other, you know, you might not care about the makeup so much, you go to bed with your bonnet on because the goal is to get to the championship.

We’re saying it’s February 13th because February 13th is actually Black love day. That’s what we celebrate at BLK. V-day, that’s general, but we celebrate Black Love Day which is something some people don’t even know about. So that’s the goal. And as I said, not everybody finishes and that’s okay because even with regular games and seasons like with football and basketball, you’ve gotta have some losers.

BLK Cuffing Season

Source: Davian Chester / BLK

 

Are YOU participating in Cuffing Season? Moreover, are you participating via BLK?

BLK Cuffing Season

Source: Davian Chester / BLK

You can download BLK via the App Store and on Google Play.

Keep up with Jonathan Kirkland on Instagram at @k.i.r.k.l.a.n.d.

JONATHAN KIRKLAND

Source: Jeffery Smith Jr.

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Jeff Goldblum, 69, & Kyle MacLachlan, 62, Look Sexier Than Ever Walking Prada Runway — Photos

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Jeff Goldblum

The veteran actors looked like pros as they stomped the Prada runway in some fierce, high-fashion garb!

Jeff Goldblum and Kyle MacLachlan proved they’ve got the goods to start a new career! The Jurassic Park alum, 68, and the Twin Peaks star, 62, gave all the young models a run for their money as they strutted their stuff on the Prada catwalk in Milan, Italy on Sunday, January 16. Both silver foxes looked like they were pros, with each one stomping down the stretch with impressive self-confidence.

Jeff Goldblum walks the Prada runway in Milan in January 2022. (Luca Bruno/AP/Shutterstock)

Jeff carried himself with poise as he rocked a long black overcoat that featured oversized puffs of fringe around both the sleeves and hemline. He paired the stylish look with a black turtleneck, matching pants and a set of shiny black loafers. Kyle brought up the rear in a sophisticated, dark overcoat with even darker lapels. His ensemble underneath was a bit more casual with what appeared to be a striped turtleneck, a light blue polo shirt and matching, baggy denim pants. He also donned light blue gloves for his catwalk cruise.

Jeff and Kyle weren’t the only Hollywood heavyweights that got a chance to show off their modeling skills. Sex Education’s Asa Butterfield turned heads in a shiny navy suit with a black wool top. And Maze Runner’s Thomas Brodie-Sangster stole the spotlight as he walked down the Prada runway in a chic black pea coat.

Kyle Maclachlan
Kyle Maclachlan walks the Prada runway in Milan in January 2022. (Luca Bruno/AP/Shutterstock)

Meanwhile, Kyle has been busy in Queensland, Australia filming Peacock’s upcoming Joe Exotic TV series, which is based on journalist Robert Moor‘s Wondery podcast Joe Exotic: Tiger King. He will be playing Howard Baskin, the second husband of controversial CEO of Big Cat Rescue, Carole Baskin. Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon has transformed herself to play the role of the wild animal enthusiast.

John Cameron Mitchell will star opposite Kate and Kyle as the convicted felon Joe Exotic himself. Rounding out the cast are Brian Van Holt as John ReinkeNat Wolff as Travis MaldonadoSam Keeley as John FinlayWilliam Fichtne as Rick Kirkham, and Dean Winters as Jeff Lowe. A release date has yet to be confirmed.

 

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‘RHOSLC’ Whitney Rose on Why She Believes Meredith Was Tipped Off About Jen Shah Investigation

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RHOSLC's Whitney Rose Reveals Why She Believes Meredith Was Tipped Off About Jen's Investigation as Jen Shares "Ah-Ha Moment" About Meredith and Mary Cosby

Whitney Rose thinks Meredith Marks was tipped off about the investigation into Jen Shah‘s alleged telemarking scheme — and she believes she knows who the information may have come from.

Following the latest episode of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, which featured Jen getting physical with Lisa Barlow for failing to speak out against Meredith’s supposed slandering of her name, Whitney posed some telling questions as Jen revealed the moment from season two that made her say, “Ah-ha!”

“My biggest question is… if you hire a private investigator, could they stumble across a federal investigation? Because an investigation, by nature, is secretive right? Could that P.I. have uncovered that there was an investigation on Jen? Is it possible that she could have known something was coming for Jen?” Whitney wondered on the January 9 episode of the RHOSLC: After Show.

As RHOSLC fans heard earlier this season, Meredith hired a P.I. to investigate harassing messages that had been sent to her son, Brooks Marks, and later revealed that the P.I. believed there was a good chance that the messages had come from Jen. However, after butting heads in the early episodes of season two, Meredith did her best to get things to a cordial place with Jen.

“Basically, after her apology to Brooks, we were in a very neutral zone, in my view,” Meredith explained. “We’re not friends, we’re not friends. [But] I felt like Jen was in a position where she believed that we were going to move forward from a zero to being friends, and I’m not criticizing her. I understand why she believed that. For me, though, in order to actually move off of that zero, I had to be able to have some level of trust, and I didn’t.”

During another segment of the RHOSLC: After Show, Jen looked back on the chat she had with Heather Gay on Sunday’s episode, noting the scene as the start of her suspicions about Meredith and Mary Cosby and their potential involvement in her arrest.

“This was my ah-ha moment,” Jen revealed. “I did think it was weird when we got the thing that Meredith wasn’t coming [to Vail]. Because it’s your, you’re hosting this event, and she was like, ‘Oh, I’m already here.’”

According to Jen, it didn’t make sense that Meredith didn’t say she would be in Vail when they arrived and instead canceled on their bus trip hours before their departure.

“Then the fact that [Meredith and Mary] did it together and then I kept hearing the things that were said at Vail… It’s making me think more like, ‘This doesn’t make any sense, and how did they know I was at Beauty Lab?’” Jen admitted.

Heather also weighed in on the odd behavior of Meredith and Mary, saying that “all signs are pointing to them knowing something.”

“It was a last-minute decision for us all to be there as a group to leave for the trip. The location to meet for that morning had switched at like 1 am so there was a very very limited group that knew that we were going to, instead of meeting at Mary’s house, we were going to meet at Beauty Lab,” she explained.

RHOSLC Live Viewing – This is also the live viewing thread for tonight’s all-new episode of the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City season two, so feel free to share your thoughts below as the episode airs at 9/8c on Bravo.

Photos Credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo, Instagram/JenShah

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Prince Harry Says He Is Not Safe In U.K. As He Attempts To Pay For Police Security After Being Denied

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Prince Harry

The Duke of Sussex, his wife Meghan Markle and their children have reportedly been ‘subjected to well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats.’

Prince Harry is trying to protect his family. The 38-year-old Duke of Sussex has said he does not feel safe in his U.K. homeland and has threatened legal action if his family doesn’t get the security they need while travelling there, per Page Six. The young royal even claimed he attempted to pay for more guards — but was denied.

Prince Harry visits Abbey Road Studios in February 2020. (Shutterstock)

“The Duke first offered to pay personally for UK police protection for himself and his family in January of 2020 at Sandringham. That offer was dismissed. He remains willing to cover the cost of security, as not to impose on the British taxpayer,” read a statement obtained by the outlet “The UK will always be Prince Harry’s home and a country he wants his wife and children to be safe in. With the lack of police protection, comes too great a personal risk.”

Harry’s law team said he, his wife Meghan Markle, their two-year-old son Archie Harrison, and 6-month-old daughter Lilibet Diana have been “subjected to well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats,” according to the statement. Back in September, the lawyers gave notice to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court that Harry will seek a judicial review if the family does not receive the proper security protocols, per Page Six sources. Prince Harry’s security “was compromised due to the absence of police protection” during his last visit to the UK, his lawyers added.

Meanwhile, the family is getting used to their new life in California, since they up and left their royal duties back in England. Showing how happily they are settling in, Harry and Meghan sent out Christmas cards over the holidays with a photograph of the entire family. The gesture marked the family’s first public photo of their little girl Lilibet! In the photo, the clan is all smiles, as Meghan is seen lifting Lilibet up in the air, while papa Harry holds on tightly to his adorable young son. The card featured a simple message of “Happy Holidays.”

 

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