During Black History Month, the parent company of Snapchat is furthering its commitment to creators of color. Snap‘s February initiatives include a raft of Spotlight Challenges themed around the Black experience, a new batch of Lenses, and a new class of participants for the 523 accelerator program.
The Black History Month Spotlight Challenges will tackle subjects like #BlackExcellence, #LifeAtMyHBCU, #BlackOwnedBusiness, and #BlackHistoryMonthFacts. The total prize pool for these contests will add up to $40,000.
Snap has used major holidays and observances to expand its short-form Challenges. In February, the Black History Month prompts will be accompanied by others related to Valentine’s Day. You can see a full list of ongoing Challenges via the Snapchat app.
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Lenses, like Spotlight Challenges, are integral to Snap’s strategy in 2023. The AR filters will be expanded with a Lens Collection themed around Black History Month. Issues touched by the Lenses will include untold stories, the historical record, and the Black diaspora.
“Today, Snapchatters can express themselves with a collection of augmented reality Lenses created by Black AR creators like Enoch, Masharzi McCann, Kathryn Hicks, and more,” reads a post on the Snap Newsroom. “On February 15, Snapchatters will be able to explore a new collection of Black History Month Lenses created by a group of seven Black AR creators.”
Snap is also supporting Black talent through more direct means. The 523 accelerator, which takes its name from Snap’s original address, was established in 2021 to provide support to creators of color. 523 bolstered small businesses from underrepresented communities in 2022, and it has now returned to lift up more Black-owned enterprises.
Operations like 1801 Productions (led by John-Jonne Smith, pictured above) will receive funding, resources, and personalized support from Snap’s accelerator. I’m pleased to see the one and only General Ocky among the list of 523 participants. Don’t forget the beverage!
As Snap provides support for Black creators on the basic version of its app, it is also seeing strong results on its year-old paid service. At the end of January, Snap announced that the Snapchat+ now has two million subscribers.