• Tue. Jun 14th, 2022

This former journalist created a search engine to support the experiences of black people

ByVirginia D. Bannon

May 26, 2022

Former journalist Ngozi Ahanotu saw the need to self-fund and create a search engine that amplifies the black experience while making it easier to access.

Ahanotu started hiihat in March 2020 with the help of a black software development company, which she found painfully after sorting through 30 pages on Google. Hihat is the platform where you can search all things black.

With the click of a button, users can browse products, services, locations, news outlets and media platforms “without having to add the terms ‘black-owned’, ‘African-American’ or anything the major search engines need to cut to the chase,” according to the platform site.

“It’s complicated to find everything black, all-in-one”, Ahanotu wrote on his LinkedIn. “I founded hiihat.com to make finding all things Black more helpful, social, and equal. Our community and allies need a simple, trusted way to support Black lives and experiences. Our website is the easiest way to do this.

To date, hiihat has amassed nearly 500,000 search engine-integrated links, including a special feature. A Places tab has been integrated to allow users to locate physical locations and businesses.

One Click Coins program, Black-owned businesses can have “a stake in what the community is looking for and be able to put their business first,” Ahanotu said, according to Afro Tech. The program also makes efforts for HBCU students to succeed in the professional world and connect with black-owned businesses.

The immense growth of the platform requires constant funding. For Ahanotu, the self-funding of his business is worth it, especially for the black community.

“One of the main reasons I’m okay with going this far to do this and spend all this money, because it’s self-funded by me as a freelancer and, and writing, is that I’ve found that having something black-owned or a whole black-owned product line in your life is really liberating,” Ahanotu said.

She continued, “I want people, especially if they’re black, to have the same experience as me because we don’t always get to have those satisfying experiences on a regular basis. That’s what hiihat could do because it’s a bridge to making all those areas of your life run by black-owned businesses while moving the dollar around much faster.