A Racist Incident Led This Black Man To Launch Noirbnb


A Racist Incident Led This Black Man To Launch Noirbnb

A Racist Incident Led This Black Man To Launch Noirbnb
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Stefan Grant | Founder, Noirbnb

Black travelers could probably tell you about that time when.

That time when you were mistaken as a celebrity. Or that time when people rushed to take a picture like you’re a prop, touch your skin and hair without your permission because they’ve never seen a person of color.

There are times when people nearly fall over with their blatant stares. Or that time when you were delayed or even refused service in a country because of the color of your skin.

For Stefan Grant, he would tell you about the time when neighbors from an Airbnb he was renting in Atlanta called the police on him and his housemates.

“One of the homies came and woke me up, and I’m thinking he wants to ask me about breakfast or something, but he tells me, ‘the cops are here,’” said Grant to Travel Noire. “I go outside and see these two police officers with their guns drawn, and they’re aiming them at us.  They were trying to figure out what we’re doing there.”

This happened in 2015 – one year after police officers killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Grant says he was struggling with that, but his whole mindset was deescalating the situation. He and his housemates had to prove to the cops they were occupying the house legally.

Grant posted the situation on his social media with the caption: “Yo! The Airbnb we’re staying at is so nice, the neighbors thought we were robbing the place & called the cops!”

His next post on Twitter was from an audacious neighbor.

“After that happened, one of the neighbors knocked on the door asking what we were doing there, and he tries to walk in the house,” Grant added.

The posts went viral, and soon after, Grant started getting messages from people around the world sharing their similar experiences of discrimination while using Airbnb or other platforms.

“People were saying how they would try to rent a spot but get denied so, would have to change their profile photo to a white person to get approved. I heard stories about how people would book a place, show up, and when the host saw they were Black, would close the door on guests,” he stated.

These stories made him realize there was a problem needing solving.

Launching Noirbnb

Following the incident in Atlanta, Grant said he first pitched his idea of Noirbnb to Airbnb.

“I remember telling the people at Airbnb that there is clearly a racism issue and at the same time there’s a booming Black travel movement, so let’s do something about it.”

Airbnb flew him to San Francisco, where he met with the team to talk about his concept of building the Black travel community through renting and experiences.  

Grant said nothing took off after the discussion with Airbnb, so he decided to do it himself after a Harvard study was released explaining how Black hosts also have challenges with using Airbnb – not just guests. The study explained that Black hosts made 12 to 15% less than White hosts.

“Noirbnb is two-faceted. The first side of it is home-sharing for someone who wants to become a host, and then there are the guests. Guests can go on the site, type how many they are staying with, and our platform will return the results from our database,” said Torrence Reed, the chief technology officer. 

Torrence Reed | Chief Technology Officer, Noirbnb

Reed added the newest feature on the home-sharing platform is Noirbnb Concierge, providing guests with a “personal assistant experience”  where the platform serves as your travel agent and city guide to help find the perfect place to stay, the coolest things to see, as well we curating an overall dope travel experience.

The platform has more than 1,000 hosts and are currently looking for more.

As for what’s next for the Noirbnb team, they are looking into venture capital opportunities to expand their services.

Article source: from Travel Noire https://travelnoire.com/cafe-lola-nevadas-instagrammable-restaurant-black-owned

American in France but might as well be a refugee. Renting for this solo traveller is not easy.

Annecy, France, solo traveling

I thought it would be very easy to get an apartment in Annecy, France but although I show I have the money for rent to pay for the year I don’t have a contract with a company in France so real estate agencies won’t rent an apartment to me for a year. So I’ve been bouncing from hotel to hotel. I even caught myself going back on Airbnb to look for a place. After having a Airbnb horror story 2 years ago (I wrote about it in this blog) I promised never to use Airbnb again). But here I am…

On Airbnb home owners can declined your request to rent for any reason and there’s not a lot of rules for the home owner. I had a owner cancel my trip a day before it was scheduled because she changed her mind about having my dog in her place. One Airbnb that I stayed at had camera’s in the living room and I had to ask what it was, in order for them to turn the cameras around. The owners stopped by at any moment. But on Airbnb the home owner can decline your request for unknown reasons like your race, your dog or your negative past reviews that are lasting.

One home owner recently said her studio was booked suddenly after we were going back and forth about pricing And on her last message to me she put her work title in her signature randomly. She listed herself as an executive manager of some fancy hotel. Then the next day she asked if I wanted to have lunch with her. I am not going to pass an interview for housing, sorry. Not for a small studio maybe for a penthouse on the top of the Eiffel Tower. Of course there are no penthouses on top of the Eiffel Tower (yet) but wouldn’t that be great.

So much of this is racial I feel it would be a lot easier if my Airbnb profile picture was a Jennifer Lawrence look alike. I’m drifting into table talk and experiencing a little disappointment.

I checked out a French website similar to Craigslist to see if I could rent an apartment through the website however it’s filled with the same problems Craigslist has, scams. The website is called Le Bon Coin. It’s great for some thing’s I’m sure just hasn’t worked for me.

I’ve had help from a lot of people but still have yet to find a suitable place to live. I take French classes 3 hours a day here in Annecy. About 99% of the students are all refugees in my classes. They’re from all over the world. They are allowed to take classes for free but Americans have to pay for class but I understand this and I’m okay with paying. The fellow students hold me at a high regard as soon as they know I’m American. One student even saluted me. He said America is the top. It’s so funny because I don’t think I’m any better off then they are here in France. I don’t want to be insensitive In the least. However, The real estate agencies won’t take my money because I don’t have a contract here in France nor can I work in France with my visitor Visa. I asked some of my refugee friends after class what do they do for housing. Some are staying in a hotel with other refugees or an apartment by themselves that is rented out through a friend. But for me it’s just me and my dog and my weak American dollars against the Euro. What is a girl to do! I think it might be time to throw in the towel. The rules in France don’t make sense to me.

The irony is I find people houses for a living and now I can’t find a home. I thought I might have some good housing karma stored up in heaven somewhere but I’m not sure now. There’s so many people reading this that are probably so happy that my year travels to France have not worked out as planned two months in ( probably ex boyfriends family members, ex co workers, past friends strangers and then on the other side supporters that are disappointed in me as they look to me for inspiration. I’m all out of inspiration for the latter group but I hope to have a serendipitous turn to this living “situation” very soon. That’s all I have for today.