The Black Agenda September 21, 2021 at 02:00 pm

How racism pushed this Jamaican man to start Noirbnb, the Airbnb for Black travelers

Abu Mubarik September 21, 2021 at 02:00 pm

September 21, 2021 at 02:00 pm | The Black Agenda

Stefan Grant is the Founder and CEO of Noirbnb. Photo credit: jamaicans.com

Stefan Grant is a Jamaican entrepreneur, businessman, and founder of Noirbnb. He founded the vacation and short-term rental company in 2016 after experiencing discrimination and racism while using Airbnb. While praising Airbnb’s model, Grant says the platform does not prioritize the safety and dignity of all users.

Before creating his company, he noted that Black users, on the guest and host sides of the Airbnb platform, are usually not prioritized. He, therefore, decided to create a similar service for people of African descent and develop a community of Black travelers and property owners to ensure that they are not discriminated against.

Grant recalls a time the police were called on him and his housemates from an Airbnb neighbor he was renting from in Atlanta. The incident reportedly happened in 2015, one year after Michael Brown was killed by the police in Ferguson.

Grant shared the incident on social media and instantly went viral with many sharing the experience. It was at this point that Grant realized that there was a problem that needed fixing. This led him to create Noirbnb to rival Airbnb.

“Noirbnb provides safe, comfortable accommodations and fun, exciting experiences for Black travelers and people of color while helping our Hosts make more money and connect with great people. We also help travelers remove the struggle and stress of trip-planning via our Concierge Service. Noirbnb officially launched in 2016,” Grant tells jamaicans.com.

Grant currently resides in South Florida with his wife. Before launching Noirbnb, Grant was an MC, producer, photographer, and founder of independent record label DOPE SINCE ’88.

Grant describes himself as the product of tourism. His parents met while working in the tourism sector in Jamaica. He was partially raised in Montego Bay and St. Elizabeth in Jamaica. The entrepreneur has a background in media and marketing, which led him to start his own record label, creative agency, and event planning firm. 

Starting Noirbnb did not come easy for Grant. When he first imagined the idea, he discussed it with Airbnb. According to him, he told Airbnb that they have a racism problem that needed fixing since there is a booming Black travel movement.

However, nothing substantial came out of his meeting with the team at Airbnb and so he went solo and launched Noirbnb. Grant tells the jamaicans.com that he had challenges raising capital to start his business, although he concedes is a general problem Black entrepreneurs face.

“It has most certainly not been a smooth road. From co-founders stealing money and shady team members to developmental struggles, it has been a roller coaster, but we’ve made it through everything,” he tells VoyageMIA.

Conversations

Must Read