Former journalist Ngozi Ahanotu saw a need to self-fund and build a search engine that amplifies the Black experience while also making it easier to access.
Ahanotu launched hiihat in March 202 with the help of a Black software developer company, which she tediously found after sorting through 30 pages on Google. Hiihat is the platform where you can search all things Black.
In one click, users can browse products, services, places, news outlets, and media platforms “without having to add the terms’ Black-owned’, ‘African-American’ or whatever else major search engines need to get to the point,” according to the platform’s website.
“It’s a hassle to find all things Black, all-in-one place,” Ahanotu wrote on her LinkedIn. “I founded hiihat.com to make the search for all things Black more useful, social, and equal. Our community and allies need a trusted, straightforward way to support Black life and experience. Our website is the easiest way to do it.”
To date, hiihat has amassed nearly 500,000 links built into the search engine, including a special feature. A Places tab has been incorporated for users to locate brick-and-mortar locations and businesses.
Through a Click Coins program, Black-owned businesses can have a “stake in what the community is searching for and being able to put their business at the forefront,” Ahanotu said, as per Afro Tech. The program is also making efforts for HBCU students to succeed in the professional world and connect with Black-owned businesses.
The platform’s immense growth needs consistent funding. For Ahanotu, self-funding her business is well worth it, especially for the Black community.
“One of the main reasons I’m OK with having gone this far to do this and spend all this money, because it’s self-funded from me freelancing and, and writing, is I have found that having something Black-owned or a whole line of Black-owned products in your life is really freeing,” Ahanotu said.
She continued, “I want people, especially if they’re Black, to have the same experience I had because we don’t always get to have those satisfying experiences on a regular basis. That’s what hiihat could do because it is a bridge to make all those areas of your life led by Black-owned businesses while circulating the dollar a lot faster.”