Why The Pro-Colorism Smoochr Dating Site Is Actually A Great Thing, Explained » VSB

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Why The Pro-Colorism Smoochr Dating Site Is Actually A Great Thing, Explained

What is Smoochr?

Before yesterday, I would have guessed it was one of the aliases Ted Cruz uses when he trolls Craigslist to respond to Missed Connections. Now, however, I know it’s the name of a dating site targeted towards Black people.

Ok. I guess the world can use more dating sites. Although it seems like there are more dating sites and apps now than actual people actually dating. But why is it in the news today? What makes Smoochr special?

Smoochr is special because it allows you to distinguish between, vet, and choose potential dates based on complexion and hair texture. For instance, if you’re specifically into “thick redbones with good hair” — so much so that you feel the need to filter everyone else out — and you weren’t invited to a Knowles family gathering, Smoochr is the site for you.

Basically, if Tariq Nasheed had a baby with Stacey Dash, and that baby was wrapped in old KING Magazine centerfolds instead of a blanket when it was brought home, Smoochr would be that baby.

How has the reception been?

Exactly how you’d anticipate it being. Blavity’s Tyler Young called it a digital paper bag test. At The Root, Yesha “Call Me Eye-esha” Callahan questioned if we were being trolled and also referenced tech developer Elen Awalom’s #shutdownsmoochr campaign.

The pushback exists for reasons obvious to anyone with any awareness of colorism in a historical context and its still resonate and panoramic impact on Black America. Rosa Parks didn’t free the slaves so colorstruck millennials could treat relationships like they’re ordering Raspberry Vanilla Fanta from a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine.

Yeah, lemme take a large popcorn with extra butter, a pretzel with cheese, and one caramel latte complected Delta with half a freckle on each dimple, Angela Nissel’s hair from the cover of Mixed, and Rachel Dolezal’s disposition. To go, please.”

How do you personally feel about Smoochr?

Oh, I think it’s a great thing and I hope it does well.


You didn’t understand what I said?

I understood perfectly. I’m just in disbelief. You are aware of the colorism issues you referenced like 50 words ago, right?

I am.

And how a dating site like this uses that history and that context and the latent insecurities and self-loathings cultivated by that history and that context to exacerbate those issues and make a profit from them?

Yes. Yes I am.

So how can you possibly believe that it existing is a good thing?

Playing pick-up basketball is still one of my favorite things to do. Particularly when playing with a group of guys who know how to play. Because playing basketball with guys who don’t know how to play is one of my least favorite things to do.

And while I enjoy playing with guys whose games I already know, I do also occasionally seek out pick-up games at new courts and gyms with guys unfamiliar to me. And while this has some benefits, a draw back is not knowing who can and can’t play before the game starts.

So I use clues to help me make a pre-judgement. Basically, I profile.

And one of the best indicators of how good a random pick-up basketball player actually is how they’re dressed. If he’s dressed like a mannequin at Dick’s Sporting Goods — an NBA game jersey with matching headbands, wristbands, socks, and shoes — he probably sucks. If he’s playing with no shirt, like he’s Morris Chestnut or Taye Diggs in a late 90s Black movie, he probably sucks. And if the shoes he’s wearing are not basketball-appropriate shoes, he probably sucks. And he might actually shank you if you foul him.

Ok…how does any of this connect to Smoochr?

When driving up to a new court, I can take one look at the people playing and decide whether they’re worth my time. Which gives me more time to leave and find a better group of guys to play with. And allows the dudes who suck to keep sucking together. And I can do this without ever actually seeing them play. Smoochr can do the same thing to Black dating culture.

Instead of allowing all the people wish to treat their dating lives like a deleted scene from The Imitation of Life to spread out, Smoochr can curate and collect them all in one place. Because, let’s face it. The only people who’d sign up for something like this are…the type of people who’d sign up for something like this. This isn’t going to “divide” Black people any more than a piece of ham divides two slices of bread. It’ll just gather all the Black people already interested in that type of division.

Also, to be honest, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with distilling your dating preferences down to such superficial specifics. I wouldn’t do it, but if that’s what they want, fine! And now they can have their own cookouts instead of coming to mine!

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Sahel

    All the team light skin,dark skin will stop fighting,make a choice and make love.

  • miss t-lee

    I saw folks talking about this last night, but I didn’t care enough to investigate.
    The name of it is terrible, I don’t think I could take them seriously based off of that, and then reading more into their service, it’s rather eyeroll worthy.
    It sounds real build a bear-ish.

    • No…. the name of this is terrible.
      The fact that there’s an actual effing billboard for it in my general neighborhood is worse…

      • miss t-lee

        It’s equally terrible.
        However, smoochr is hideous.

    • RhetoricalReverie

      This may just be their ploy to get the name out there. If it weren’t for this backlash, this site would surely have died a quick unacknowledged death.

      • miss t-lee

        Hmmmm. Good point.
        I guess all publicity is good publicity, eh?

  • BS

  • so…this is a thing. OK then. I don’t think it’s great at all…but it’s NOT like colorstruck people don’t exist…so I guess this is just gonna happen.

  • HouseOfBonnets

    And y’all called me jaded for opting to go the single, fly, well traveled aunt route at 25……..

    • kingpinenut

      You always been on target Bonny.

      Enjoy the tear flavored tea ;)

    • miss t-lee

      25? girl…don’t throw in the towel so soon…lol

      • HouseOfBonnets

        It’s horrid in these streets…..the patience is gone My prospects are just ugh lol

        • miss t-lee

          I’m in these streets just the same.
          Chin up, grasshopper.

      • LMNOP

        What’s a good age to throw the towel in?

        • Medium Meech

          Is it really ever a good idea to throw in the towel? Just taking an honest look at your expectations and approach is probably the best move whenever you aren’t getting the results you want. Or if worst comes to worst just move closer to Meech to at least be geographically closer to happiness.

        • miss t-lee

          I’d go with 6 feet deep.

          • Mochasister

            Thank you. I’m older than you young ladies and I still have hope.

            • miss t-lee

              Stick with it!

    • this is my FAVE Joseline gif!!

    • occupiesthethrone

      I’m 29 and right there with you!


    • Chile boo… TOO YOUNG to throw in the towel, just lay low.
      TRUST, 6 mos till im 35 its tough in these streets. But, I am hopeless romantic – I love, LOVE.

      • HouseOfBonnets

        I’m trying but my pool is filled with a combination of August alsina, Chris Brown, and Lil Wayne (in his prime) in various skin tones. That or nerdish guys that seem to want a girl that looks like she came out of DOA.

      • Mochasister

        You don’t look thirty-five sis! Thank God for melanin!

        • #BlackDontCrack

          • Mochasister

            It sure don’t. Black looks good on you!

    • bear_in_nola

      Agreed. The last thing I want is to look back wondering why I wasted time waiting for people to change. Too much to see and do in this world!

    • Minx


  • RaeNBow

    Damon out here trollin us LOL

  • Val

    Lol @ Damon taking the contrarian pov. That site is garbage. Is it even Black owned? And, even if someone wants to use complexion as a point of reference that’s what pics are for, right? So, what is really the point of this?

    • Brandon Allen

      All in all the site just doesn’t look that good.

  • Vanity in Peril

    I got nothing.

    • miss t-lee

      This gif though…lol!

    • lkeke35

      I’m always here for Dean face gifs!

  • RhetoricalReverie

    I really want to say something, but I don’t think I can care enough to form an opinion.

  • cedriclathan

    “And now they can have their own cookouts instead of coming to mine!”

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