A Black dating website has stirred controversy for its reliance on superficial filters for finding a potential suitor. Smoochr has been around at least since Memorial Day weekend, according to their Instagram account, but it wasn’t until Sunday night that it began to pick up steam on Twitter.
Founded by Larry Kenebrew Jr., the official website says users can find Black singles by “complexion, hair type and more.” By joining, individuals can choose their kind of hair type with options like natural hair, locks, weave and “rather not say.” Men can display whether or not they have a beard.
Where all your colorism , hair shaming, and body prejudices come to life.
One smooch at a time. ?" pic.twitter.com/U6VHYuYFnn
— groovy K (@thelionsdilemma) July 25, 2016
Users can choose from a set of skin tones to describe themselves, which include descriptions like caramel, vanilla and pecan.
Smoochr is damn near perfect for you guys with your very specific & entitled demands & preferences. pic.twitter.com/UlrY55RztZ
— Hit Mane (@NateKingSoul) July 25, 2016
Besides skin color, “thick” and “ripped” are other options for physical traits. Users can also filter whether or not they would like to date single parents and how many partners they have children with.
A description of the site criticizes other Black dating sites for not focusing on the Black experience. It explains Smoochr is different by allowing users to connect with potential partners who have different belief systems like Rastafarianism and African spirituality. The “Views” feature lets users answer “moral questions that are relevant to the Black experience.”
— Connichameleon (@connichameleon) July 25, 2016
Black Twitter has voiced disapproval of the website for many of its superficial filters.
@missodessa criticized it for passing judgment on women of color.
The whole premise of #smoochr is to search for people based on all the things as a woman of color you dont want to be judged by.
— wnsday addams (@missodessa) July 25, 2016
Parody account African Dad referenced Rachel Dolezal in its tweet. The Montana native gained notoriety last year for claiming to be trans-racial by going from white to Black.
— African Dad (@AfricanDad) July 25, 2016
One user did not approve of a ‘Hotep’ filter.
Zu’Lah Noni said the filter is reason enough for the site to go for good.
Why is Hotep a legit description on #smoochr? They gotta go.
— Zu'Lah Noni (@artsygalzulah) July 25, 2016
On the site’s Facebook page, the Black community continues to condemn it.
Shawna Sams said anyone who signs up “should be ashamed.”
Ayan Mahdi questioned Smoochr’s “slave complex.”