What do people get when they type ‘black girls’ in Google? Most of the results are negative and stereotypical, where people from other countries believe that is how real black girls are in America. That is why it is time to educate girls in getting involved in the community and showing the world who they really are.
Marissa Jennings, a Los Angeles native currently residing in Washington, D.C., created SOCIALgrlz LLC from a college project during her senior year. In 2003, her public relations class was assigned to create a press kit for a business. As a creative individual, Jennings wanted to create a business of her own rather making a kit for a business that already existed. She decided to create a magazine that was focused on the needs of black girls like her. Not only did she get an ‘A’ on her final project, the project remained in her head to the point where she began doing research to find that magazines were dying and technology was growing. To really get SOCIALgrlz LLC started, she worked with her high school mentor and used her education to develop a business plan.
“There aren’t a lot of magazines for young black women,” Jennings said. “As a young girl, I was the only black girl in a few of the clubs I participated in and I always wondered where the girls like me were.”
SOCIALgrlz is an online community where young black girls between the ages of 13 and 17 communicate with one another about hair styles, school and other subjects that interest them. According to Jennings, African American Girls spend about $96 on phones and mobile apps. What surprised her was that most black girls were looking up educational information on their computers and mobile phones.
The goal of SOCIALgrlz LLC is to build self-esteem of black girls and teach them to utilize their talents and skills to move further in life and their future careers. Jennings described SOCIALgrlz LLC as “the big sister” to young girls. They also hold online focus groups, one of them being a discussion on where girls get their best advice. One girl mentioned she got all of her advice from her grandmother. Jennings related to the girl because she got advice from her grandmother, so she created a place called ‘Odessa’s Wisdom,’ named after her grandmother, where senior women were asked to give “pearls of wisdom,” to all of the girls.
“We are currently raising funds to create an app for Android and mobile devices,” said Jennings. “We are partnered with Clearly Innovative to help make our app. We hope to have the app up and running by late fall of this year.”
SOCIALgrlz LLC is for girls of all color, but Jennings is focused on African American girls right now. There are parents, teachers and other businesses very intrigued in this community. A vision goes from being a school project and into a successful and life-changing business where young girls are inspiring others.