CLEVELAND — Black Girl in the CLE is a media brand that helps Black women find events and community here in Northeast Ohio. Founder Shana Black says the inspiration behind the brand came from her own experience struggling to find things to do around town.
"I had a lot of friends that were hating Cleveland [and saying things like] 'I want to move to Atlanta, I want to do all these things,'" she recalled. "And I was kind of trapped in that 'work, home, raise kids, go back to work' kind of cycle we get stuck in."
Black says that while she may have been stuck in a rut at home, she started to realize that Cleveland was a becoming a popular vacation destination, and decided it was time to explore what her city truly had to offer.
"That's really just kind of how it started," she told us. "'Let's just go some places, tell people about it, and maybe we all just start re-engaging in the city.'"
Black says her team of writers hope other women will see the events they cover and want to join in.
"We try to have people experience it with us in a safe space," she explained. "A lot of experiences we do, we've heard from people [who] say, 'I wanted to try that, but I didn't have someone to try that with,' or 'I've been meaning to go to that place but...' It was 'Well, let's try it together, so that way you can go and feel comfortable.'"
With plenty of new events and annual traditions to mark on the calendar each year, Black says she has a few personal favorites.
"Some favorites that I look forward to are Playhouse Square's Jump Back Ball," she said. "That was another one of those experiences I realized a lot of people don't know about. Solstice at the History Center, and, of course, the Rock Hall induction."
Black covered this year's ceremony held in Cleveland, and says she had such a great time, she's hooked.
"So every time it's in Cleveland, I'm going to go," she declared.
"There's younger folks growing up in this space that still need Black Girl," she said, "and so keeping the voices running and keeping it producing content [is important]."
In recent years, her team has expanded coverage beyond events to topics like politics that impact her readers. Black intentionally looks to hire writers with varied backgrounds and experiences to broaden her reach, and hopes to continue to encourage people to love life here in Northeast Ohio.
"I'm thankful for Black Girl Cleveland," she stated. "It is my gift to Cleveland and it will stay here and grow."