3 min read

The History of Black Atlanta

The History of Black Atlanta
The History of Digital Black Atlanta

This is BlackAtlanta.com, a site curated by Brandon Johnson. Things will be up and running here shortly, but you can subscribe in the meantime if you'd like to stay up to date and receive emails when new content is published!

This post is a living and breathing post dedicated to over 20 years in the Black Atlanta internet ecosystem.  Keep checking back!  

What is Black Atlanta? Back to the Basics...

To go back to tradition is the first step forward. African Proverb

Glad you asked.  Let's start with some history lessons.  One must always know where they come from in order to know where they are going... right?  

The concept of "BLACKATLANTA" started with FIRST USE of "BlackLANTA" which was a play on the word "HotLanta".  Everyone marketed HotLanta.  I would always here HotLanta on radio stations such as V-103 back in the late 90's and wonder, "...why not BlackLanta?".  And so BlackLanta was born.  

To me, BlackLanta.com was to be the portal for Black Excellence in Black Atlanta News, Entertainment, Events, Business, and Lifestyles in general.  The purpose was to be able to market and promote Black Atlanta ... period.  We were able to promote and push parties and events on Fridays and Saturdays and THEN market for the Church greats for events on Sundays.  It just made sense.  A  comprehensive portal to cover Black Atlanta.  

Sidenote of Relevance: As someone who loves to tell stories, and is starting to like the study of cultural history, AND as an Internet Marketer ... The gauge of history on the internet lives greatly with a site called Archive.org.  Want to see old websites?  Go there now.  It is so cool to see cnn.com in its infancy.

Without digressing, you can also see our first websites for BlackLanta.com here:  https://web.archive.org/web/20230000000000*/blacklanta.com

The BlackLanta.com Launch... Black Atlanta's First Portal

So as a new Internet Marketer and Web Developer, BlackLanta.com was launched on an .ASP platform back in late 2002.  At that time, there were EIGHT search engines that one had to consider in order to be relevant.  (NOT JUST GOOGLE :-) ).  It took us about 2 months in order to get indexed.  I reached out to event promoters, churches, businesses, and anyone I thought would enjoy FREE postings on BlackLanta.com.  And when no one saw the vision, I'd put their event up on the calendar or make a banner and promote it on the site.  The first 2 months were feverish re-posts of events.  The energy was crazy!  

Again, take a look at the Archive -->  https://web.archive.org/web/20030205085009/http://blacklanta.com/portal/default.asp

You can see a full site, launched before its time with Black Business Directories, Features on Entertainment (Restaurants, Arts, Amusement, Clubs and more), Living (Cooking & Recipes, Faith & Belief), News, and more.  

About Our Company (citation Archive.org posted on 9/13/2002 https://web.archive.org/web/20030205222831/http://blacklanta.com/portal/cat_content.asp?contentid=101&catid=58):  

The notion of BlackLanta.com is simple...to provide a central point of reference for Black Atlanta. With a city of so much stature, and so many cultural events, it is very difficult to capture all that there is to offer. We shall, however, make an honest effort.

What else could you say?  

NBA ALL STAR WEEKEND:  Black Atlanta's First Fruits of Labor

Just two months after starting BlackLanta.com, I received an email.  The website was found on one of the search engines.  The 2003 NBA All Star Weekend was coming to Atlanta February 9, 2003 and I was asked by Akademiks clothing line to attend their clothing line show.  How amazing?!  A Black-0wned clothing line is coming to Atlanta for NBA All Star Weekend and they asked my small website to come be a VIP.  

  1. So we have a major clothing line... Super famous on BET... All in the Department stores ... And they want to give us VIP Tix?  
  2. So now they are asking us for website stats?  A Media Kit?  Pricing for advertising on an ongoing base.  

We were LEARNING ASAP not only being new Web Marketers but also in a space that was very new for EVERYONE online.