Illustration: Davide Barco for LEVEL

Black Users Made Clubhouse a Phenomenon — How Will the App Treat Them in Return?

The voice-chat social platform skyrocketed in popularity last fall, largely due to an influx of Black users. But we’ve heard this song before.

Keith Nelson Jr
LEVEL
Published in
16 min readMar 10, 2021

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It was the night of December 8, and a group of Black users on Clubhouse were threatening a boycott.

Meezy, 21 Savage’s manager, had created a room on the voice-chat app expressly for that purpose; from its virtual “stage,” he proclaimed in his vehement rasp that he was willing to delete Clubhouse from his phone if the company didn’t act on his demand within 24 hours. Dozens of voices spoke up, pledging to follow his lead. Even legendary DJ Clue voiced his commitment to the cause, despite being in the middle of his radio show on New York’s Power 105.1. Voices crashed over one another. Emotions were running high.

Days earlier, producer Cardo Got Wings — best known for his work on the Drake song “God’s Plan” — had found his Clubhouse account suspended without warning. That suspension led Meezy to create the room, but it was also a symptom of something much larger. What the congregation really wanted Clubhouse to understand was the power and influence Black users had already generated on the platform.

Cardo was the person who got Drake to create a Clubhouse account, someone pointed out. “People got deals off Cardo’s shit,” another said, referring to the producer’s Beat Battle room where 21 Savage, Wiz Khalifa, and Drake himself judged work from up-and-coming producers. Then a third voice cut through the noise, articulating a sentiment no one had uttered but everyone felt: “This app don’t care about us and what we’re trying to build.”

Black people weren’t just happy to be on Clubhouse — they knew it wouldn’t be as popular if they weren’t. They wanted the company to acknowledge it. They wanted to be heard.

In May 2020, Clubhouse was a Silicon Valley surprise with roughly 1,500 users and a $100 million valuation; its digital hallways and conference rooms were full of venture capitalists and tech…

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Keith Nelson Jr
LEVEL
Writer for

Writer by fate, journalist by passion. Bylines at: REVOLT, Grammys.com, Discogs, Vibe Magazine, Okayplayer, REVERB, LEVEL Mag https://linktr.ee/KeithNelsonJr