“We understood the impact that this imagery could have on the world,” explains Kissi. “Although there are major discrepancies when it comes to how people visually perceive black people in the United States, we knew that this was a global problem as well, and that there were people all over the world who don’t see imagery that is reflective of their daily lives.”
With this in mind, TONL has taken a distinctive approach to its site, one that allows users to pull from a diverse set of imagery, while also understanding and connecting with some of the faces and cultural experiences portrayed in the stock photos. The site’s official launch is slated for August 21st, but subscribers have been incrementally introduced to different aspects of the site over the past few months.
There are six content categories on TONL: Tone, Trust, Travel, Tradition, Taste, and Today. Users may look to “Tone” for images related to health and wellness; when searching for representations of culture or family, they’d search under “Tradition.”
When signing up for the site subscribers are asked to answer a few questions about their own ethnic background, allowing Okonkwo and Kissi to gauge the demographics of their audience. Okonkwo notes that some may be surprised to learn that already, the second-largest subscriber base is Caucasian, closely following African-American.