Rohan Gilkes started working on Noirebnb almost three weeks ago when he tried to book a house in Idaho and was denied, but his white friend was approved. Gilkes chronicled the event with a Medium post.
“I felt a responsibility to do something,” said Gilkes, who hopes to launch the service in six weeks.
Entrepreneurs Ronnia Cherry, a 30-year-old marketing professional from Miami, and Stefan Grant, a 27-year-old musician and producer from Washington, D.C., launched Noirbnb after renting a house in Atlanta and the cops were called on them because neighbors thought they were robbing the home.
Yo! The Air B&B we’re staying at is so nice, the neighbors thought we were robbing the place & called the cops! 😂 pic.twitter.com/XUQjuyCXMO
— THE DOPEGOD (@STEFisDOPE) October 9, 2015
“We decided racism and discrimination were still happening so it was pretty much up to us to solve the issue,” Grant said.
So they launched Noirbnb over the weekend.
“The response has been amazing and beyond anything we expected,” Cherry said.
“When I started getting all these emails from people — black people, trans people, gay people — who were all going through the same thing, I felt like I had an obligation to do something” — Rohan Gilkes
But of course the two companies are very similar in names, which will cause a problem soon.
“We haven’t reached an agreement but we are open,” said Cherry.