Arts & Culture News

The Black Creators of a New Social Media App Want to Get You Off the Couch

A new social media app wants to get you off the phone and out of the house by showing you how "popping" places are around you.
A new social media app wants to get you off the phone and out of the house by showing you how "popping" places are around you. MNPhotoStudios/Getty
A small team of young, ambitious and mostly first-generation African Americans recently set out to solve two constant problems in their lives: trying to find things to do and going to social events that end up being a waste of money. Less than a year after starting the app development process, the team is gearing up for the launch of their new social media app, Videloo, this fall.

Videloo is designed to use social media to bring people together from the digital world into the real world. Their mission is focused on getting people out of their rooms or off the couch and into the restaurants, clubs and venues that bring them together with people from their community.

The idea for Videloo stems from a trip that co-founder Lendle Charles took to Canada. While in Toronto, Charles called Jerry Dimanche, one of four Videloo co-founders, and said he didn’t know what to do or where to go to for a good time. Social media apps weren’t any help. Charles originally wanted to create an app for people to help find quality barbershops with good vibes, but the team landed on the concept of an app to help people connect with what is going on directly around them.

One of the four co-founders, Tanaka Tava, is a student at Baylor University and attended Uplift Preparatory in Dallas while in high school. He said Videloo will change the focus on how livestreaming is used and it will help people navigate their social lives and make it easier for them to find things to do.

“When most people go livestream, it is more focused on them,” Tava says. “We are flipping the camera.”

Videloo's focus is for users to see what’s going on at the venues and spaces around them in real time, instead of having to put all their trust in a really nice flyer on Instagram or a recommendation from someone who was there three weeks ago. In the app, restaurants and bars will have an opportunity to stream their space or venue and other users can tap in and decide if the energy, setting or music is appealing enough for them to head over there.

Some people rely on word of mouth from friends or family for food and nightlife recommendations, but Videloo will be a tool that can be used for you to check out those recommendations before you get there. In the app, users can ask locals to recommend the best hairstylist in town for braids and highlights or to check out if that bar in Deep Ellum is just as popping on Tuesday as it is on Friday.

“When most people go livestream, it is more focused on them ... We are flipping the camera.” – Videloo co-founder Tanaka Tava

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Another in-app feature will allow for users to keep track of their favorite local bands and artists thorugh alerts or notifications for when and where they will be performing. The team hopes to allow in-app ticket purchases as an option in the future.

The Videloo team is full of college and graduate students whose goal was to help their peers, as well as themselves, get a better feel for the liveliness of the city around them. Whether it’s the new student on campus or someone visiting a new city for a work trip, Videloo wants users to feel comfortable and confident as they move through communities.

Tava says Videloo will open up in Austin for beta-testing later this summer and is set to be available in app stores nationwide this fall. Tava says it’s been a humbling and rewarding experience for the young team of mostly first-generation creatives as interested users continue to sign up for the beta testing. The team talks about their journey becoming a script for a movie or a book one day.

“Here we are,” Tava says. “Four first-generation Black executives during this time with a diverse team, centered on leadership and equity. That is special.”

People can sign up for the Videloo beta testing at and check out their Instagram page at @Videloo.
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Malen “Mars” Blackmon has been a contributor to the Observer since 2019. Entrenched in Southern California’s music and culture at an early age, he wrote and recorded music until he realized he wasn’t cut out for the music industry and turned to journalism. He enjoys driving slowly, going to cannabis conventions and thinking he can make sweatpants look good with any outfit.