Listen, navigating the world of dating apps is no easy feat. Especially considering just how many of them exist and how long it may take to sift through all the profiles.
But what's exponentially worse than trying to figure out if someone is actually 6'0" like their profile promises? Receiving messages that are totally inappropriate because of your skin color.
And unfortunately, messages filled with racist undertones come at an alarmingly high rate on dating apps, as one Cosmopolitan writer recently wrote: "It's easy for non-Black people, white men especially, to capitalize on exoticism [on dating apps] when they don't have a reason to present the relationship to the public sphere."
She described how non-Black men oftentimes message her lewd remarks about her body or ask if she can "twerk," among other alarming stereotypes. So much ugh.
Fortunately, some dating apps now have features that make weeding out these unsolicited messages more possible than ever, or at least make it easier to suss out user's profiles more in-depth via question prompts and requirements.
So we spoke with seven Black women who advised on their favorite dating app that checks these boxes. Because let's be honest, you should only download an app that’s actually worth taking up storage space on your phone—and nothing else.
“I’d recommend Soul Swipe as the best dating app for Black women. Going on dating apps as a Black woman is like searching for the bare minimum. It’s quite unusual to find the right guy, but thankfully, for me, I did with this app. It’s user’s interface is simple and easy to use, and you can easily find, chat, and meet your soul partner by swiping left and right.” —Catriona J., 24
“Coffee Meets Bagel is the most inclusive dating app I’ve experienced because it lets you choose your dating race reference without making you feel bad for having a preference. As a Black woman, I’ve realized I receive more degrading implications—like one night stands or sexual passes—from men outside my race. But on Coffee Meets Bagel, this platform blocks sketchy messages from coming in, and people cannot message unsolicited, inappropriate messages without both parties ‘Liking’ one another.” —Imani F.
“I’m a big fan of OkCupid right now. They just launched a new feature that lets you put a #BlackLivesMatter badge visibly in your profile, which makes it easier to sort through matches worth my time.” —Michelle A., 29
“I’ve used Black People Meet, Tinder, OkCupid, and an app called Black White. To my surprise, the most inclusive app has been Tinder. There is a new security feature, which makes Tinder feel safer. Plus, I like the ability to share the person’s photo with a friend. There’s also a new option to video chat that I’m looking forward to using soon. I would recommend it to other African American women as a tool for meeting men, but as with any app, they can’t screen for marrieds or jerks.” —LaToya B., 43
“I met my fiancé on Bumble two years ago. Not only did the app allow me to pick and choose who I wanted to reach out to, but I also felt safer on Bumble since they have features that give you the option to verify your profile in order to avoid being catfished. Being a Black woman, you have to stay clear of white men in particular who have fetishes or sexualize Black women and really aren’t interested in seriously dating. But I felt like Bumble was always being used by people who were more serious about dating and I felt like the men—especially white men—that I matched with were genuinely there for relationships and not just sex…which wasn’t always the case on Tinder.” —Amber L., 26
“As a Black woman who uses dating apps, I'd go with Hinge. With Hinge, you’re able to choose the race preference you prefer. Unlike Tinder and Bumble, you have to swipe left and right a lot before you find a Black guy depending on the city you’re located in.” —Krysta M.
“My favorite app is Bumble, as it’s inclusive in the way that its prompts allow me to share more about my Black identity, so people know where I stand and who I am as a Black woman.” —Danielle B., 27
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