Have the popular dating apps failed you? Are there not enough Black singles to choose from? Are you ready to be more proactive about your dating life? Then you need to check out Slide With Intention, a dating site for Black people designed to match people beyond just a profile picture.
Created by Genese Jamilah, the woman behind I Don’t Do Clubs and Must Love Beards, Slide With Intention connects users via Instagram based on their “lifestyle choices and their physical preferences for romantic interactions.”
This site allows users to take a questionnaire regarding your dating preferences, that way you’re not matched with someone who is just looking for a hookup when you’re more marriage-minded. We spoke to Genese Jamilah, founder of Slide With Intention, about her creation. See what she had to say.
MadameNoire: How did you come up with the idea for Slide With Intention?
Genese Jamilah: About 5 years ago, I was at an event in New Jersey and at the end of it, this guy comes up to me and says, ‘Put me on your Instagram. I’m looking for a wife.’ I was like, What?! I had had a few drinks and I was like, ‘You know what, I will.’ I put him on my Instagram (I Don’t Do Clubs). His name, location, age and I asked women to slide in his DMs if they were interested. The next day, when I was no longer drunk I thought, ‘What was that about?’ But I thought, I’ll do this every so often when I have time to post people. I’ve been doing it for 5 years.
Fast forward to May, I walk into a male friend of mine who is recently divorced and he wants to know how he can get back out there. I told him, we do Slide in the DMs regularly why don’t you try that? And he said, ‘I need more information.’ Also, he said he didn’t know if he wanted to be on front street on the I Don’t Do Clubs’ page. He’d rather do it privately. So I created Slide With Intention from there.
I conducted focus groups with men and women—but mostly my male friends and asked what are you looking for. Because it’s never hard to get women to sign up to do these things. It’s always hard for men that’s why I focus on what it takes for men to join.
I did the first round of Slide With Intention in May. Definitely overwhelmed. I had a Google form and site form. Within a few hours, 320 women applied. And I was hand matching them. I thought this isn’t going to work. That’s why I created a website that does it automatically.
MadameNoire: What type of questions do people answer to get matched?
Genese: Primarily preferences. Where would you like to date, preferred age range, education level, spirituality, religion, body type—because let’s be real those things matter. I ask where you want to date because if you live in New York, do you really want to date someone in California? I want to make sure people are serious with what they select and being intentional because I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. You will pop up in someone’s matches and they’re going to think you’re serious.
MadameNoire: What is the difference between dating with intention and just being out here?
Genese: I think for starters, there are different levels of intention. And that’s reflected in the questions. The first question is: “Are you looking for conversation, dating or sex mostly?” Let’s just put it out there. It’s not bad if you just want sex or just want conversation. It’s what you want and we want to pair you with someone who wants the same thing so no one’s time is wasted. That’s a lot of what I experienced when I was dating. It’s like ‘What’s the end goal here?’ Because if you’re not trying to do what I’m trying to do, let’s not waste each other’s time. So intention is not dating someone because they’re cute or they meet your height requirement. It’s about what else do they have going on in their life that will match with yours.
MadameNoire: What is the age range for people who’ve participated?
Genese: The age range is as low as 23 and it goes up to 50. It’s primarily thirty-year-olds. But it’s a wide range because it’s tailored to what you’re looking for. And the people are based mostly on the east coast but it’s everywhere. We also have an international option just in case you want to do 90-day fiancé.
I really wanted to be as inclusive as possible. There are options if you’re looking for same sex, both sexes or whatever.
MadameNoire: Are all the participants Black?
Genese: The options are African American/Black, West Indian/Caribbean, Afro Latino/a, and then not Black at all. But it is for Black people. Maybe you’re not Black but only want to date Black women or Black men, you can select other. That’s fine too but it is made by a Black person and for Black people.
MadameNoire: Can you speak about the importance of having a dating site/app that focuses on Black people?
Genese: Of course there have been several that have been done in the past. I don’t know if they’ve ever reached the height that I’m trying to get to. When I would go on dating apps in the past, like Tinder, there was no race feature. And that’s important to me! I’m not interested in dating anyone who’s not Black. To act like race is not important in what you’re looking for is a disservice.
Also, education level. If you only want to date someone with a Master’s, that’s your thing. So I think it’s important to get Black people together so we can find more people to date and not find yourself settling.
MadameNoire: Is there a fee to sign up?
Genese: It’s free to join. You take the quiz, and then you’re asked to leave a personal message for the people you’re matched with, that way if the person slides in your DM and references what you put in your message, you know that this person got matched with me.
Then the next page, it tells you the user names of the people you matched with. You can do that for free. Then the next page, you have the option to pay if you want to learn their Instagram names. If you want to play, you have to pay.
I’ve noticed that a lot of singles are nervous to try. And my message is you just need to try because sitting at home hasn’t worked well for you. We just need to stop being so scared and try, try, try. You’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but at least you’re putting yourself out there to meet new people.
Slide With Intention launched officially to men in September because they wanted to make sure they had enough men in the database. And it opened up to women on December 18. So far, the site has over 3,000 users and every day more people are joining. If you’d like to learn more before you commit, check out the brand on their Instagram page.
You can shoot your shot over at the site SlideWithIntention.com.