It really was a team effort. I first met my co-founder Jay Bobo when our careers brought us to Lebron James’ marketing agency. I ran digital and I collaborated with Jay on massive marketing milestones including Lebron’s first Superbowl commercial. We were fascinated by follower engagement on social media and saw the power and potential of social connection and Black Twitter. We exchanged hilarious Black Twitter moments, integrated our own social experiences, research, and fused our love of hip-hop and Black culture to build out Black Card Revoked in 2015.
It started as a conversation and grew quickly into a game sample. We bootstrapped the business from our savings and created a distribution center in the living room. We created a website, play-tested the games wherever we could from block parties to summer cookouts. We tweaked the content and listened to player feedback, created marketing assets for social, and off we went. In our founding year, Black Card Revoked became, thankfully, a hit. I remember in November 2015, Black Card Revoked received a flurry of press and it went viral on Twitter and Tumblr, trending for days. With a feature in Essence’s Gift Guide and a shout-out on the Shade Room the day before Thanksgiving, Black Card Revoked instantly sold out.
We were so surprised at how quickly everything happened and we moved fast to meet the growing demand with thousands of pre-orders in the first few weeks. Its growth sparked the growth of our expansion packs and other Card Revoked games (Nerd Card Revoked, Gay Card Revoked), quickly grew into a bestselling trivia series, and then we expanded the portfolio with Girls Night Out and eventually Angry Moms. Our nimble startup quickly emerged as a pioneer in diversifying the gaming industry.
Why do you believe games are just now being targeted toward Black people?
Diverse audiences are huge gaming supporters but we are completely overlooked by the industry. Diversity wasn’t represented on retail shelves, and consumers don’t see themselves in the games they brought especially tabletop games. That’s why our brand resonates – multicultural toys and games help to share experiences and unite through play.
Black people are creating culture and we should see that expressed in gaming. This is the true opportunity we seized on. The demand for Black Card Revoked is incredible and 70% of our customers are black women. The gaming industry largely counts out black women as consumers but we don’t. The industry has long undervalued women of color as if black women don’t spend in the gaming category. African Americans have a spending power of 1.2 trillion dollars.
We didn’t start this to break barriers and there wasn’t a blueprint. We just wanted to create the games we wanted to play that we never saw on shelves. Now, we are on shelves and have incredible partnerships with Target, Family Dollar, and bookstores. It’s really exciting to see the gaming industry diversify, to see new games emerge with diverse founders.
Our expansion packs are compliments to the Original Flavor packs. We created multiple editions to keep the laughs going. We teamed up with The Shade Room on the Petty edition packs (Petty and Still Petty) for the social media gossip enthusiasts. Our Girls Night Out brand is the sexually explicit, bachelorette party must-have and the Lip Service pack we did with Angela Yee. Whether you are playing Black Card Revoked with auntie and your grandma, (Old School expansion packs) your Nigerian crew (Jollof and Fufu) we’ve got something for everyone. Even if you are babysitting the kids of the family breakout Angry Moms for some fun! We’ve got something for everyone.
All inspiration to expand comes from supporting and celebrating diverse communities. It’s this approach that has simultaneously brought much-needed innovation and bursts of creativity to the gaming space. We know our customers and were able to have even deeper connections with our gamers during the pandemic while they were at home during these trying times.
You can purchase your own deck from the Black Card Revoked series, here.