There are so many ways to celebrate Black History Month, from learning about the unsung heroes of Black history to donating to organizations uplifting Black communities. In 2019, many companies are contributing to the conversation around Black History Month in unique ways, including popular social media app Snapchat. Snapchat's celebration of the month not only includes a new lens, but also features an entirely new way to enjoy art. Snapchat's Black History Month virtual gallery is celebrating Black creators in a super inventive way and you'll definitely want to check it out.
On Monday, Feb. 11, Snapchat released the first ever augmented reality museum dedicated to young Black artists. For the rest of the month, Snapchat users can check out featured works by rising artists in Snapchat's digital gallery called "For Us, By Us: Art Through the Eyes of Black Millennials" through an immersive Snapchat lens.
Here's how it works: first, find the rainbow colored lens on your Snapchat Lens Carousel. When the camera is in selfie mode, Snapchat users will be able to take a selfie with a Black History Month banner. But when the camera is flipped, users are transported to a bright gallery with shiny floors. The app prompts you to "walk around" and as you physically walk closer to each piece, you can see the title and artist behind the installation. Eventually, your screen will fill with the artists' work so you can admire closely.
The gallery "walk through" is set to the soundtrack of up-and-coming musician Ivy Sole, whose first studio album was released in September 2018. Some of the rising artists featured in the gallery include Gianni Lee, Bianca Pastel, Jessica Spence, Jameel Mohammed, and Paracosm. The digital exhibit is a truly incredible way to access works of Black creators, especially for people who may not have access to physical spaces that uplift and feature works of Black artists.
When you're not busy enjoying Snapchat's one-of-a-kind augmented reality gallery, you can snag a free Lyft ride for up to $10 to Black history museums, memorials, Black-owned businesses, and other cultural sites in cities across the country as part of Lyft's Black History Month free ride initiative. In a Lyft blog post, the company talked a bit about the initiative and how it bolsters Lyft's commitment to diversity and inclusion:
We believe the more we understand the diverse needs of our workforce and communities the better we are positioned to provide services, solutions, and products that make a positive impact ... Much has been done, much remains to be done.
Places included on the Lyft's list of Black cultural sites include National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., the Black Ensemble Theater in Chicago, the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum in Memphis, Tennessee among countless other locations in 35 cities across the country.
So whether you're enjoying art from the comfort of your bed or heading out to experience museums, memorials, or parks, there are a lot of incredible and interactive ways to celebrate Black History Month this year, with just a little help from your fave phone apps.