Viola Davis, Joy Reid, Charlamagne Tha God Invest In Self-Help App Tailored To The Black Experience

Viola Davis, Joy Reid, and Charlamagne tha God are among a group of investors supporting the launch of a new self-help app curated for the Black experience.

ALTR (pronounced “alter”) is set to launch later this year as a personal development and learning subscription app that features short-form audiobooks by Black cultural icons and authors, Variety reported. The New York-based app was co-founded by CEO David A. Wilson, creator of TheGrio, and CTO Brandon John-Freso, former software engineer at WeWork and OkCupid.

ALTR aims to tap into an underserved market of Black people, particularly Black women, who despite being the largest consumers of self-help material, face a shortage of content tailored to their experiences.

“There is a yearning for solutions and knowledge from our cultural perspectives,” Wilson said.

“Our authentic voices are lacking in the existing self-help, wellness and educational platforms, which is why we’ve been able to galvanize broad support from trusted voices in our community.”

The app was created in partnership with Davis and husband Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions which curated a variety of audiobook miniseries catered to “the distinct life obstacles faced in the Black community,” ALTR stated.

“There is power in our collective knowledge. Life becomes easier when you can learn from those who’ve been there before,” Davis said. “Julius and I are excited to take part in building a platform that will enable millions of people to find guidance for personal growth and see themselves in a space where we’re not usually represented.”

MSNBC host Joy Reid believes the ongoing political and social climate and its impact on the Black community highlight how important spaces like ALTR are for underrepresented groups.

“From my purview as a cable news host covering the tumultuous political and social landscape, there is a growing sense of uncertainty amongst Black Americans on what it all means for their future,” she said. “I love that ALTR provides clarity, comfort and community for those looking to master their own destinies.”

ALTR uses short-form audiobooks on the app to let creators share condensed and timely knowledge “in a snackable format that perfectly aligns with our listeners’ fast-paced consumption habits,” John-Fresco says. Charlamagne, who uses his radio and TV platforms to advocate for mental health awareness, is happy to support an app that taps into the growing audiobook industry.

“In a booming $75 billion audio-based media market, audio content stands out as a powerful tool for engaging our community,” he said. “ALTR will be a game-changer by tapping into this market and making a much-needed positive impact.”

ALTR is currently available for early-access sign-up ahead of its expected launch in the third quarter of 2024. Free trials of the app will be available, the company said.

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