( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) A Game Show Celebrating Black History + Culture
ENSPIRE Contributor: Hamna Khan
Are you a fan of Black history and know its background by heart? Or are you someone who wants to know more? Whoever you are, we have the perfect show for you to watch or take part in, where you can test your knowledge and your love for Black culture along with winning great prizes. The innovative and creative power couple, Darnell and Alyssa Gilet has created the show “Do you know Black?” to educate, empower, elevate, enrich, engage and entertain you all with the rich Black history.
Do You Know Black? is a multi-platform brand aimed at celebrating and educating on Black history and culture in a fun and engaging way. The idea is to celebrate and educate individuals of all backgrounds about the diverse history of the Black Experience in a safe space through a game show. The show host is comedian and actor Jonathan “J-Hype” Hyppolite. In each episode, contestants will be tested on their knowledge of Black culture on all topics including arts and entertainment, business and innovation, the sciences, and much more. Do You Know Black? Kickback is a companion after the show that reunites the cast of each episode for a candid conversation that dives while exploring themes introduced within their episodes.
ENSPIRE asked Alyssa and Darnell some questions about their experience.
How did you come up with the concept for the show?
Alyssa: Do You Know Black? was inspired by the first product we created together; a Black pop culture trivia card game, House Party the Game. A history-based trivia card game did not seem like the best format because Black people are still uncovering so much of our history. It would not be a fun product if no one knew any of the answers. However, we saw an opportunity to create a game show format where viewers could be entertained while also learning something in the process.
How did you find the right team to represent it?
Darnell: We are a lean team. Alyssa and I handle the day-to-day on our own. She manages the writing and research, partnerships, event logistics, etc. I direct and edit the episodes and manage our social media and promotional content, as well as the contestant outreach.
I met Donnel (producer and director of photography) in college and he always has a camera in his hand. A good friend of mine referred us to Jon Hyppolite (aka J-Hype) who has a magnetic personality, whom we booked as the host. We brought two previous contestants for The DYKB: Kickback. Lamont Carolina, a thoughtful and insightful person, and Chazeen Pemberton, a producer by profession.
What response did you receive from your surrounding community and people after the show?
The response has been very positive so far. Viewers leave comments and send us messages daily, telling us how refreshing and enlightening they find the show. We also get very nice messages from the Black-owned businesses we partner with for the All-Black Prize Pack. We do not charge for their partnership which they appreciate. Now, our goal is to continue growing our audience so that we can make an even bigger impact.
How did your marriage and personal partnership benefit your show and production company? What are some pros and cons of it?
We have been together for over a decade and have been business partners. The pro of working with a spouse is that growing a business requires you to be nimble and adaptable. We are constantly bouncing ideas off one another and trust each other’s input.
A con is that it can be hard to separate business from our personal life. We have to ensure we are not allowing stress or frustrations from work to seep into our personal interactions. We also both work full-time corporate jobs so we have to be intentional about making time to shut down and unwind, individually and as a couple.
The second season of “Do you know Black?” is coming again this September. Is there anything different in it that people should look forward to?
We dropped the first half of the second season on Juneteenth, and we are looking forward to releasing the second half this fall. There are a lot of changes we are excited about. In the first season, we learned as we went along and had a lot of takeaways for future productions. This season, we increased the production value, nearly tripled the number of episodes, and introduced two new series, the Do You Know Black? Kickback, and Do You Know Black? Creators Kickback. We curated a cast of 50 dynamic and diverse contestants that are so fun to watch and introduced 50 amazing Black businesses that viewers should know about.
Do you want to give any advice to other couples who are struggling to start their own thing?
Alyssa: Think about the things that you both enjoy and try to figure out ways to turn that into a business. You will invest countless hours, money, and resources into this venture, so it should be something you are both passionate about and equally committed to, or you are setting yourself up for failure and resentment.
Darnell: You should define what you will each be responsible for early on. At some point, you will inevitably drop the ball or miss the mark on something. That is a part of business and life. But defining roles helps alleviate that because it allows you to operate in your strengths, minimizes the chance of preventable mistakes, and sets clear responsibilities that you can hold each other accountable for.
Darnell and Alyssa have described their journey as “Synergistic” and there is no doubt about it. This husband and wife duo has taken a great initiative by introducing black culture in a positive environment with their production DYKB and company House Party Entertainment. For a fun game night, you can buy their game cards on their site. The second half of season 2 of DYKB will be coming in September 2022. Stay tuned because Black is beautiful. You can follow them on Instagram and watch their episodes here.