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New Digital Partnership Highlights Black-Owned Businesses in Southern California

The collaboration between BlackNLA and Reel Ruel will bring black businesses to life with video features that create awareness of their brands


LOS ANGELES, Calif. (June 14, 2020)—A new collaboration between an online resource center for African American run businesses in Los Angeles and a renowned animation director is helping to shine a spotlight on black-owned businesses. BlackNLA and ReelRuel will work together to give BlackNLA’s business directory a facelift, replacing the text directory with videos, helping to build excitement for black-owned brands while delivering key business details.


Cherice Calhoun is the founder of BlackNLA. She launched the site in 2000, and for the past two decades, BlackNLA has been the leading online resource center for African Americans living, working, and traveling to Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. The site features a business directory, local events, trending news, networking opportunities, and more for those wanting to connect with and support Southern California’s Black community 

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In looking to update the site, Calhoun wanted something innovative that would bring more attention to black-owned businesses. After connecting with Ruel Smith from ReelRuel, the two decided that in today’s visually- and video-driven world, short videos profiling black businesses would deliver big results.

“We are updating our site this year, and when looking at what new services we could offer, Ruel came up with the idea of a video business directory,” said Calhoun. “While our previous directory listed basic information in text form, this video directory will give potential customers a feel for the business before they walk in the door. We will also be able to share these videos on our other social media platforms, thereby increasing the visibility of these businesses to the community. The videos will be 60 second commercials that tell you the Who, What, Where, and Why of the business.”

“Because so many people consume information via social media, a 60-second video will probably catch a new customer’s eye faster than that same information in a text format,” added Smith.

Like many of the other services on BlackNLA, there will be no cost for businesses to be listed in the directory.


“The goal is to support black businesses and serve as a true resource for the community,” noted Calhoun.

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To learn more about BlackNLA and to access it online resources, visit


About makes it easy for users to connect to black-sponsored or black-owned events and businesses. The site features an event calendar, business directory, travel events, and weekly newsletter. In addition to its web resources, BlackNLA hosts networking opportunities, destination events, and an annual toy drive. BlackNLA is able to offer these services thanks to the generous support of its marketing partners. To learn more, visit


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About ReelRuel

Ruel Smith is an veteran animator with over 16 years of experience within the visual effects industry. During this time he has worked on various projects such as Flags Of Our Fathers, The Jungle Book, Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Time Magazine’s MLK VR Project. In addition to writing and producing short films, he was also instrumental in bringing over 45 short films to the big screen via a festival he founded called Mini Cinema. He has also written 2 feature film screenplays and is set to direct his feature film debut later this year. To learn more, visit

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