By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer,
Report for America Corps Member,
Husband and Wife Team Darnell and Alyssa Gilet aren’t just business partners, they’re game creators.
The couple have always loved hosting game nights at their house, and one day Alyssa decided to design her own black pop culture trivia game for their friends to participate in.
Alyssa had begun to feel dissatisfied with her day job at the time, so she spoke to Darnell about marketing the game. He backed her up and helped fund the business, and after about six months, they produced House Party The Game in 2015.
Now New York natives are game show creators. In 2021, they released the first season of “Do You Know Black?” (DYKB) on Youtube under their own live event and digital media production company, House Party Entertainment.
The game show is a celebration of black history and culture, and in each episode contestants are tested on their knowledge of history, art, entertainment, business, athletes, innovation, science and more of black people. The second season of the series, which garnered thousands of views, premiered on June 16, 2022.
“It’s a responsibility. It’s a contribution that we’re able to make to our history and educate people about our history in a way other people might not be able to,” Alyssa said.
DYKB competitors compete for the All Black Prize Pack, which is a selection of products from various black-owned businesses. During each 90 second round they work to unlock prizes and one contestant is rejected by their peers.
At the end of the competition, the final contestant can choose to go home with the prizes they won, or they can place an all-or-nothing bet for the prizes they did not win.
Jon “J-Hype” Hyppolite, comedian and actor, is the host of DYKB. The series also features a companion show called “Do You Know Black Kickback,” in which the contestants come together for conversations on themes, such as black entrepreneurship and collective responsibility, introduced in each episode.
Darnell and Alyssa unknowingly went to the same high school together, despite being two years apart. After college, a mutual friend who was in Alyssa’s class introduced the couple.
The couple studied marketing at university. Alyssa has worked with various entertainment, media and production companies doing marketing, PR and brand partnerships, while Darnell’s background is heavy in talent acquisition; human ressources; employer brand; and diversity, equity and inclusion.
Entrepreneurship had been a passion and interest for the couple since they met, but it wasn’t until recently that they felt ready to combine their expertise and build a business.
Darnell and Alyssa continued to hold down day jobs while producing DYKB and upcoming series for House Party Entertainment. As black entrepreneurs, Darnell said they didn’t have access to mentorship to help them build their brand.
Instead, Darnell and Alyssa capitalized on the resources and professionals in their personal networks. They were also able to bring in Donnell Culver to help manage production on the project.
DYKB is filmed over two and a half days during the Do You Know Black weekend that Darnell and Alyssa are hosting in New York. They produce 20 episodes of content, and every person on set is black or brown.
Alyssa researches, verifies and writes all questions and answers for DYKB. She also locates black businesses to be included in the All Black prize pack, while Darnell handles casting, editing and business logistics.
Right now, Alyssa and Darnell are working on creating a new show that will have its own companion series, like DYKB.
“We know there’s a need for a variety of types of education within the black community that the school system doesn’t give us,” Darnell said. “I think DYKB has an opportunity to fill a very important void within families, schools and our black community. That’s what we’re going to do in the future, and that’s what we’re working towards. »
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