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Marriott Annual Report Features Creating "Black-focused Recruiting Platform" BlackUp

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color their skin but by the content of their character.”

Those words come from Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech where he, as a Christian, echoed the same sentiments of Galatians 3: 28 which emphasizes that “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

At the time the speech was delivered, black people were not even guaranteed the right to vote, racial segregation was legal, and black people were not allowed to study at the same schools as white people. The fight for racial equality in America was necessary.

Today, people of all races and genders have the right to vote, there are laws in place that punish racial discrimination of any type, and schools are constantly working to increase their racial diversity. Of course racism exists, but we still must have efforts to judge by character and not skin color.

The 2021 Annual Report for the BYU Marriott School of Business highlights a new tech company called BlackUp. The highlight recognized the importance that the business school had in the establishment and formation of the company.


BlackUp is a tech company that connects companies to black professionals who are looking for jobs. The company provides information for employers so that they can continue to achieve “black diversity” after they have hired any black employees.

To get started, the applicant signs up with an email, then fills out information about themselves. The first question that the applicant is asked is if they identify as black. If the applicant answers no, it does not keep them from entering the process. From there, the applicant can connect with other applicants. They can also view jobs that the website has recommended for them or follow companies that they are interested in.

Applicants have access to the service for free, while companies can pay either an annual or monthly subscription to have access to the services that the company provides. Companies that subscribe to BlackUp can post jobs and contact applicants that they are interested in. BlackUp also offers data about the diversity of a company, and helps the company track its metrics for “Black Equity and Inclusion.” According to the website, BlackUp works with over 86,000 hiring companies and has over 9 million black professionals who have registered for the service.

The founder of the company, Christabel Agbonkonkon, makes the claim that “[black] people do not yet have equal access to job opportunities” and that “only 2% of Black Professionals’ resumes are being put on the biased industry-wide algorithms.” This is not sourced in her posting.

The company was created with the intention of getting people hired with a focus on their skin color and may eliminate some of the merit requirements needed to be hired at companies when competing in larger applicant pools. This may lead to what is called a “mismatch” as reported in the Atlantic about the simlar practice of affirmative action. This hurts black students in university and may do the same in the workplace.

Written By: Reagan Sumrall

Writer at The Cougar Chronicle

The Cougar Chronicle is an independent student-run publication and is not affiliated with Brigham Young University or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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