By Megan Sayles
Husband and Wife team Darnell and Alyssa Gilet are not just business partners, they’re gamemakers.
The couple 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 compete in.
Alyssa had begun to feel unfulfilled by her day job at the time, so she talked to Darnell about commercializing the game. He supported her and helped her fund the venture, and after about six months, they produced House Party The Game in 2015.
Now, the New York natives are game show makers. 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 Black history, art, entertainment, business, athletes, innovation, science and more. The second season of the series, which has garnered thousands of views, aired on Juneteenth 2022.
“This is a responsibility. This is a contribution that we’re able to make to our history and to educating people on our history in a way that other people might not be able to do,” said Alyssa.
DYKB contestants 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 voted off by their peers.
At the end of the competition, the final contestant can choose to go home with the prizes they’ve won, or they can place an all or nothing bet for the prizes they didn’t win.
Jon “J-Hype” Hyppolite, a comedian and actor, serves as the host for DYKB. The series also has a companion show called “Do You Know Black Kickback,” in which contestants reunite for conversations about the themes, like Black entrepreneurship and collective responsibility, introduced in each episode.
Darnell and Alyssa unknowingly went to the same high school together, although they were two years apart. After college, a mutual friend who was in Alyssa’s grade introduced the couple.
The pair studied marketing in college. Alyssa has worked with various entertainment, media and production companies doing marketing, public relations and branded partnerships, while Darnell’s background is heavy in talent acquisition; human resources; employer branding; and diversity, equity and inclusion.
Entrepreneurship was a passion and interest of the couple since they met, but it was not until recently that they felt ready to combine their expertise and build a business.
Both Darnell and Alyssa have continued to maintain day jobs while producing DYKB and upcoming series for House Party Entertainment. As Black entrepreneurs, Darnell said they did not have access to mentorship to help them build their brand.
Instead, Darnell and Alyssa capitalized on resources and professionals in their personal networks. They were also able to bring on Eric Sheppard to help manage the production of the project.
DYKB is filmed over the course of two and half days during the Do You Know Black Weekend that Darnell and Alyssa host in New York City. They yield 20 episodes of content, and every person on set is either Black or Brown.
Alyssa researches, verifies and writes all of the questions and answers for DYKB. She also locates Black businesses to include in the All Black Prize Pack, while Darnell handles the 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 that there’s a need for a variety of types of education within the Black community that the school system does not give us,” said Darnell. “I think DYKB has an opportunity to fill a very important gap within families, within schools and within our Black community. That’s what we’re going to be doing in the future, and that’s what we’re building toward.”
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