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It all started when Jason Kelley received a stream of “no invite?” texts in response to what could only be described as a “lit” brunch on one Sunday afternoon in 2016. The DC-native decided then and there that he would create a hub using the group chat based app, GroupMe for all of his friends to share event-related information.

“We live in a city that’s full of young professionals with high-stress jobs and as a result, take their social lives very seriously,” he said.

Shortly after starting The WAVE chat (aptly-named after Kanye West’s ‘Waves’ album before it was changed to Life of Pablo in the ninth hour), Jason thought the most that would happen was a more streamlined version of the other chats he’d been added to in the past.

“I didn’t enjoy those {chats} I was in previously,” Jason said. “Mostly, they were filled with a bunch of people just trying to be funny and making half-assed plans that never pan out.”

Jason vowed his chat wasn’t going to be like that.

“I wanted it to be a fun environment, but clear in the fact that it was a space for action-oriented individuals to collaborate and actually make things happen.”

In just a few weeks, the chat tripled in size and eventually, Jason was fielding questions about expanding the chat to other cities.

“The DC chat was so popular that we knew we needed a resource for young, black professionals to connect all over the country.”

Now, The Wave has chapters in 24 major cities with more than 25,000 members.

With the success of the chats, Jason wanted to amplify the brand by implementing an event-curation arm to The Wave. To date, The Wave has spearheaded more than 100 events across the nation.

“My business partner and co-founder, Greg Jackson and I both have a background in event organizing,” the former CNN media partner said. “We started to pool our resources and put together events in DC, Atlanta, and other cities, which wasn’t that difficult because we already had a loyal base to market to in our chats.”

Those events include the successful national Black Bar Crawl party series in celebration of Juneteenth and the Afrorita Dayfest, both designed to spotlight black culture, black business, and black causes.

“We knew that we wanted to make upscale, great events that all of us would want to go to if we were invited,” Jason said. “With the help of, we’ve been able to not just accurately ticket the event, but gain great insight into our consumer market.”

This is only the beginning according to Jason.

“I’d like to scale up and take this international,” he said. “I know that we’re needed in places like Nigeria and London, among others.”

He said that he’s currently in talks with his team to hash out a plan to move The Wave to a global market, but in the meantime, The Wave team is busy focusing on the massive US following they’ve amassed in just three short years.

“Our mission was to be the yellow pages for black culture.”

It’s safe to say that mission was accomplished.

Find out more about The Wave at