BLK was created in 1988 by African-American graphic designer Alan Bell to fill a gap in the LGBT news publication community, separating itself from the "infotainment" of other black LGBT publications. It ran for nearly 6 years and expanded from its initial run in the Los Angeles area to cover nationwide and international news, including publication in Canada. It also featured interviews with prominent African-American figures within and with ties to the LGBT community, such as singer Patti LaBelle and Phill Wilson, founder of the Black AIDS Institute.
Formed in 1986 by Alan Bell, Black Jack was a club that regularly met for safer sex parties. During this time, AIDS ran rampant throughout the United States and many gay men scoffed at the idea of using a condom. Bell wanted a place where there was no questioning if someone was into safer sex. Because of this, queer black men were educated about using protection and formed a community of like-minded people.