Five years ago I was leading strategic partnerships for a World Bank agricultural research institution. I was “living my best life”, travelling all over the world and making an “impact” — at least that’s what I thought until I found myself on a rooftop in Nairobi, Kenya with a filmmaker, a designer, and a restaurateur who would change my life forever. That night, inspired by the courage, drive, and resilience of my peers I realized that disrupting the narrative on Africa in a way that did not involve “selling poverty”
For the first time ever, someone besides my father gave me money do something. It was not just anyone either, it was the CEO of Y-Combinator Michael Seibel. The money is being used towards empowering Black Entrepreneurs in a monthly group I am organizing, but his contribution represents something fundamentally important that is hard to obtain — empowerment. Starting a successful venture is a complex undertaking that requires more than just the idea, but a good team, a strong network, strategy, capital and other important attributes. Black Entrepreneurs face a greater challenge
Culture can be defined as customs, social forms, beliefs, and practices exhibited by a group of people. When it comes to the African American, we had to develop our own unique culture starting from slavery almost 400+ years ago. It was nothing short of miraculous after everything was taken away from us, we recreated our own identity from scratch. While our culture has many positive features that heavily influences mainstream trends, it also carries negative aspects that may prevent us from moving forward. One such aspect is our reluctance to
The founder of an early stage company, which is still trying to figure out product/market fit, was asking me questions about getting acquired. He’d reached out because of some thoughts I shared in my newsletter. He’d latched onto my suggestion that Big Companies are slow and, suggested, that they hold the bulk of the cash in his industry and were consequently stifling innovation. He wanted to know how he might get the attention of BigCo to get his company acquired. It would have been laughable if he wasn’t so serious.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do? I’m the co-founder of two businesses, KeepUp and Black Women Talk Tech. I started KeepUp, which automates social media listening for consumers and small businesses, in 2014 and shortly after won the largest business plan competition in the world, 43North competition. A few years in, I founded Black Women Talk Tech with two other tech founders to help provide resources, support and funding to help black women create the next billion dollar companies. Our main event, a two day conference
I’m ecstatic for the new Marvel movie Black Panther, which opens this Friday. For me, it’s much less about watching another action movie — my favorite genre of film — or getting to see what happens next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s much more personal than that. Black Panther means a lot because I finally, after 31 years on this earth, I get to see a black superhero star in a major franchise film. That’s not to say I haven’t loved every iteration of Superman, Batman, Ironman and the
We are so used to the narrative of the starving artist, or the former star crashing and burning, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at those hip-hop artists using tech to buck the trend. The ones who have been wise enough to capitalize on tech’s slow coup-ted of every industry. The ones who have been investing in startups, raising capital and founding their very own. This is far from the canonical list, and I’ve missed out on many others [honorable mention to Chamillionaire, and of course Dr.
Denise Hamilton is founder and CEO of WatchHerWork, a digital media training platform closing the professional achievement gap for women. It’s February and our focus shifts to celebrating Black History Month. Celebrating history is important, and acknowledging the contributions of Black heroes is critical to understanding the true story of America. I love hearing about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, but I’m equally interested in MAKING Black history and in honoring those who are working every day to expand the boundaries of the Black experience in America. One group
Over the last 12 months, I have been creating content for dozens of platforms. Perhaps one of the highest profiles ones has been Blavity. ‘The digital voice of black millennials’ boasts a readership of over 30m readers a month across all platforms (incl social). It is an excellent example of fast growth and strategic execution. From inception in 2014, Blavity always positioned itself as a ‘Tech’ company and not only a media player as they had an ambitious vision. They fast grew from a newsletter to attain 1m MAU’s within
You shouldn’t be CEO if the title matters more to you than serving your employees and team everyday. And I do not mean that BS ‘servant leader’ stuff. I mean understanding that you have taken on the responsibility of feeding the people you have convinced to join your team. And as much as that thought of failing all these people you have convinced to help you do the work petrifies you, it drives you to sweat for them every day. You shouldn’t be CEO if you get into the office