For the past few months, I’ve been struggling with the idea of how I was going to break off into the entrepreneurial world. I’m not sure if it has been so difficult because I have less than 10 years of experience in the tech career world or what, but it has definitely been challenging. I’ve had some motivation in spurts here and there — when the perils of my job would completely drain me by the time noon would hit. But that’s a story for another day.
I jetted off to San Francisco a few weeks ago to attend Blavity’s first ever black tech conference geared towards creating a space for black millennials thriving in the world of tech and entrepreneurship to convene. And they were quite successful in doing so.
I have never been so grateful and blessed to be in the presence of so many talented, gifted, motivated individuals that look like me. Seeing all those beautiful faces and beings that exuded so much black excellence effortlessly was definitely something that I will forever be grateful for. And not to mention, Silicon Valley was definitely not ready for the disruption that occurred when we walked out of Bespoke. Seeing everyone’s faces filled with shock and bewilderment wondering what all of these young, beautiful, black people were coming from was definitely unforgettable.
But I digress. Only because I need all of you to know how necessary this conference was. The most purposeful & unconventional conference that I’ve ever been to — that anyone has ever been to. Because how many conferences have you gone to take Drake Breaks? And how many have the crowds swag surfin? How many conferences have you gone to that allow their speakers to have their own superhero and heroine theme music playing while they dance and stroll up to the stage?
I wouldn’t guess there are that many. I would know — especially in regards to my personal experiences. The host, Mandela Schumacher-Hodge was hype the entire time. And the way her and Morgan DeBaun, CEO of Blavity, tag teamed it was pure perfection. Or the IRL panelists — Quinta B, Everette Taylor, and Rashad Drakeford who made it a point to make sure we know to master the spaces that we’re in — to bask in those spaces just enough, but not too much that we lose ourselves. And most importantly, they made sure how imperative it is to protect our mental and creative spaces.
And those lightening talks.. God those Lightening Talks from Zim Ugochukwu, CEO of Travel Noire; Cedric Rogers, CEO of LookLive; Jason Mayden, designer at Accel; and Jessica O. Matthews, CEO and founder of Uncharted Play were absolutely remarkable and the perfect way to conclude the conference. I mean, besides allowing the people in the audience to come on stage and speak from their hearts. Because that.. that was real dope.
Although my trip was short in The Bay, I left with so much more. The connections I’ve made. The experiences I’m writing about right now.. all because of a vision to shift the narrative and change the conversation of what tech and entrepreneurship looks like. Or what it should look like. What it’s going to look like.
We are definitely the ones we’ve been waiting for.