Weems has been a photographer and artist since the 1965 and her work has been featured in over 50 exhibits throughout her career. In 1983, she created her first collection of photographs and spoken word called, Family Pictures and Stories. Some of her other works include, Sea Island Series (1991-92), the Africa Series (1993), From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried (1995-96), Who What When Where (1998), Ritual & Revolution (1998), the Louisiana Project (2003), Roaming (2006) and others. Weems has earned many awards for her work, including becoming a MacArthur Fellow in 2013.
James Van Der Zee (June 29, 1886 – May 15, 1983)
Van Der Zee was a major artist in the Harlem Renaissance. During the 1920s, he documented some of the most famous Black people of the time, including Florence Mills, Hazel Scott, Marcus Garvey, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Countee Cullen and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Even though his work was popular, Van Der Zee never garnered major financial success. In the 1970s, he went back to portrait photography, photographing celebrities like Bill Cosby, Lou Rawls, Cicely Tyson and Jean-Michael Basquiat.
Black Girls Code was created to provide young Black girls with the necessary tools to become proficient in coding and computer science. As many people know, the tech industry lacks diversity in terms of race and gender, but this organization is chipping away at those barriers.
This summer, Black Girls Code (BCG) hosted the Summer of Code Camp that included project-based camps in the Bay Area as well as in Washington D.C., New York City and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
Kimberly Bryant founded the organization in 2011 with the intention to teach and inspire Black girls to get into the tech industry. Since the organization’s inception, Bryant has taught more than 2,000 girls and has even started boys camps with the same mission.
The organization will be hosting a variety of events in August and well into September. A common workshop BGC hosts for girls is the Build a Web Page Day, which teaches young girls from the ages of seven to 17 how to design their own web pages using HTML and CSS. There are also panels on diversity in tech, such as the Women of Color in STEM Career Panel on August 22.
One of the big events that BGC will have is the Robot Expo on September 19 in Memphis and the BGC Documentary Film Screenings and Community Meetups. There is still time to get involved with the planned activities.
The lack of diversity in the tech industry has come front and center as Silicon Valley and new start-ups gain more notoriety. This elephant in the room becomes more noticeable as small companies grow and their pool of applicants remain the same.
The social media site, Pinterest, wants to change this by addressing their lack of diversity. The company’s leadership team invited the start-up, Paradigm, to launch the Inclusion Labs Initiative. The company will host an array of workshops and programs that will accumulate diverse workers and their humongous staff for a better working environment.
Paradigm CEO Joelle Emerson and Pinterest founder and CEO Ben Silbermann have come together to tackle this problem head on. Emerson’s company will conduct research and gather the appropriate data to see what needs to be addressed.
According to Martin Blanc of Bidnessetc.com, “The abolishment of the compulsory ‘white boarding’ interview process shows how Pinterest has received constructive criticism from the start-up firm which highlighted the issues that most women may face during interview processes in which they ‘underperform specifically’.”
For the past several months, the two companies have been working together. One of the new approaches Pinterest has tried was a Blacks in Tech event in the last week of July. Back in June, the company also hosted a Future Female Founders event in an attempt to grow the company’s network.
“Paradigm is training Pinterest managers on how to write unbiased performance reviews, and we are training promotion committee members to identify potential areas of bias in promotion decisions,” says Emerson.
The Inclusion Labs Initiative will launch this fall.
Renewable energy has a long way to go to overtake South Africa’s reliance on coal though. It is number 11 in the world for total CO2 output from energy use and the fifth largest producer of the climate-changing fossil fuel.
For filmmakers and photographers on a budget, buying a new camera can be an expensive purchase and a financial setback. There are some great pieces of tech out there for decent prices. Here are a few DSLRs out there that are under $500.
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Digital SLR
The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 is the most expensive camera on the list at $500. It may also be the best. The EOS Rebel will give filmmakers, videographers and journalists high-quality video at a reasonable price. It features special scene modes for shooting kids, food, by candlelight and creative filters, 3-inch touch panel LCD screen with 1,040,000 dots, movie Servo AF for continuous focus tracking of moving subjects and an 18-55mm STM lens.
Sci-fi and horror writers like Octavia Butler, Virginia Hamilton, N. K. Jemisin, and Tananarive Due have been featured on Blerds before and have become major symbols for diversity in these genres. Their writing has influenced others and their works have spread like wildfire. In a genre like horror where white males dominate, there are new voices that are out there changing the landscape for the better and adding much needed perspective. Here are some of those voices.
Linda D. Addison
Addison is a poet and short story writer that focuses on the supernatural. She is the first Black person to win a Bram Stroker Award. In fact, the author has won three Bram Stroker Awards for her poetry collections, “Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes” in 2001, “Being Full of Light, Insubstantial” in 2007 and “How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend” in 2012.
Jefferson is a contemporary horror writer but she has also written erotic fiction in the early days of her career. Jefferson is currently a comic/manga editor in the editorial department at Dark Horse Comics where she has worked on comics including “Emily the Strange.” Some of her novels include Mixtape for the Apocalypse (2011) and Voice of the Blood (2011).
A notable business icon, passionate entrepreneur, philanthropist and a firm believer in Africapitalism, Mr Tony Elumelu the founder of the TEEP initiative, designed to empower 10,000 entrepreneurs across Africa in the space of 10 years, through a fund of $100m, hosted the first 1,000 successful batch to a boot camp experience.
Lewis (April 13, 1916 — Feb. 13, 2006) began her career in New York as a cook at Café Nicholson, where famous stars like William Faulkner, Marlon Brando, Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote were frequent guests. In 1972, her recipes were turned into a book, “The Edna Lewis Cookbook.” That was followed by “The Taste of Country Cooking” in 1976. Her fame as a cook and author earned her the title of “The South’s Answer to Julia Child.”
Wilson is a native of Harlem and decided to create a restaurant that specializes in comfort foods such as pecan-crusted tilapia and Southern fried chicken with eggnog waffles. Melba’s Restaurant opened its doors in 2005, and Wilson has become a star appearing on multiple Food Network shows like Throwdown! with Bobby Flay. She also has a doctorate in restaurant business.
Gilbert (July 6, 1864 – Nov. 19, 1923), an archaeologist born in Georgia, faced extreme racism and prejudice, but that did not stop him from being the first Black professor at Paine College and the first Black person to earn a master’s at Brown University in 1891. Gilbert is also the first person to map the ancient Greek city-state of Eretria where, from 1890-1891, he conducted archaeological excavations with Professor John Pickard.
Fabian Elliot has a dream to diversify tech by turning Chicago into a tech hub for Black people. Elliot is not a native of the city and he did not visit until he started his career at Google as co-chair of the Black Googler Network that serves as Google’s Black talent reservoir.
At 25 years old, Elliot has created Black Tech Mecca, an organization that wants to teach technology and attract more Black people to the city. In fact, Chicago is perfect for this initiative because of Techweek.
Every year the city vibes with tech experts, CEOs, entrepreneurs, innovators and dreamers that come to talk shop and network for a week. In addition to that, Chicago is home to a variety of Fortune 500 companies.
In an interview with Dnainfo.com, Elliot explains why he wanted Chicago to be this mecca. “I realized that less than 1 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs were black,” he said. “I started to question why there are not more people of color in influential positions. I started to develop a plan. If we’re not in positions of influence, I want to be a person of influence to help change that.”
Elliot goes on to say that he wanted to bridge three communities — Black, tech and global.
“I was thinking of how I could make Chicago a beacon for all three communities, and I thought I would merge them all and address my vision. I did my research and found out what was out there. I came to realize that we had all of the ingredients, someone just needed to come up with a nice recipe to bake the cake.”
Black Tech Mecca launched during the Techweek in the last week of June. Elliot’s team includes business people and tech experts Rachel Green, Nehemiah Bishop, Keith L. Gordon, Edward Wilkerson Jr. and Floyd Webb.
For more information on the initiative, check out blacktechmecca.org.