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AFROTECH™ Announces The Meetup Series To Connect Tech Innovators, Trailblazers, And Creatives

AFROTECH™ is all about fostering a community for Black techies. At our annual AFROTECH™ Conference — the largest Black tech homecoming — Black innovators, disruptors, and leaders are provided with spaces to not only gain insight from esteemed figures in the industry but also network and collaborate with today’s industry leaders, executives and likeminded professionals.

Apr 2, 2024

Meet Thomas Jennings, The Inventor Of Dry-Cleaning And First Black U.S. Citizen To Secure A Patent

Thomas L. Jennings is the first Black individual to be granted a patent in the United States, according to the National Geographic. Jennings, born in 1791 to a freed family in New York City, NY, would become an entrepreneur, owning his own tailoring business, per Lemelson–MIT. He had worked various jobs before settling on being a tailor, and his popularity grew within his community, allowing him to open a storefront, Black Inventor reports. However, Jennings’ customers, seemingly satisfied with his service, addressed concerns about cleaning the fabric he used. This led him to experiment to create solutions and cleaning agents, and he developed the “dry-scouring” method, which lifts stains and dirt from fabrics through solvents without the worries of shrinkage or comprising the fabric, per GreenEarth Cleaning. Today, the technique is more commonly known as dry-cleaning. Black Inventor noted that Jennings applied to patent the method in 1820. At this time, to adhere to the Patent Act...

Mar 28, 2024

Our Commitment To Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion In The Changing Landscape

In light of recent legislative changes and the evolving social and political climate, AFROTECH™ continues to stand firm in its commitment to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the technology and business sector. Our mission, to highlight the talents and achievements of Black professionals in technology, has never been more critical. The Supreme Court’s 2023 decision to overturn affirmative action and recent laws enacted in some states pose challenges to DEI initiatives, particularly at colleges and universities. However, it’s important to emphasize that this decision does not alter the law governing corporate diversity programs (New York State Bar Association Report on Advancing Diversity, 2024). Abandoning diversity initiatives at this juncture can pose significant risks for companies, including discrimination litigation, pay equity enforcement, public relations backlash, shareholder derivative suits, and more. We are immensely proud of our partners who have...

Mar 18, 2024

NFL Player Jaylon Smith Is Set To Open First Jinya Ramen Bar On His Former College Campus

It was always bigger than football for Jaylon Smith. Raised in a town like Fort Wayne, IN, Smith connected with his purpose early on, describing himself as a natural-born visionary. By age 11, he developed aspirations of becoming an entrepreneur, following in the footsteps of his mother, who ran a daycare business for 13 years, he told AFROTECH™ in an interview. Yet, that was not his only early-seeded vision. He also hoped to play in the NFL when he was 7, but he knew his calling would extend beyond the field. “I never wanted to be remembered as just being a great athlete,” Smith told AFROTECH™. Sports agent Eugene Parker, who worked with football greats including Deion Sanders, guided Smith and taught him valuable lessons. The two connected through Smith’s grandmother, Parker’s aunt. “I had to take a lot of principles of what I learned from him and just from observing him,” Smith said. “He had a huge impact on a lot of Hall of Famers, a lot of the greats that played the game. So,...

Mar 12, 2024

Women's History Month: 5 Black Women Leaders Who Have Graced The AFROTECH™ Stage

What better time to give Black women their flowers than during Women’s History Month? Although the recognition should be 365 days of the year, the annual observance is a special time. As the celebration continues throughout March, AFROTECH™ is spotlighting Black women in technology and across various industries. On Nov. 13-16, AFROTECH™ Conference 2024 will return with its Women’s Summit. During last year’s conference, the Women’s Summit’s topics ranged from disrupting the beauty industry with technology to redefining leadership. In the meantime of finding out this year’s panel lineup and discussions, here are five women speakers who have previously graced AFROTECH™ Conference 2023’s stages, held memorable sessions, and spread gems of wisdom. AFROTECH™ 2024 speaker applications now open!

Mar 8, 2024

Inventor Of The Cataract Surgery Tool Laserphaco Probe, Dr. Patricia Bath, Was Inducted Into The National Women's Hall Of Fame

The late Dr. Patricia Bath is a distinguished Black woman in the science and medicine field. Early Days Dr. Bath, born in Harlem, NY, on Nov. 4, 1942, is recognized as the inventor of laser cataract surgery — her road to the groundbreaking feat dates back to her childhood. Young Bath’s early exposure to science and medicine was when she learned about Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s impact on lepers in the Congo, according to a biography shared by Changing the Face of Medicine. Dr. Bath’s father, Rupert, was New York’s first Black motorman. Her mother, Gladys, was a housewife and house cleaner who led Dr. Bath to become interested in science by buying her a chemistry set, Biography reports. Both parents would motivate her to pursue academics, which paved the way for her educational success at age 16. Education The Lemelson-MIT Program notes Dr. Bath performed well in biology and served as Charles Evans Hughes High School’s science paper editor, earning various awards. According to the...

Mar 6, 2024

Terrence Howard, Who Has An Estimated $4M Net Worth, Shared How He Received ‘Lowball Pay’ Despite His Accolades

If the lyrics to “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp” sound familiar, then it’s likely because of its connection to the 2005 film “Hustle and Flow,” starring veteran actor Terrence Howard. Critics and fans could argue that his portrayal in the Memphis, TN-based movie is one of Howard’s most recognizable roles. In it, he makes a solid effort to adapt to the culture and lingo of the mid-Southern city. “My ability to connect with an audience, I feel, was born in Memphis with ‘Hustle & Flow’ and what we shot,” Howard said ahead of the 2023 premiere of “Showdown at the Grand,” per The Daily Memphian. He continued, “Something about that city brings out the very best in me, and maybe it’s just because the city is no frills. It is what it is.” While “Hustle and Flow” may be a high point in his career, it is not the peak. Howard has starred in several films and television shows, including the drama series “Empire” (2015) and movies such as “The Best Man” (1999) and “Iron Man” (2008). The...

Mar 5, 2024

Who Is Mukesh Ambani? The Richest Man In India Who Just Reportedly Paid Rihanna Millions To Perform At His Son's Pre-Wedding Party

Today, it remains a mystery when, or rather if, Rihanna will release her ninth studio album. Although it’s been nearly a decade since she released a new music project, the Bajan superstar came back from being MIA in music to attend a star-studded event. On March 1, Rihanna performed at a pre-wedding party for Anant Ambani, the son of multi-billionaire Mukesh Ambani, and Radhika Merchant in Jamnagar, India — marking her first full show in a while, per Billboard. View this post on Instagram A post shared by COMPLEX (@complex) “The show was the best,” Rihanna shared following her performance, according to the outlet. “I haven’t done a real show in eight years.” What’s more, Rihanna’s gig reportedly earned her a check of about $6.3 million , according to Forbes. A private show that brings Rihanna to a stage outside of her Super Bowl 2023 halftime performance is a bill that may only be footed by a public figure with wealth — in this case, Mukesh Ambani, who also paid for Beyoncé to...

Mar 4, 2024

While Viola Davis Has Built An Estimated $25M Fortune, The Actress Once Said She Still Has To ‘Hustle For My Worth’ Compared To Her White Counterparts

For six seasons between 2014 and 2020, Shonda Rhymes had television audiences on lock every Thursday, partially due to the thrilling drama series “How To Get Away With Murder.” Starring the iconic Viola Davis, the hour-long show chronicled the complicated daily life, career, and antics of its main character, Annalise Keating. Although Viola Davis gave viewers a captivating weekly performance, her time on the ABC series was not the first nor last time she would have audiences in a proverbial chokehold, enamored by her acting chops. According to an interview with the Harvard Business Review, Viola Davis was born on a former plantation in Saint Matthews, SC, and raised in poverty. She faced continued racism after moving to Rhode Island. However, her humble beginnings didn’t stop her from discovering her love of acting and using that as a tool for her success. “I had a passion for acting because it was therapeutic. Art heals the mind. Art is supposed to move you, shake you, make you...

Mar 4, 2024

Jay-Z Attributes Yo Gotti’s $100M Net Worth To The Rapper’s Executive Skills — ‘His Business Acumen Is Evident In Every Move He Makes’

In 2006, Yo Gotti released “That’s What’s Up (Intro),” and many from the rapper’s hometown of Memphis, TN, consider it a cultural anthem. The song sets up an open letter to his fans and haters, describing who he is, what he’s been through, and his current and impending impact at the time. Words in the opening lines serve as a preamble and manifest the upward trajectory of Yo Gotti’s success. “…Tha streets been beggin’, so I had to go ‘Back 2 Da Basics.’ This the intro to my life, entry to my world.” Although this mid-2000s track was an introduction of sorts, the song was not his entry point into the rap game. Born Mario Mims, Yo Gotti is a Memphis native who released his first musical work in 1996, titled “Youngsta’s On A Come Up,” under the alias Lil Yo. And a come-up was precisely what he’d experienced. Throughout his multi-decade career, Yo Gotti would release popular songs like “Rake It Up,” “I Know,” “Law,” and “Down in the DM” — working with top artists such as Nick Minaj,...

Mar 1, 2024

Nicki Minaj Was The First Female Rapper To Amass A $100M Fortune — Here's Where Her Net Worth Sits Today

Whether rap fans agree or not, one thing that cannot be disputed is Nicki Minaj’s commercial success. A proud native of Trinidad and Tobago, Minaj took the rap game by storm with explosive creativity, catchy lyrics, and bass-pounding beats. While the 41-year-old entered the game with mixtapes and songs that still get the people moving, many Hip-Hop enthusiasts would argue that her verse on Kanye West’s “Monster” set her apart. Like her song “Starships,” Nicki Minaj’s career has catapulted her into chart-topping levels and garnered her uncanny influence. According to Billboard, Nicki Minaj has produced three No. 1 hits and had 23 of her songs become top ten singles. Her 2022 single, “Super Freaky Girl,” made history for the rapper. Billboard reports that “The track is Minaj’s first Hot 100 No. 1 as an unaccompanied artist and her third overall.” This was also the first time a Hip-Hop song by a solo woman would chart this way since Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” in 1998. Minaj...

Mar 1, 2024

Terry Crews Thanks Ice Cube For The ‘Friday After Next’ Role He Was Paid $4K For That Helped Launch His Career —  'I Make Money Now'

Terry Crews understands everyone has to start somewhere. As AFROTECH™ previously told you, the actor was once a player in the NFL. In 1991, he was drafted as an 11th round draft pick by the Los Angeles Rams and would go on to play for the San Diego Chargers, Washington Redskins, and Philadelphia Eagles. He had a short stint in the league playing for just three seasons over the course of seven years and retired in 1997. However, Crews’ story was, in fact, just beginning. He had developed an interest in the entertainment industry and landed one of his earliest roles, in “Friday After Next,” working as a security guard. Previously, Crews had been featured in “Training Day,” starring Denzel Washington, after connecting with a location manager. While on set, the film’s director, Antoine Fuqua, signaled out Crews, impressed by his physique, to play in a scene. Despite not being paid for the role, Crews said the moment would change his life and solidify his interest in acting. “So Denzel’s...

Feb 29, 2024

Raioni Madison Said Goodbye To Her Job As A Teacher To Help Young Girls In STEAM Full-Time

Educator Raioni Madison bid farewell to the classroom walls to further her dedication to her community. She would make the brave step in 2019. Despite her departure, Madison’s mission remained intact. She tells AFROTECH™ that education runs in her bloodline. Her grandmother, a single mother living in New York who raised four children, was also an educator, and her mother is a high school science teacher. 3D Girls Madison has shifted her full-time focus to 3D Girls Inc., a nonprofit she established as a personal endeavor in 2012 during her time at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. Her decision was prompted by the disparities she observed in other nonprofits. “I was just evaluating some of the organizations that were in my community. And I found that a lot of other nonprofits were inactive or under-resourced and that bothered me. ‘Why don’t we have this?’ or ‘This program is on the north side of town; why don’t we have access to things on the south side of town,'” Madison told...

Feb 29, 2024

Angela Yee Reflects On How The Late Michael K. Williams Left An Impact On Her And Others — 'That's Why I Do The Juice Bar'

One commonality among the greats is their ability to shape a more promising tomorrow for upcoming generations. In February 2024, 18 Black leaders were recognized by Time magazine in its inaugural list of ‘The Closers,’ which amplifies change-makers who are working to dismantle the racial wealth gap. Among those were Angelica Ross; Aurora James; Arian Simone and Ayana Parsons of Fearless Fund; and Issa Rae, who recently revealed she has secured investors to build out a studio that will provide opportunities for creators. During Time’s Impact Dinner : The Closers! held in Midtown Manhattan, NY, on Feb. 22, Rae reflected on her recognition and her impact over the years. She shared she has come a long way since her early days on YouTube through her web series “Awkward Black Girl.” She is the founder of independent media production company Hoorae Media, became the producer of two former shows for HBO (“Insecure” and “Rap Sh!t”), and dove into the spirits industry through the launch of...

Feb 27, 2024

The Perfect Morning Routine To Set You Up For Success

For professionals, a consistent morning routine can be an asset in beginning your day on the right track. With an established morning routine, whether waking up at 5 AM or 9 AM, you will have a stronger foundation to set the tone for an effective workday . If you find it hard to fall asleep before midnight, trying to force yourself into the early-rising club may lead to exhaustion. It’s essential to listen to your body’s natural rhythms. Even if mornings aren’t your strong suit, you can still establish a routine that aligns with your body’s preferences. By prioritizing consistency and finding a schedule that works for you, you can create a morning routine that sets you up for success without sacrificing sleep or well-being. Popular Steps To Include In Your Morning Routine A well-crafted morning routine can lay the foundation for a successful day ahead by setting a positive tone for your daily activities. Adding intentional habits into your morning can help you feel more focused and...

Feb 27, 2024