Blerdology was a part of the many who went down to Austin, Texas, for this year's SXSW Music and Media Conference. What were your expectations for the #BlackHack Hollywood event?
K: #BlackHack Hollywood was an incredibly fun experience. We had over 80 Black coders and designers from all over the country who came together to build projects, network, and find joy in the fact that they can build something extraordinary out of nothing but a few lines of code and a lot of imagination.
A: #BlackHack Hollywood was an amazing launching point for the next set of entertainment tech entrepreneurs. We are very excited to help fellow dreamers bring their ideas to life in an environment that promotes collective enhancement.
Black Nerds drive so much change on-and-off the web. How will Blerdology serve as a hub to drive communication within the larger industry? What issues need to be addressed?
A: What's beautiful about Blerdology is that a large portion of what we do is crowdsourced. It's FUBU — for us, by us! We want to be a resource to all those Black tech meet-up groups, organizations and non-profits and have them feel assured that Blerdology is their digital home away from home.
K: We're really counting on the Black tech community to help shape Blerdology with us. We are traveling around the country, tweeting and Skyping like crazy, and talking to absolutely everyone! There are so many different groups that make up the community, from the amazing professionals out there already coding, designing, building and founding to the part of our community who desperately want to learn so they can find jobs, create jobs or advance in their jobs, and of course, all of the Black children who need to learn STEM starting at about six months old so we can close the digital divide.
That's just three of about 15 different constituencies. Our goal is to bring every part of the community together through a lot of different programming and opportunities and helping us work together to make Black tech stronger, bigger and better.
A: Additionally, I think it is important for us to continue to coordinate innovative collaborations with individuals outside of technology. If techies are only talking to other techies, then what difference are we really going to make in our larger world? We have to meet our audience where they live and that means in part better understanding who they are, what interests them — tech or otherwise — and then helping to make that connection for them.
Did you both have any personal SXSW expectations? Who would you guys crown as the event's "Ambassador of Blerddom"…?
K: I LOVED SXSW! It was so much fun. I knew that I was going to meet a lot of amazing people, reunite with some friends I hadn't seen in a while, and I watched my hero, Mae Jemison, on a panel. Coincidentally, I would definitely crown Dr. Jemison and Nichelle Nichols as my co-Ambassadors of Blerddom. One is a real astronaut and one inspired the entire world when she played one on TV. Both of them proved that Black people, and Black women can be extraordinary scientists and explorers. Definitely my heroes!
A: Being invited by SXSW to host an event this year is personally a huge honor and accomplishment for us. Last year, as a graduate student at Georgetown [University], I couldn't afford to attend Interactive Week and now we were hosting! SXSW brought together some of the best and the brightest in the game and I was simply looking forward to a great meeting of the minds.