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Blerds Unite: Black Tech Week Makes Big Splash In Miami

Co-founded by South Florida couple Felecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson, Black Tech Week seeks to raise business and leaders of color in technology. 

Black nerds or "blerds" and tech entrepreneurs from all over the country, gathered in sunny Miami to kick off the second annual Black Tech Week conference to celebrate and discuss the role of people in technology.

NBC News reports the event was co-founded by husband and wife duo Felecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson. The couple began their love for innovation and new wave technology when they created 'Code Fever' in 2014, an organization devoted to teaching young Black youth how to code. The conference aims to increase the amount of people of color in technology and start-up companies. Hatcher and Pearson also plan to change the conversation surrounding the African-Americans and encourage tech creativity during Black History Month.

The event kicked off Monday (Feb 15) and concludes this Sunday (Feb 20.)

Black Tech Week comes as numbers were released this year showing the disparaging make up in Silicon Valley. While the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in America is Black women, people of color make up 9 percent of the technology industry and less than 1 percent of technology company founders, The Miami Herald reports.

Hatcher and Person plan to change this with speakers from tech and media companies like Metalayer and Maybach Music Group. Other speakers include Trick Daddy, former Twitter engineer Leslie Miley and White House policy advisor Dr. Marvin Carr.
Miley, who was the only African-American in a leadership position at the company cited his departure last year over diversity issues. Hatcher shared the importance of speaking out the untapped talent Silicon Valley has failed to explore.

"We have amazing genius and raw talent in our communities," Hatcher said about the event. Clarence Wooten, the founder of VentureFund.io, also shared the importance of spreading innovation awareness. "Black Tech Week is a very important event for a number of different reasons, Wooten said.  "There is a perception that blacks aren't creators of tech. The diversity discussion in Silicon Valley illustrates that perception. The 12-year old boy and girl programmers in our community must have positive examples of success to be inspired by, and the greater tech community can take notice"

Clarence Wooten, the founder of VentureFund.io, also shared the importance of spreading innovation awareness. "Black Tech Week is a very important event for a number of different reasons, Wooten said.  "There is a perception that blacks aren't creators of tech. The diversity discussion in Silicon Valley illustrates that perception. The 12-year old boy and girl programmers in our community must have positive examples of success to be inspired by, and the greater tech community can take notice"

In addition to having an agreed love for technology empowerment, the conference hopes to make Miami the premiere hub for people of color wanting to jump into technology.

Check out more details behind Black Tech Week here.

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J. Prince Gets YBN Almighty Jay’s Stolen Rap-A-Lot-Records Chain Back

YBN Almighty Jay can thank J. Prince for stepping in to get his stolen chain back. The Rap-A-Lot Records boss secured the return of the jewelry days after his teenage protégé was beaten and robbed in New York City.

French Montana, and rapper Hocus 45th, met with Prince in Los Angeles on Monday (March 18) night to return the chain, and accompanying pendant. French played middleman to get J. Prince and Hocus 45th in the same room, TMZ reports.

J Prince shared a photo from the meeting on Instagram. “Real recognizes real in every hood and has a way of connecting in spite of clowns and squares,” he captioned the post. “The homies from the Bronx, KT, @hocus45th and @frenchmontana kept it real with me and my son @jprincejr.”

The Houston native added that French and Hocus are officially welcomed into his #MobTies movement, and that he looks forward to “doing business in the future together.”

Peep the full post below.

 

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Real recognizes real in every hood and has a way of connecting in spite of clowns and squares. - - The homies from the Bronx, KT, @hocus45th and @frenchmontana kept it real with me and my son @jprincejr - - Tho it was never about the chain, it was about the name that was built off of blood sweat and tears. - - I welcome these brothers to our #MobTies movement and look forward to us doing business in the future together. - - There’s power in numbers and when strong brothers from the streets align themselves with one another, suckas tremble. So I can only imagine how some of you are feeling right now! - - I’ve invited these homies to #htown for @jprincejr birthday celebration March 28-31, 2019 and I look forward to coming to the Bronx soon. - - The big picture here is the same as I stated in my first post, to not allow moment thinkers to muddy the waters over the movement. - - To @ybnalmightyjay I’ll be returning your jewelry soon Lil homie. - - To be continued... #TheArtAndScienceOfRespect

A post shared by J Prince (@jprincerespect) on Mar 19, 2019 at 10:16am PDT

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8-Year-Old Nigerian Chess Champion's Big Win Helps His Family Out Of Homelessness

An 8-year-old Nigerian chess prodigy is helping his family out of homelessness. Tanitoluwa “ Tani” Adewumi, won the New York State Scholastic Chess Championship last week, beating out more than 70 of the state’s top young chess players, all while living in a homeless shelter.

Tani, who was recently profiled in the New York Times, and his family fled Nigeria in 2017, reportedly out of fear of being targeted by Boko Haram. The family applied for asylum, and have since been living in a New York shelter.

The third grader learned to play chess a year ago at his elementary school, P.S. 116. Tani’s coach, Russell Makofsky marveled at his ability to learn chess so quickly. "His intellect, his aptitude, his capacity to learn chess is off the charts,” Makofsky said. “From not playing to beating the best of the best in one year is unheard of, all while living in a homeless shelter.”

Tani has been getting a lot of attention for his big win. A GoFundMe page launched on March 15 with a goal of raising $50,000 to help Tani’s family “secure a home where he can continue his journey,” has raised more than $182,000. An attorney has also agreed to work on the family’s asylum case for free, CBS News reports.

The family now plans to move into an apartment, and posted an update on the GoFundMe page Tuesday (March 19) sharing their gratitude for the donations, Tani’s chess coach, and the media for publicizing the story. “Our big shout out to the whole WORLD for all your support financially, morally, spiritually and many more can't [be] mentioned. You are all awesome. God bless you all.”

According to the post, proceeds from the crowdfunding effort will be donated to a new foundation that the family will be starting in Tani's name.

See more on his story below.

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Janelle Monae, Lil Wayne To Perform At Lollapalooza 2019

Janelle Monae, Lil Wayne, Team Imapala, Slash, and J. Balvin are among the artists who will be taking the stage for Lollapalooza 2019, festival organizers revealed Tuesday (March 19).

Lolla's partial performance list was unveiled in a nearly 14:00-minute interactive video featuring dogs up for adoption at PAWS Chicago. The pups move around in a makeshift playpen filled with plastic balls that reveal the images of the acts billed to perform at this year’s festival. The list also includes, Lil Baby and his “Close Friends” collaborator, Gunna, along with Lil Skies, French artist Madeon, Spanish singer ROSALÍA, electronic act Yaeji, and Australian dance group Rufus Du Sol.

Lollapalooza returns to Chicago’s Grant Park Aug. 1-4. It’s unclear when the full list of performers will be announced. As for tickets, 4-day general admission passes are on sale for $360 a pop, while VIP tickets will run music fans $2,200. One-day general admission passes haven't gone on sale yet but will cost $130 each, and a single-day VIP ticket comes with a $650 price tag.

Click here for ticketing info. Watch video of the lineup unveil below.

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