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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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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Is Expected To Make $64 Million Opening Weekend

Thanks to Us, Jordan Peele has another blockbuster on his hands. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the highly-anticipated horror flick starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex, is expected to have a $64 million opening weekend at the domestic box office.

Peele’s sophomore horror film earned an impressive $7.4 million on Thursday (March 21) night previews, and is forecasted to take in about $27 million from Friday sales. The film is also on pace to knock Captain Marvel out of the No. 1 spot at the box office.

Once final numbers are tallied, Us will likely snatch the third-best opening weekend record for an R-rated horror film behind It, which brought in a whopping $123.4 million, followed by Halloween’s $76.2 million opening weekend last year.

Aside from rave reviews and a genius promo run that included simultaneous screenings in major media markets, Us earned a 95 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film, set in the mid-1980s centers around a family of four who set off on a vacation that finds them confronting some familiar faces.

Peele recently spoke to VIBE about casting Duke (our April 2019 cover star) in the role of patriarch, Gabe Wilson. “I have to have somebody voice what the audience was saying,” he said. “In the case of Get Out, it’s Rod, like, ‘How have you not left yet?’ [In Us], Winston is largely that voice. There’s one moment where Lupita [Nyong’o] takes a step into the unknown, where black people [will think], ‘I don’t know.’ But to have Winston say, ‘Aaaand she left. Your mother just walked out of the car.’ That’s all we need.”

Duke also opened up about the intricacies of his character. “His function isn’t to see through the veil. His function is to tell the absolute truth how he sees it,” explained the 32-year-old actor. “He’s sometimes there to say the things that other people don’t want to say, but he’s also there to make fun of things to keep it from not getting too heavy, even though it’s real. That was my job. [Peele] respected that. I like to lean into functions. If I’m going to be your antagonist, I’m gonna really push you. If I’m gonna be your clown, funny guy, I’m gonna do that.”

Click here to read VIBE’s April 2019 cover story.

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Cardi B Explains Why She Wants To Trademark “Okurrr”

Cardi B hopes to secure as many “bags” as possible. In response to backlash and burning questions surrounding her decision to file to trademark “okurrr,” the 26-year-old rapper took to social media Friday (March 22) to defend her latest money move.

Since people tend to ask Bardi to use what has become her signature catch phrase, she figured that it was time to cash in. “You think I ain’t gonna’ profit off this sh*t? B*tch white folks do it all the motherf**king time,” she said. “So you gon’ be mad at me ‘cuz I want to get some motherf**king money?

“While I’m still hear I’ma secure all the fucking bags,” Cardi continued before adding that there are a “lot of ways to get rich” in 2019.

The Bronx native caught heat for wanting to trademark the word because she wasn’t the first to say “okurrr.” Cardi already revealed that she started using it after she heard Khloe Kardashian saying it, but the word was originally popularized in drag culture -- most notably by Rupaul’s Drage Race contestant Laganja Estranja, in 2014.

However, Rupaul attributed the word to Broadway actress, Laura Bell Bundy, who used it in YouTube skits dating back to 2010. In the skits, Bundy pretends to be a hairdresser named “Shocantelle Brown.”

Although Bundy caught criticism for her little character, which was deemed racist, she typically gets credit for bringing “okrrr” (different spelling) to the internet a full decade before Cardi made it mainstream.

No matter the origin, it looks like Cardi will be the only one profiting off of “okurrr.”

 

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#CardiB on why she decided to trademark “Okurr”

A post shared by the Jasmine BRAND (@thejasminebrand_) on Mar 22, 2019 at 5:32pm PDT

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Kanye West, EMI Working Towards Private Settlement

Kanye West and EMI could be close to settling their legal drama. Each party filed documents requesting a stay of the case to “explore the potential for a resolution,” The Blast reports.

West sued EMI in an effort to “gain freedom” from his contract, and to own his publishing. In the lawsuit, ‘Ye argued that his contract ended in 2010 under California law, which bars entertainers from being tethered to an agreement for more than seven years. The multi-Grammy winner, who signed the deal back in 2003, also accused the company of slavery because the contract doesn’t allow him to retire.

“Even if the contract were not lopsided in EMI’s favor (it is), even if its terms valued Mr. West’s artistic contributions in line with the spectacular success he has achieved for EMI (they do not), and even if EMI had not underpaid Mr. West what it owes him (EMI has), he would be entitled to be set free from its bonds,” the lawsuit reads.

EMI hit back with a countersuit filed in New York, instead of California. The suit pointed out that the 41-year-old rapper signed multiple contract extensions, in addition to accepting millions in advances.

According to The Blast, West and EMI now feel that putting a hold on the legal proceedings will be beneficial to both sides “and the Court by enabling the parties to engage in meaningful discussions in an attempt to resolve this action without having to incur the burden and expense of litigation and motion practice.”

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