The leaders of Black Tech Week recently announced the first Keynote Speaker of this year’s event.
Producer, actor and entrepreneur Issa Rae will join other innovators and experts as part of the weekend-long conference scheduled from July 18 to 20.
Serving as the Keynote Speaker, Rae is set to share her experiences in the media industry as founder of the media company HOORAE. Created in 2020, HOORAE is the production company that includes all of her media projects, including the acclaimed comedy-drama “Insecure.”
Rae will also speak about diversity in the tech industry. The writer has been vocal about creating new spaces for Black women in the tech space.
Rae has previously shown her support through investments in Black women-owned tech companies. In 2019, she first announced a minority stake in a streaming media data and analytics business founded by entrepreneur Angela Benton known as Streamlytics.
“We’re looking forward to hosting Issa Rae as our keynote speaker for Black Tech Week 2023,” said the CEO of Lightship Foundation, Candice Matthews Brackeen, per a statement. “Her dedication to promoting diversity in the tech industry along with her remarkable achievements in entertainment, truly embody the spirits of solidarity and success so central to the Black Tech Week experience.”
“It’s going to be an inspiring and unforgettable event,” she added.
Created by Delecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson in 2013 and acquired by the Lightship Foundation in 2022, the Cincinnati-based event focuses on advocating for more support and funding for Black tech entrepreneurs.
Through speeches, events, workshops and other networking opportunities, the expo has generated over seven million dollars in tech revenue in the Cincinnati region, according to the leaders.
“Black Tech Week is a celebration of the Black excellence we see every day in our work with startup founders of color, while also serving as a meaningful catalyst for their enrichment and growth,” said Brackeen in a statement. “Our journeys as entrepreneurs, investors, professionals and creatives within the innovation economy, while highly individual and personal, are all confronted with similar challenges — so Lightship works hard to make Black Tech Week a space and time for our community to connect, recharge and reset.”
At last year’s tech convention in Cincinnati, tennis superstar Serena Williams served as the keynote speaker, speaking about her investment firm Serena Ventures.
At this year’s Black Tech Week festival, Brackeen, Aisha Bowe, Brian Brackeen, Everette Taylor, Detavio Samuels and Felecia Hatcher are also set to speak alongside Rae.