Just when we thought last year’s AfroTech took the cake, this year Blavity came even stronger with a whole lot more celebs, people, and fun. Black Enterprise was in full attendance and here is the recap, broken down into categories.
When you arrived, you were greeted by a line that was almost three blocks long. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen this many black folks in San Francisco, center-focused around one location.
After you entered the building, you were immediately hit with swag―you get a backpack, you get a backpack, you get a backpack.
Once the conference started, Blavity CEO Morgan DeBaun greeted the audience. Then, almost immediately, everyone was broken into tracks that consisted of engineering, marketing, and entrepreneurship.
Morgan DeBaun (Image: Instagram/James Nwobu)
I headed down to marketing to see what was poppin’ and was asked by track host Everette Taylor to participate in a game of “Marketing Family Feud.” Our team lost promptly by way of my answer. Sorry, guys.
After leaving the track, I began to roam around. One thing I noticed was every tech vendor had a photo station, so I stopped at Netflix, Twitter, and WeWork and got my ‘gram game up.
WeWork Photo Booth Station (Image: Instagram/James Nwobu)
Almost immediately, I started seeing celebs who were beyond approachable. Kehlani floated around the vendor station for a while as people stopped her for pics. Chamillionaire had very long, detailed conversations with attendees on some supernormal, “I’m just chillin’” type of vibes. When I spoke to him briefly, he was like, “I need to swing by this engineer track and recruit some folks.” Indeed.
Jesse Williams came Day 2 and launched his new app ‘Blebrity’ aka Black Celebrity; he proceeded to play the largest, blackest trivia game on the planet to a crowd of 2,000 people.
Chamillionaire (Image: Instagram/James Nwobu)
These were the blackest food trucks I’ve ever seen, from soul food to Caribbean. I opted for the soul food plate, which consisted of macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and a chicken sandwich.
The lounge stations were backdropped by DJs and there were friends everywhere, and even if they weren’t friends, they became friends. It was like an HBCU homecoming, or so I’ve heard. I went to a private Jesuit university, but I digress.
Let me not forget to mention that Bozoma Saint John vibed out to Cardi B and highlighted her leadership capabilities. Yaaaassss! Come through Bodak Yellow. Send us the word.
Oh, the parties—there were so many parties. I had to check in with myself like, “Am I at SXSW, or nah?” Lyft had a party, there was a party at the host hotel and a party at John Colins Lounge, and two, I repeat two, official after-parties hosted by Toasted Life. The other one was so sold out that they had to create a part deux.
This conference had too much sauce.