20 Black People in Tech You Should Know [Update]

20 Black People in Tech You Should Know [Update]

Today is STEM day, so we at The Root wanted to celebrate Black people in tech you need to know

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Image for article titled 20 Black People in Tech You Should Know [Update]
Photo: Courtesy of Jones Mays II, Courtesy of N’Gai Croal, Image: Screen grab from Dallasinnovates.com (Other)

If technology is the future, Black people are already making their mark in the industry, creating and investing in companies that will shape the world around us. Here are some of the current geniuses to know.

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Jones Mays II

Jones Mays II

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Photo: Screen grab from Thebuzzmagazines.com (Other)

Jones Mays II is the creator of the app, Ivy. Ivy is used to identify and observe invasive vines. The app was inspired by his late grandfather’s garden which constantly dealt with kudzu threatening the growth of the plants.

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Delane Parnell

Delane Parnell

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Photo: Screen grab from Forbes.com (Other)

Delane Parnell is the Founder and CEO of PlayVS, an Esports web app used in schools to organize competitions, leagues, stats, scouting, roster management, and more.

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Damilola Awofisayo

Damilola Awofisayo

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Photo: Screen grab from Robertsonscholars.org (Other)

Damilola Awofisayo created the non-profit hackathon, TecHacks. This is an all-female and nonbinary student virtual hackathon that connects people from over 60 countries to create programs through computer science.

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Adam Taylor

Adam Taylor

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Image: Courtesy of Jenny Chang and Adam Taylor

Adam Taylor is the creator of the app, Black. This app is used to curate personalized Black news feeds keeping in mind the reader’s mental health.

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Jay-Z

Jay-Z

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Photo: Paras Griffin / Contributor (Getty Images)

Jay-Z has recently made some interesting investment moves, bridging the gap between entertainment and tech. In 2021, his investment firm Marcy Venture Partners took a stake in spacial LABS in an effort to make the metaverse easier to access for young creators.

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Morehouse Hackathon Team

Morehouse Hackathon Team

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Image: Screen grab from Morehouse.edu (Other)

Don’t let the cute faces fool you, these Black hackers are nothing less than badass. Morehouse students Kevin Drew ‘24, Elijah Truitt ‘24, and Trent Gaylord ‘24 won the 7th Annual BE Smart Hackathon, competing against 19 other HBCU teams. The project presented by the men of Morehouse was a luggage-tag app for checking luggage. Listen, these young men will one day rule the world, and we can’t wait to remind you that we said so.

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Songe Laron

Songe Laron

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Photo: Randy Shropshire / Stringer (Getty Images)

Songe Laron is the CEO and Co-founder of Squire Technologies, a system for barbershop management. The software makes it easier for barber shops to book appointments, send customers notifications, instant pay, create waiver forms, and more.

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Timnit Gebru

Timnit Gebru

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Photo: Kimberly White / Stringer (Getty Images)

Timnit Gebru is a computer scientist and the founder and executive director of DAIR, an AI research institute that was created after she was fired from Google in 2020 for raising concerns about discrimination in AI projects.

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Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre

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Photo: Amy Sussman / Staff (Getty Images)

Dr. Dre co-created Beats by Dre, introducing the first line of headphones in 2008. Dre wanted Beats to have audio quality at the same level as studio artists. He made a deal with Apple in 2014 that made him one of the richest hip-hop artists in the industry.

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Sheloman Byrd

Sheloman Byrd

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Photo: Frazer Harrison / Staff (Getty Images)

Sheloman Byrd is the Executive Producer of External Development at Warner Bros. Discovery. One of his biggest projects is MultiVersus, a game platform that allows you to play with characters from tv shows, video games, and movies all in one place.

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N’Gai Croal

N’Gai Croal

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Photo: Courtesy of N’Gai Croal

N’Gai Croal is the Editorial Director for Microsoft Game Dev. Famous in the gaming world, this former Newsweek writer oversees Microsoft’s online hub devoted to game creators, game development and game dev culture. A devoted father and husband, N’Gai is also a Twitter king. Hail to you N’Gai!

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Felicia Williams

Felicia Williams

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Image: Screen grab from Wonderwomentech (Other)

Felicia Williams is the UX Director at Google and was previously the Design Director for Twitter and a Creative Strategist for Facebook.

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Arlan Hamilton

Arlan Hamilton

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Photo: Rachel Murray / Stringer (Getty Images)

Arlan Hamilton is the Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, which raises funds and invests in POC, women, and/or LGBT founders in tech.

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Damon Packwood

Damon Packwood

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Image: Screen grab from Csueastbay.edu (Other)

Damon Packwood is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Gameheads, a tech training program for young people. They teach their students how to code, design, lead, and more, preparing them for school and future careers.

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Christina Lewis

Christina Lewis

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Image: Screen grab from Audible.com (Other)

Christina Lewis is the daughter of Reginald F. Lewis, the first African American to build a billion-dollar company. She is the founder of All Star Code, a non-profit organization teaching young men of color how to code.

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Tope Awotona

Tope Awotona

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Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Contributor (Getty Images)

Tope Awotona is the Founder and CEO of Calendly, a software company used to make scheduling meetings a more organized process. His current net worth since creating the software is more than a billion dollars.

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Troy Carter

Troy Carter

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Photo: DON EMMERT / Contributor (Getty Images)

Troy Carter was Lady Gaga’s first talent manager and used his expertise to become the CEO and Founder of Q&A, a technology and media company that develops tech for the music industry through analytics, services, and distribution. He also made brilliant investments in Twitter and other tech companies.

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Latoya Peterson

Latoya Peterson

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Image: Screen grab from Insights.journalists.org (Other)

LaToya Peterson is the Co-Founder, CXO, and Director for the Culture for Glow Up Games, which created a way to tell stories about Black and brown people on mobile devices through AI and Virtual Reality.

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Christopher Young

Christopher Young

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Image: Screen grab from Winaero.com (Other)

Christopher Young is the Executive Vice President of Business Development at Microsoft. He is in charge of bringing partnerships and investments to Microsoft to drive growth.

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Angela Benton

Angela Benton

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Photo: Amanda Edwards / Contributor (Getty Images)

Angela Benton is the Founder and CEO of Streamlytics, a data technology company that brings ethics back into data collection. Streamlytics helps its users to apply data to its branding, target consumer engagement, and give them an edge over competitors.

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