How this Founder’s Vision Created Unparalleled Access for Black Voices in Media

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Morgan DeBaun changed the world for black millennials. In 2014, as a 24-year-old visionary, she saw the need for a media platform and brand that would share authentic stories and news about America’s underrepresented voices and their accomplishments. She wanted this generation of young people of color to stay on top of issues that matter to them, to see and share examples of amazing people doing important things in the black community, and to provide more opportunities to show humanity. DeBaun’s recognition of this need turned into Blavity Inc., the leading digital media company for black culture and millennials.

At first, Blavity was a small business as DeBaun still had another full-time job in the tech industry. “I kept my full-time job at Intuit, but I spent all my nights and weekends working on Blavity. We started with a curated video newsletter and eventually made a website which was just the start. What ultimately prompted me to quit Intuit and commit to Blavity full-time was the lack of coverage from black media companies after Michael Brown’s death. DeBaun explained. “There was a huge information gap between what I saw happening on the ground in St. Louis and what I saw in the mainstream media. I wanted to have a positive impact on our community and build a brand that could help the voices of our generation drive progress and tell our stories. Our momentum started in 2014 with a single black news site that has now grown into a digital media ecosystem with a monthly reach of over 100 million people and 100 partner companies per year.

DeBaun’s mission was to provide resources to black millennials and since the launch of Blavity, the media platform has not only established itself as a leader in information and digital products, but also as a valuable resource for entrepreneurs. blacks and small business owners. The unique business model combines a decidedly black media and tech company with branded digital content distribution and a social impact organization, all focused on engaging black millennials and Gen Z audiences. Additionally, Blavity created a space for black thought leaders, innovators and the black community at large to see themselves reflected in the media and to feel empowered to effect change.

“We are hosting a series of conferences and summits aimed at providing black founders with resources and a network of advisers, who have served over 15,000 people in the past year. We have advocated for black small business owners through our media coverage of Blavity Inc. and through our creation of events for entrepreneurs to learn new skills, including AfroTech and Summit21. With every story, every activation and every event, we’ve always made it our first priority to create something that helps our community take advantage of new opportunities for a better future, ”explained DeBaun. “Our corporate mission is to advance black happiness. We think about happiness in different ways. One of them is economic freedom and empowerment, and being able to own your own destiny, to own your own destiny. own voice, owning your own story. So for me the stories I’m most proud of are the ones where we’re the first to cover a small business owner, a local hero, or anyone making a big change. we stand up as a community of their peers and say “We are with you, we are with you, you don’t need anyone else to tell you that you are amazing, you don’t need general validation that you made it. We see you, we have you and we will sell your business / services. ‘ We often make stories go viral because people use Blavity as their primary source of information, which is how we were designed, which is why we started this company.

Under the aegis of Blavity, DeBaun created AfroTech, the largest Black Tech conference connecting a global community of over 20,000 Black Tech innovators through a series of digital and in-person events filled with dynamic programming on emerging trends, networking opportunities with leaders from industry and conversations with top tech recruiters. “This year, our AfroTech conference is a multi-day experience bringing together leaders in entertainment and technology, including the AfroTech virtual world and a series of in-person events in various locations. The digital experience includes multiprogramming stages, an exhibition hall with over 100 corporate sponsors and recruiters, networking events and activations. We will also have AfroTech Music and AfroTech Executive. AT Music brings together leaders from the entertainment and tech industries for a music and networking experience focused on growing our black tech community. AT Executive brings together business executives, venture capitalists, angel investors, startup founders, and tech moguls for two days of programming and networking. We’ve seen entrepreneurs meet through AfroTech and later start a business together, people meet recruiters and get hired for life-changing work, mentees meet their mentors, small business owners meet new people. future investors and products find their distributors. The connections that are made at this conference and the community that is created are truly one of a kind, ”she explained.

She also created Summit21, the annual event of Blavity’s premier female lifestyle brand, 21Ninety. According to DeBaun, 21Ninety was born out of the belief that it takes 21 days to make a habit and 90 days to create a lifestyle. The brand therefore focuses on advising and inspiring its audience and subscribers to live their best lives. The two-day virtual experience will be offered for free this year, with a focus on empowering entrepreneurs, creatives and small business owners to work smarter, not harder, to master work / life balance. elusive that we all strive for while achieving their personal and professional goals. Speakers this year include Tyra Banks, Sarah Jakes Roberts, acclaimed publicist Erica Tucker, entrepreneur Olori Swank and personal development coach Alena Conley, Netflix’s Danielle Cadet, Ronne Brown and Blake Gifford.

DeBaun also acts as an advisor to influential global brands and companies including Disney, American Airlines, CES, Pantora Bridal and Rosen Skincare, and often partners with Blavity with major brands to help them authentically reach audiences. black. Blavity recently collaborated with Sephora on a campaign to celebrate the beauty and radiance of blacks, with Mastercard to co-host virtual activations to explore how to deal with a financial system that has systematically disadvantaged and excluded black communities and that has proliferated racial wealth and the opportunity gap, with Hulu to share stories to continue the fight against racial inequalities and with Amazon on a partnership to promote the tech professions.

Not intending to slow down Blavity’s growth, DeBaun has exciting plans for the future. “We’re excited to continue doing what we do best: building community, telling stories, and empowering black people economically. In 2020, we launched our own streaming site, Lunch table, which offers hours of live content per day, and has hired a content distribution and partnerships manager to expand our production and storytelling capabilities, ”she explained. “Our nonprofit, Blavity.org, was launched in May with a mission to advance the black economy through entrepreneurial scholarship programs that include grants, education and mentorship and I am thrilled to continue to develop these programs and this organization. We have just started! “



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