Catch “Notes from a Young Black Chef” author Kwame Onwuachi at SXSW 2020

10 SXSW Sessions to Honor MLK Day

The Forrest Four-Cast: January 19, 2020

Hugh Forrest
Jan 19 · 3 min read

In honor of Martin Luther King Day 2020, let’s examine 10 of the most interesting sessions that tackle diversity and inclusion at this year’s SXSW.

Advancing Diversity, Gender Representation in News (March 14). This panel will feature media professionals leading their organizations’ efforts to adapt journalistic and newsroom practices to advance diversity and gender representation. These experts will share lessons learned, progress made, and what needs to be accomplished next.

Big Brother Is Racist: Surveillance vs. Persons of Color (Date TBA). This panel will address how surveillance and surveillance technologies, historically and currently, have been disproportionately deployed against persons of color. Speakers include sociopolitical comedian and Emmy Award winning CNN documentarian W. Kamau Bell.

Diversity & Inclusion: Buzzword, Movement, or BS? (March 13). Most tech companies employ less than 5% of people of color. Join Black Tech Unplugged, hosted by Deena McKay, to discuss why diversity and inclusion is still a buzzword, what the initiative means for black people, and how everyone can help move diversity and inclusion into a movement.

The Evolution of Blackness in Geek Culture Meet Up (March 17). Come to this meet up to explore how Black culture is at the forefront of trends and fandoms and learn how the influence of voices such as “Black Twitter” and Blerd (black+nerd) contingents have propelled the entertainment industry to new heights.

The Evolution of Diversity in Advertising (March 18): During turbulent political times, marketing visuals carry more weight than ever and have the power to change hearts and minds with their message. A lot has been done to accurately represent diverse groups, but many will argue that it hasn’t been enough. So how do we build on this momentum and make true representation the norm?

The Future of Cannabis is Black and Brown (March 19): The lack of diversity and equity in ownership and all aspects of cannabis is well documented and lamented among advocates, policymakers, and community alike. This session will focus on strategies and practical tactics to reverse this problem and create a racially equitable industry.

Inclusivity in Podcasting Meet Up (March 17): Wondering where all the women, people of color, and non-binary folks in podcasting are? Join us for a powerful hour of connection with a focus on inclusivity in this fast-growing medium.

Notes From a Young Black Chef with Kwame Onwuachi (Date TBA). Learn how Onwuachi turned failure into success as an entrepreneur, fought institutional racism in the culinary world, and how he is now transitioning his hit memoir, “Notes From a Young Black Chef,” into a Hollywood film adaptation with actor Lakeith Stanfield.

The Power of BLK & Why You Best Never Sleep On It (March 13): There’s more to Black culture than fashion, music, and sports. Our preoccupation on “marketing to minorities” misses the incredible impact minorities have had on “majority” marketing. In this solo presentation, Darien Labeach of Huge will explore how everything from Black parenting styles to Black tourism trends and more have impacted “majority marketing.”

Taking Up Space: Black Womxn Reclaim Their Stories (March 13): This panel will discuss how young Black womxn creatives are reclaiming and retelling the stories of their communities when no one else will.

Tweeting While Black: You in Danger, Girl… (March 13). Twitter represents a frenetic dichotomy for black women. On one hand, Twitter is a place to converse publicly and build community. On the other hand, it can be an incredibly dangerous space for black women. A 2018 Amnesty International study found that black women are Twitter’s most targeted group. Come to this session to explore the present and future for black women in the world of 280 characters.

Find more incredible content at SXSW 2020 by browsing the online schedule. Use the search bar at the top right part of the interface to search on the topics that most appeal to you.

Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.

Hugh Forrest

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Celebrating creativity at SXSW. Also, reading reading reading, the Boston Red Sox, good food, exercise when possible and sleep sleep sleep.

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