Why #AfroTech16 Made Me Think of Melting Ice Cream

Have you ever bought an ice cream cone in a particularly hot climate, say Miami on a July day?

And have you ever forgotten to grab those napkins because you were in such a hurry to devour the delicious ice cream in front of you? Or you didn’t get that spoon to help you consume it?

Do you remember what happened next? Rapid melt. So quickly and without warning that you’re caught off-guard doing this hand dance to prevent the ice cream from covering your iPhone in your right hand and your new ring on the other.

That melt, overbearing and fast approaching, is analogous to how I felt hearing the hustle of some of the most influential and inspirational leaders I have ever seen, while at Blavity’s AfroTech 2016.

Let me explain…

Have you ever spoken to someone who is so on into their grind, that you feel like you should do this awkward tango with them in conversation to meet them at their level? Or that you see such a sense of urgency in their speech and movement, you want to run back and grab those proverbial napkins, not to wipe the ice cream, but to take notes? Or you see speakers that move so swiftly and smoothly through explaining their venture, you look up and say, wait, what just happened? Where’d my ice cream go?

That is what I mean.

Their hustle is melting ice cream. It makes the person (me in this case) consuming it feel unprepared, overwhelmed, and uncomfortable because I wasn’t ready. I honestly wasn’t ready to see that many people of color (500+) killing the game. There aren’t many safe spaces where we are able to come together to share our successes and build on one another in the mainstream. I was consistently caught off guard with each conversation…

“Oh, you just got accepted to Y Combinator? …Cool.

“Oh, you just raised a $500 million fund? …Oh, ok.

“You said you have how many users on your platform? …Wow.

I was so impressed with the humility and hustle in that room; so impressed. I am so inspired to get to work on the recipe to my own ice cream.

The CEO of YCombinator, Michael Seibel said something I’d like to leave everyone with: “…you all should have equity in this world.

Kudos to the Blavity AfroTech 2016 team for reminding us that the ice cream will melt, if we don’t roll up our sleeves quickly and dive in.