10 Black Women Taking the Tech World by Storm

by Arielle Loren

With the debut of CNN’s Black in America 4, there’s been an increase in mainstream discussion about the number of Black American entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. While some critics argue that the series overlooked Black Americans’ history of achievement in technology development, there’s certainly a dire lack of minorities holding high leadership positions within the field. Worse than Black men, Black women are painstakingly absent from the limelight of the technology world, as Ursula Burns, the Chairwoman and CEO of Xerox, remains one of our only mainstream figures of hope. But there’s good news, as the 10 women below are building technology startups, brands, and consulting businesses that are changing the present and looking to reshape the future. What better way to support our sisters than to celebrate their achievements? Share this article and uplift the message that Black women in technology are already in the trenches and prepared to take the tech world by storm.

Angela Benton is the founder of Black Web Media, which serves as the publisher of the popular technology and innovation website, Black Web 2.0. After noticing an absence of discourse on the web targeted to Black Americans interested in the technology world, Benton chose to create a space for Black Americans to receive news, resources, and affirmation. More recently, she founded the New Media Entrepreneurship Conference, which aims to diversify the current Internet economy with programs like the NewMEAccelerator. Co-founded by Benton and tech entrepreneur Wayne Sutton, the Accelerator is the feature of CNN’s Black in America 4, as eight Black entrepreneurs, including Benton and Sutton, attempt to get funding and mentorship in Silicon Valley. Benton is the recipient of numerous accolades and awards, including being named as one of FastCompany’s Most Influential Women in Technology for 2010, one of Ebony Magazines’ Power 150, and Woman of Power honoree by the National Urban League. Follow Angela on Twitter @abenton and support her trailblazing endeavors!

Arielle Patrice Scott and Danielle Leslie are two of the co-founders of GenJuice, an emerging content discovery platform for Generation Y. After originally launching GenJuice as a nationwide tour spreading the good news of entrepreneurship to the younger generation, the two along with their third co-founder Virgilia Kaur Singh, quickly gained attention in the technology world. Scott and Leslie are graduates of the University of California Berkley, and featured in numerous esteemed publications for their undeniable talents in new media and technology. GenJuice is currently in beta testing and open for you to give it a try. Discover it at GenJuice.com

Corvida Raven is a technology consultant and advisor to major brands on everything social media. She is the co-founder of Everything Twitter (Search and Social Award Winner), Community Catalyst for TED, and Social Media Advisor to Intel. She pens the blog, SheGeeks.net to inform readers of various social media happenings and mobile technologies. The young twenty-something has worked as a Social Media Specialist for GM’s Chevrolet Volt Unplugged Tour, along with serving as the Community Manager for FastCompany, The Standard, and ReadWriteWeb. Follow Corvida on Twitter @corvida to get the latest news and reviews of technology innovation.


Deanna “DeDe” Sutton
is a technology entrepreneur in her own right, focusing on the content demands of young women of color across the globe. If you enjoy reading Clutch or CoCo & Crème, Sutton is the founder of these two publications, which have grown to become forces on the Internet through breaking news and social commentary. With a background in marketing, Sutton understood the value of building a digital content platform for years, before bigger editorial brands hopped on the bandwagon. Now, she’s sought as an expert in the field of Black new media, securing major online advertising deals, and leading other publications to the light.

  • sunshyne84

    Yall coulda put Deanna first.

  • African Mami

    Oh my, Ms. Henry!!!! I remember having seen her on youtube way back in the day and she was talking about “blogging and money” and I was so clueless as to what she was on about. Great to be reacquainted with her on a blog and see her doing well.

    Deanna….making moves mami! Keep up the good work! Don’t conform please, continue to be a trailblazer…

  • http://homespunwisdom.wordpress.com/ Jamila

    I’m adding all these women who have blogs to my blogroll. It’s nice to see black women in fields where we have been underrepresented for so long.

  • http://www.angstandhumor.blogspot.com Shiks

    Ory Okolloh,Policy Manager for Google Africa.

  • Chanda

    Janine Bell of supportblackbusinesses.com

  • MarloweOverShakespeare

    You can also catch Lizz Burr at VerySmartBrothas.com every now and then!
    Thanks for the awesome post Arielle!

  • MarloweOverShakespeare

    I haven’t been able to find anything on this website! Have you? Is it a user-contribution site where viewers recommend black businesses?

  • LJF

    Currently working with Ms. Henry – can’t say enough good things about her.

  • Guest

    This is a great list, however I’m not sure if I would have titled it taking the tech world by storm. That’s a bit misleading. The list mainly consists of technology journalists/bloggers, social media consultants, 1 technologist and 1 incubator. I don’t want to split hairs but if we are going to improve the number of women and minorities in STEM we need to make the distinction between technologists/engineers and those in journalism,marketing and business development. I was expecting to see a list of 10 female inventors,scientists and engineers.

    I think a more appropriate title would be taking the Social Media world by storm or either been to split the list into tech journalists and entrepreneurs. Again it’s a fantastic list and all of the women on it are to be commended.

  • http://www.baristaonduty.com BaristaOnDutY

    Love Seeing Articles, & Publishing Like This! Hats Off To You All!! & To The Readers Stay Inspired, With That You Can Do It Too Attitude! Good Stuff! Blessings To You All |_|B

  • Reality Check

    I 100% agree. I was going to say the same thing, but its great to see these ladies doing their thing.
    I think the fact that most of these women aren’t seriously techies, speaks volumes to the amount of black women in that field. Where I am right now is an Oasis (all black female school). I know that as soon as I graduate and get a job, I won’t be seeing a lot of me’s.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/LisaMabrySpeaks LisaMabrySpeaks

    Elated to see black women who have been doing the tech thang getting some well deserved recognition in the mainstream. It’s tough being one of a sprinkle of black people in tech in the room at various times – yet we forge on for our passion. Much love and support here.

  • http://lizburr.com Liz

    Haha!! Thanks for the VSB shoutout :)

  • http://tiffanybbrown.com tiffany

    +1 and I consider about half of these women friends. Some of these women are coders and engineers. Liz has some experience with it. Tiffani has a CS degree. Some of these other women, however, are more marketing and writing focused. That isn’t to say they aren’t talented. But it is to say that writing and marketing tech does not make you a techie.

    And since I know most of these women and have seen their names on similar tech lists, I will also suggest to Clutch that it broaden its circle. There are other black women in tech.

  • http://www.clutchmagazine.com Clutch

    Thanks for your comments. We don’t want to take away from the women on this list – as we are proud of each and every one of them.

    This is only one article – and if you have any suggestions for other women to feature that are coders/other techies – please email us @ [email protected] – and we will be happy to compile another list that gives additional love to other black women in tech to look out for. We know there is more – but it’s not always easy to find them.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.sistasense.com/category/web-tools-i-use/ LaSanda Henry

    This is cool. Glad to be included among this list of ambitious women. -lh

  • http://www.womenaregamechangers.com Women Are Gamechangers

    I’m excited and happy that more positive stories of black women are being focused on, highlighted and shared with everyone. It’s so wonderful to read how powerful these women are and will become. I also agree w/ the guest post above that we should also seek stories of women who are in the engineering field who run/own those types of businesses as well. Living in Houston, I personally know a few black women who work in that field. We need to highlight them so more people know those jobs are possible for us as well.

  • http://bourgiewinetv.com Ms_Krista

    First, I 100% agree with all the ladies you selected. Makes me proud to be a sister!

    I would add to the next list Issa Rae of AwkwardBlackGirl.com. She’s not by definition a “techie” but she’s certainly turned web TV on its head with her hilarious series.

  • Chanda

    This site is not up and running yet (according to her blog post). It will be a directory of black owned businesses. User-contribution? Yes…I’m guessing the users will be business owners.

    Either way, when I came across her blog, I thought it was a great idea.

    http://supportblackbusinesses.com/2011/11/beginnings-of-support-black-businesses-video/

  • http://lizburr.com Liz

    @tiffany, yes you’re right, tiffani is a developer. I am as well however I don’t do it full time for my career as I did in the past. Being a developer has helped me move closer to what I want to do in the digital space and I am so very glad for the opportunities it has brought me.

    I had some remarks about the Guest comment but I will enjoy this moment of sunshine. No need to let anyone try to steal it :)

    I appreciate Clutch being a place that will champion for us when nobody else will. I say that from a place of love, and would feel this way whether I was on the list or not. Clutch, thanks for continuing to lead the way. Honored to be on this list as I am a (silent) fangirl of every lady on the list lol.

  • http://www.twitter.com/analoglady analog.lady

    Super inspiring!

  • Reality Check

    Would either of you ladies be familiar with someone, male or female but preferably a minority, who works in the Software engineering field ? I’m currently in my junior year of comp. sci. and I’m in DESPERATE need of some mentoring.

  • MarloweOverShakespeare

    Of course, its a FABULOUS idea! Putting up search engines on a directory site that’s not up and running yet = not so great idea.

  • http://www.isoftware.tv Sbarb

    If anyone’s up for any “real time networking” feel free to hit me up for an invite to a private chat “mastermind’ channel for tech entrepreneurs

    add me on skype: shola_sabidoye

    Great to see these lovely ladies highlighted. One of the biggest challenges is lack of networking opportunities and networking = leverage

  • http://nevadaannulment.org James Smith, Attorney

    I love to see women, of any race, Lol. Well, that too, but in the tech industry is what I meant, nice to see black women in the industry. Too few around to make it a more balanced field.

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