Serena Williams

How Black Celebrities Are Innovating in the Tech Industry

Discover how Black celebrities, from Serena Williams to Pharrell, are driving change and creating opportunities within the tech industry.


Dec. 22 2023, Published 5:35 p.m. ET

Black people hardly get the recognition they deserve, especially for their significant role in innovations that advance different industries. It is about time we gave them their flowers. The likes of Dr. Mark Dean, who invented the gigahertz chip responsible for powering the desktop computer, and Dr. Patricia Era Bath, who invented laser cataract surgery, are remarkable emblems of ‘Black excellence.’

But it doesn’t stop there. As the world becomes more tech-driven, with AI, machine learning, and robotics driving the growth of new frontiers, more Black celebrities are joining pioneers at the forefront of innovation. In this piece, we will examine contemporary movers and shakers that are blazing trails in the tech industry.

How Black Celebrities Are Innovating in Tech

Black entrepreneurs have historically faced disparities in securing venture capitalist funds and typically get about 1%. To Put this into perspective, that is an average of $2 billion out of the $215 billion VC funding allocated in 2022.

Black A-listers are taking matters into their own hands and leveraging their wealth and influence to advance innovation majorly by funding startups and striving to close the Black tech talent gap.

In response to the challenges Black entrepreneurs are facing, Serena Williams founded Serena Ventures, a venture capitalist company with a mission to support early-stage Black-owned companies. Other than that, Serena has also financed and backed several tech companies, especially those with minorities’ interests at heart. In 2022, the tennis champion partnered with Karat, an interviewing company, to help Black software engineers ace more interviews.

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Christina Lewis, an American journalist and philanthropist, dedicates her money and time to ensuring that minorities get better opportunities in the tech industry. Christina noticed several organizations propping up that focused on the tech industry’s historically marginalized groups–for example, Girls Who Code, but few that helped the black male. Through her non-profit organization, All-Star Code, the former Wall Street Journal journalist helps black males advance their skills and find better opportunities in a biased industry.

Additionally, Felecia Hatcher, the CEO of Black Ambition, and co-founder Pharell Williams, the mega music producer-turned-fashion icon, are changing the tech industry by addressing the lack of capital for startups among Black and Hispanic communities. During the organization’s annual celebration in 2023, several deserving Black and Hispanic-owned companies received about $3.2 million.

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Black Excellence in The Tech World

Black tech talent in technology roles in different industries is expected to grow as technology advances. Thanks to Black philanthropists and celebrities who, beyond their realm of expertise, are leveraging their influence and money to provide funding and equal opportunities for marginalized communities to show the world that they are capable just as much as other communities.

Serena Williams, Pharrell, and Christina are just a few among many playing a significant role in shaping the tech industry and propelling innovation. We must also recognize pioneering leaders and contemporary movers like Terrence Howard, who are actively involved in innovations. Despite the challenges and disparities, such as limited access to capital and a lack of representation, Black entrepreneurs have thrived by remaining resilient.

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