Since its opening night, Marvel’s movie Black Panther whisked viewers away into the fantasy utopia that is Wakanda. Director Ryan Coogler made sure that this fictional East African country came to life on the big screen.
Wakanda, which was hidden from the outside world for centuries, depicts a civilization that remains free from colonialism’s ravaging grasp, where gender roles are transcended, technological advances abound, and natural resources are not pillaged. Wakanda’s beauty and development appear to have facilitated an atmosphere where its people can thrive, learn, and explore bold, new possibilities.
So, how can we #Wakandaforever and make Wakanda our reality? There are many companies helping to facilitate an atmosphere where our community thrives in areas of technology, social justice, financial literacy, education, and group economics. The companies below have made it their mission to promote innovative change and help advance the community:
SpokeHub launched in June 2017. This Durham-based black-owned tech company has grown exponentially since June. The platform allows users or ‘hubsters’ to weigh in on a myriad of topics with other individuals; “it’s a place to talk about your passions, hear other perspectives, and find new topics that interest you.” For example, one ‘hub’ topic might be about ‘Black Panther’ while a completely different hub conversation could be about politics. When speaking to one of the five co-founders, Richard Berryman, he also made clear that SpokeHub provides a functionality called augmented reality ("AR") – an innovative technology that allows for a video or 3D experience to be viewed on a user's phone by simply scanning a trigger image (such as a logo or design). This will eventually enhance how we as consumers purchase products, how we learn new concepts, and how we engage in social media. The possibilities are endless for SpokeHub.
Group Economics: WeBuyBlack
WeBuyBlack is a black-owned company created by Shareef Abdul-Malik. WeBuyBlack is an online marketplace, which hosts the largest platform for Black entrepreneurs to display their products for sale. In the true spirit of community, 873 backers came together to pledge a sizable donation to bring this project to life. This online marketplace’s goal is to ensure that the Black dollar is circulated within the community numerous times before it leaves. In fact, just days ago, it featured the first black-owned battery company on its website – Tubman Battery. WeBuyBlack understands that group economics is vital for our community's successful sustainability.
Education: Garden St., Inc.
Garden St., Inc. is a black-owned company created by two sisters with a goal to supplement traditional education where it falls short. This company seeks to provide variety and depth regarding the African diaspora's contributions to world history. Through their first children’s book series entitled ‘Sierra and Chad’s Stone Adventures,’ the sisters aim to educate youth about the underrated, yet monumental contributions of the African diaspora. Representation matters and Garden St. Inc. intends to provide youth with depictions of beauty, familial relationships, and history in a way that erodes Eurocentric societal norms. ‘Sierra and Chad’s Stone Adventures’ takes children on various voyages where they journey to learn about ancient African people, cultures, and civilizations; for instance, Sierra and Chad meet Queen Amina, a celebrated ruler, and warrior of what is present-day Nigeria, in the series' second book. The next project for Garden St., Inc. is to create an animated cartoon series featuring Sierra and Chad.
Financial Literacy: HBCUWallstreet
In 2015, two entrepreneurs founded HBCUWallStreet – a company dedicated to revitalizing HBCUs, black communities and the black economy by creating a do-for-self mindset. HBCU Wall Street seeks to make sure that the concept of group economics continues to thrive in the minds of African-Americans to help close the projected 224-year wealth gap. As a result, HBCU Wall Street provides solutions for increasing economic wealth within the Black community, particularly by empowering our nation's HBCU community. HBCU Wall Street currently provides events such as “From Me 2 We,” which is a panel-style-forum that promotes economic empowerment via entrepreneurship, investment education, financial literacy and group economics. Additionally, HBCU Wall Street is gearing up to offer a four-day Virtual Economic Summit featuring speakers on topics relating to insurance, real estate, investing in stock and cryptocurrency, credit literacy, self-branding and sales strategies.
These companies definitely have at least a few things in common – passion, excitement, dedication, and focus. Like so many unnamed others, they are passionate about the community, excited about our global family, dedicated to serving people, and focused on creating our very own Wakanda.