12 Of The Smartest Women of Color On Twitter
Fast Company, the premier magazine about media and technology, put out one of those lists again. This time it’s the 25 Smartest Women on Twitter. Though the list is not meant to be exhaustive, it is still severely lacking in terms of diversity.
The list, featured in the magazine’s “Work Smart” section, was published days after Harvard’s Shorenstein Center and Neiman Journalism Lab published a report that contained interviews with 61 media movers and shakers about the collision of journalism and digital technology; only two of the interviewees– two men — were persons of color. Like the Shorenstein and Neiman report, Fast Company’s list highlights familiar faces in media and technology circles including CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour and NBC News Correspondent (and former first daughter) Chelsea Clinton. Fast Company also features less familiar power-brokers including Genevieve Bell, an Australian anthropologist and researcher who is a director at Intel Corporation, the world’s largest and highest valued semiconductor chip maker, based on revenue. For the most part, though not completely, Fast Company’s list ignores whole communities, communities that are more likely to use Twitter than whites.
In this vacuum, allDigitocracy attempts to fill in the gap. Here’s our own compilation of the 12 smartest women of color on Twitter. (Note: Our list isn’t exhaustive either.)
Kimberly Bryant | @6Gems
Kimberly Bryant is the founder of Black Girls Code, which introduces computer coding lessons to young girls from underrepresented communities in programming languages such as Scratch, Ruby or Rails. Black Girls Code has set out to prove that girls of every color have the skills to become the programmers of tomorrow. As a freshman engineering major in college, Bryant had few classmates who looked like her. By launching Black Girls Code she provides young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming at a time they are naturally thinking about what they want to be when they grow up.
Sumaya Kazi | @sumaya
Sumaya Kazi is an internationally-recognized innovator, leader, speaker and award-winning entrepreneur, and the Founder and CEO of Sumazi.com. Sumazi was founded on the powerful idea that “someone should never miss an opportunity to connect with the right person at the right time.” Sumazi’s intelligent social community relationship management technology helps businesses better understand who is in their social and extended networks, who they need to connect with and then helps make those connections happen. Sumazi was selected from more than 1,200 international startups to compete at the prestigious technology competition TechCrunch Disrupt, where it won the Omidyar Network award for “Startup Most Likely to Change the World.” Previously Kazi served as a Senior Social Media Manager at Sun Microsystems where she was responsible for global strategy and implementation of social media. Kazi has been recognized by BusinessWeek as one of America’s “Best Young Entrepreneurs,” Reuters ranked her #8 in the “Top 50 Most Influential Executives on the Web” and CNN named her a “Young Person Who Rocks.”
Raquel Cepeda | @RaquelCepeda
Born in Harlem to Dominican parents, award-winning journalist, cultural activist, and documentary filmmaker Raquel Cepeda is the author of Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina. Equal parts memoir about Cepeda’s coming of age in New York City and Santo Domingo, and detective story chronicling her year-long journey to discover the truth about her ancestry, the book also looks at what it means to be Latina today. Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, released the book on March 5, 2013. She is currently in production on Deconstructing Latina, a documentary focusing on a group of troubled teenage girls in a suicide prevention program who are transformed through an exploration of their roots via the use of ancestral DNA testing. Cepeda directed and produced the NAMIC (National Association for Multi-ethnicity In Communications) Vision nominated film Bling: A Planet Rock, a feature-length documentary about American hip-hop culture’s obsession with diamonds and all of its social trappings, and how the infatuation with “blinging” became intertwined in Sierra Leone’s decade long conflict. The film was co-produced by VH1/MTV Networks and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Cepeda was named one of El Diario|La Prensa’s Distinguished Women of 2013.
Stacey Muhammad | @STACEYMUHAMMAD
Stacey Muhammad is an award-winning filmmaker and music video director who has written, directed and produced short films in both the documentary and narrative genres, all of which focus on documenting and preserving hip hop culture and addressing social issues through film and digital media. Her works include “I Am Sean Bell, Black Boys Speak,” about an unarmed shooting victim killed by police on the eve of his wedding. It won the Speaking Out Award at the HBO/Media That Matters Film Festival. Her documentary, “Out of Their Right Minds: Trauma, Depression and the Black Woman” was released to rave reviews in 2010 and her newest work, For Colored Boys, REDEMPTION, is a web series that focuses on the prison industrial complex and re-entry, is currently airing on Youtube. It is executive produced by Isaiah Washington (Grey’s Anatomy) and TV personality/activist Marc Lamont Hill and stars Julito McCullum (The Wire), Rob Morgan (Pariah) and Tim Reid (WKRP In Cincinnati). She is co-founder of Intelligent Seedz, which teaches youth the art of filmmaking and equips them with the tools to tell their stories.
Viviana Hurtado | @vivianahurtado
Viviana Hurtado is considered one of the most influential Latinas in media. A veteran journalist, Hurtado is founding editor of the award-winning webiste, The Wise Latina Club, where she analyzes trends and current events. She is a leading authority on Latino demographic growth, its impact on politics and business as well as its $1 trillion spending power. A graduate of Yale University, Hurtado is also an expert on increasingly diverse workplaces and women’s empowerment.
Deanna Sutton | @dedej
Deanna “DeDe” Sutton is the editorial director and founder of Sutton New Media, the publisher of Clutch Magazine Online. Noticing a huge void in compelling and relevant online publications for young women of color, Sutton launched Clutch in 2007. Since then it has become one of the leading magazines for black women ages 18 to 35.
Ory Okolloh | @kenyanpundit
Ory Okolloh is a Harvard-trained lawyer, blogger and activist who was formerly Policy Manager for Africa with Google. She is currently the Director of Investments at Omidyar Network, a firm established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar that has committed $290 million to for-profits and non-profit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation in microfinance, property rights, government transparency and social media. In 2006, Okolloh founded the watchdog website Mzalendo (Swahili for ‘patriot). The site sought to increase government accountability by systematically recording bills, speeches, standing orders, etc. When Kenya became engulfed in violence following a disputed presidential election in 2007, Okolloh helped create Ushahidi (Swahili for ‘witness’), a website that collected and recorded eyewitness accounts of violence using text messages and Google Maps. The technology has since been adopted for other purposes including monitoring elections and tracking pharmaceutical availability and is used in several other countries.
Chrys Wu | @MacDiva
Chrys Wu is a journalist, strategist, and coder who works with businesses that want to deepen connection to their audiences through research, community-building, strategy and user design. She has worked on award-winning, traffic-driving projects for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Gates Foundation, The Knight Foundation, and NPR and its affiliates, among others. Her work in community-building strategy crosses online, mobile and real-world boundaries and helps people with common interests stay connected. Wu is global and local organizer of Hacks/Hackers a rapidly expanding international group that brings journalists, technologists and designers together to reinvent news and civic information. She is also the founder of NYC Ruby Women, which encourages women of all skill levels to improve their programming skills in a friendly and non-competitive setting. Wu speaks frequently on data journalism, online engagement and coding. Her blog, Ricochet, is where ideas for online news bounce around.
Shireen Mitchell | @DigitalSista
Shireen Mitchell is the founder of Digital Sistas, Inc., a non-profit focused on using media and technology to access self-sufficiency tools for disadvantaged women and children. She wrote about access to science and technology for the book 50 Ways To Improve Women’s Lives as well as race, gender and class bias in media and technology for The Scholar and Feminist Online. She is the chairwoman of the Media and Technology Task Force of the National Council of Women’s Organizations. (In fairness, Fast Company named Mitchell one of the Most Influential Women in Technology in 2010.)
Sabrina Hersi Issa | @beingbrina
Sabrina Hersi Issa is WIN’s 2011 Young Women of Achievement winner for Social Innovation. She is the Digital Director at Be Bold Media and the founder of Washington Women Social Entrepreneurs. In response to the famine in the Horn of Africa, she co-founded EndFamine.com, a platform dedicated to seeking sustainable solutions to global hunger. Previously, she was a Program Advisor at Afghans for Civil Society, an NGO that developed women’s programs and independent media in southern Afghanistan and worked for Oxfam America. She was a New Leaders Council fellow and Washingtonian Magazine named her a Woman to Watch.
Dori J. Maynard | @djmaynard
Dori J. Maynard is president of The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the nation’s oldest organization helping the media reflect all segments of American society. The institute has trained thousands of journalists of color, including the national editor of The Washington Post, the editor of the Oakland Tribune and the only Latina to edit a major metropolitan newspaper. Maynard is the co-author of Letters to My Children, a compilation of nationally syndicated columns by her late father, Robert C. Maynard. She serves on the board of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation as well as the Board of Visitors for the John S. Knight Fellowships, which supports journalists, innovators, and entrepreneurs as they create new models, tools and approaches that redefine journalism.
Yumi Wilson | @Yumiwilson
Yumi Wilson isn’t just any corporate flack. She’s a corporate communications manager at LinkedIn, the largest professional network on the planet, where she helps run LinkedIn for Journalists. In the past year LinkedIn for Journalists has grown from 16.000 to nearly 40,000 members. Talk about media connections! In addition to training journalists on how to leverage LinkedIn for research, reporting and sourcing, Wilson leads a program that trains corporate communications teams around the globe on how they can use LinkedIn to enhance their company’s brand. She also teaches at San Francisco State University.